I am totally shitting myself.

“I am regularly asked to speak at exciting conferences and events.”

I wrote that in my journal a year or so ago.

I regularly write down what I want from my life. I think it was Oprah Winfrey who said “‘Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe” and although that quote makes me roll my eyes because it sounds so cliche and loaded with double self-development cheese, she has a point.

Some people call it “manifesting”.

Some people call it a “positive visualisation practice”.

Some people call it “asking The Universe”.

I call it “getting clear on what I want from my life and making it happen by doing the work”.

This post is not about doing the work though. I’ve written about that here, here and here.

This post is about me telling you how I am absolutely shitting myself right now, because yesterday, I received a message from a man I really admire. He’s organising an event in September. His message went like this:

Him: “Hey Liz, might you be interested in speaking at {exciting conference name} in September?”

Me, all easy-breezy: “Oh wow! Yes, absolutely!”

Him: “Perfect. We’re designing it this week so I’ll drop you a line. You’ll be a keynote speaker.”

Me, still all easy-breezy: “Thank you so much, you’re on!”

If I could bottle what happened over the next 5 minutes, I’d be fucking rich. I felt alive and energised and excited and incredible and ALL THE AMAZING FEELINGS AND BUTTERFLIES EVER! A KEY-NOTE! I’VE BEEN DREAMING OF A SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY LIKE THIS! I jumped up from my computer and danced around my office, silently squealing and not so silently playing air-guitar and punching the air.

And then, 5 minutes later, I started to feel scared.

The Fear crept up slowly; the thousands of tiny butterflies in my belly started to flap their delicate, exciting wings a little less and instead, they began to tie themselves up in awkward knots, moving together uncomfortably in a tight, foreboding mass before moving up into my chest, hammering away at my heart with what felt like wooden mallets, der-dum, der-dum, der-dum, der-dum.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck” and “I cannot do this” reverberated through my brain and I started to construct a disappointed but sing-song jolly “unfortunately something’s come up and I won’t be able to speak at your conference after all!” email in my head.

I made myself a cup of tea. I paced around my kitchen. I opened my laptop and Googled the conference and found videos of past speakers on YouTube. Fuck! They film the fucking conference! Oh God, this is getting worse. People will be able to watch my talk after the conference because it’ll forever be there on Youtube for anyone to see and worse, they’ll think I’m shit and leave a comment saying that and I won’t be able to do anything about it!

I paced some more, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the wall. Brow furrowed. Fists clenched. Wild-eyed. Worried.

I walked closer to the mirror and studied my face up close, staring into my own eyes.

I smiled. Not a big smile but a smile that was enough for me to recognise and feel a slight softening wash of comfort and familiarity.

“Hello, scared you.”

I’ve been here so, so, so many times before. I say yes to something I really want (which is generally something that challenges me and shoves me waaaaaay out of my comfort zone) and then I get scared.

And so, so, so many times, I have pulled the handbrake in that moment. I’ve quit. I’ve declined. I’ve sent the disappointed but sing-song jolly “unfortunately something’s come up and I won’t be able to!” email because it felt safe and reassuring and the right thing to do in the moment.

This reaction is normal. It’s human. Our brains are wired to keep us safe and yet I know that when I live ‘safe’, I feel bored and unfulfilled and like something is off in my life that I just can’t put my finger on. It’s easy to sit on the sofa and sleep walk through life, right? And yet it’s much harder to get off the sofa and get out there and grab YOUR life with both hands and put some fucking effort in.

And I choose to put some fucking effort in, even though 50% of it comes with knuckle-white fear and some puzzled head-scratching and WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF, LIZ?

My reply is always this: Because I want it more than I fear it.

Because I know that the human experience is to find space for the aliveness and energy and excitement and ALL THE AMAZING FEELINGS EVER that rise from saying yes as well as the worry and the wanting to say no and the fear and the “Fuck, fuck, fuck” and the “I cannot do this”.

I can do this.

I can stand up on that stage in September and speak.

And so can you. Whatever’s going on for you right now in your life, whatever you’re thinking you can’t do because you’re scared? Know this: You can.

We’re in this together. Let’s do this.

By | 2017-04-05T09:54:25+00:00 5 April 2017|