The joke has been said and the punch line delivered , and everyone is laughing except you.
Have you ever felt out of place?
I sure have.
When I moved to Germany, I of course felt like an outsider. The Canadian who couldn’t speak the language, understand the jokes, or comprehend the culture. Often I remained silent in a group of friends because the conversation was just happening too fast. As I started understanding more of how life worked here, I felt even more out of place.
One of he most common questions everyone had (and still has) for me is, “and what did you study?”, or “what is your vocational training?”
I would awkwardly look at the ground and try to explain once again that I actually have done “nothing”. I’ve only traveled to different areas of the world, served people, learned a second language. Eventually I added onto that having one child, then two, then three, and now four.
It’s not normal here to not have some sort of degree, or certificate in something. I guess I’m weird, but I’m actually okay with that now. There is this sort of rebellious streak in me that wants to”stick it to the man”… whoever that may be?
Until last March, I never knew how power posing was or even how it could help me in all of this awkwardness.
No One Wants to Listen to You Anyway
I’m constantly coming up with thoughts I’d like to communicate to someone, or a new idea that I’d like to try out.
Though, just as quick as these things are imagined, comes a multitude of voices, taking aim and fire the possibilities away.
- Self-doubt arises and says, “It’s polite to be quiet, keep those thoughts to yourself – it’s of no help”.
- Lies say, “No one wants to listen to you, you’re just a mom (or a Canadian, or a woman or _____). You talk too much anyway”.
- Cowardice pokes it’s head up and says, “It’ll never work.”
Too often, I’ve listened to these voices and have automatically given up.
Hello Confidence, Goodbye Fear
I was getting really sick of this about my self and I decided that I would be confident, and get rid of fear.
You’re probably wondering, is it that easy?
In my case, yes. It was a decision I made. I saw something in my character that I didn’t want hanging around anymore. To conquer it, I looked for opportunities to look at fear in the face.
Presenting my First Pitch
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, where I jumped into a completely new and overwhelming challenge. It was scary. And I really felt like I didn’t belong.
I decided to attend a Start-Up weekend done by an organization called, Creative Kingdom Solutions near where I live here in Germany. It’s all about dreaming about starting “Kingdom visioned” businesses. It’s for entrepreneurs and businesses that want to see more of Heaven on Earth.
Dreaming = check, I got that, I love to dream!
Business = hmm..
Honestly, I felt a little out of place with the business aspect. I went with my blogging ideas, and pretty much no background or understanding of business. I felt a bit like a fish out of water.
We were to present a “Pitch Deck” there.
For those of you who have no idea what that is, I didn’t either until a couple days before the event. In simple terms: it’s basically a presentation about your business idea for investors. You go through the Whats? Whys? Whos? and the numbers/costs of your business.
So there I am, with my blog ideas, a very rough idea of how blogging and “influencing” actually works. I had no numbers or figures, no business background, no clue.
I really felt like I didn’t belong.
But I didn’t listen to those voices. I quit doing that this year. I suppose you could say it was a bit of a resolution.
If you ever struggle with the feeling you are inadequate or nothing, I highly suggest watching this TED talk by Amy Cuddy – Your body language may shape who you are
Power Posing my Way into Pitching.
After I was inspired by Amy Cuddy, I told my sister who attended with me to do the same. When my turn came (after secretly power posing in the bathroom stall) I stood up, and presented my ideas for a few blogs and content I had in mind.
AND if it wasn’t challenging enough to share my “dreams” in front of strangers who obviously knew more than I, I upped the ante and did it in:
- a foreign language
- front of all sorts of people who know way more about business than I do
- front of a (surprise) panel of investors
A Giant Success of a Failure
There was the opportunity to win some prizes, and there were some really awesome business ideas that I probably would have invested into if I could.
I didn’t win any prize.
But this post isn’t about me winning a prize.
If I only measured success in prizes, this experience would have been a major failure.
No, this is about overcoming fear – namely the fear of not belonging, of not having or knowing “anything worthwhile”. This experience was a HUGE WIN for me!
I’m so thankful for the team at Creative Kingdom Solutions for starting such an awesome Start – Up weekend. I could probably write a post about all of the precious lessons I took away from that compact time.
- Think and/or share a time where you ultimately failed, but in reality it was a giant success
- Where are there parts in your life where fear is holding you back? (ie. afraid of speaking up – “they” might be offended)
- Power pose(maybe in the bathroom) and look at someone bigger than yourself in the eye until they look away