Earlier this month I spoke at The Oregon Women’s Conference. Turns out, I went to inspire and ended up being the one who was truly inspired.
I was honored to share the stage with the brilliant Lisa Nichols, Michelle Patterson and Endyia Kinney-Sterns of OWN Network, just to name a few.
Although we all had different backgrounds and unique points of view, what I found most interesting was how all the speakers had a similar message.
That message was about standing up for yourself, your dreams, your beliefs and passions. And more importantly, how to really _ask_ for what you want in life. Without fear, reservation or doubt. To raise your voice and go boldly into every situation and encounter.
For those of us who like to do everything perfectly (yes, hello…I’m a perfectionist) we tend to wait until everything is in order before we put ourselves out there. We want something, but we hold back. We fear that if we speak our wants and needs out loud before we’re truly ready, that somehow we’ll be ridiculed embarrassed or rejected.
So, we play it safe. We sit on the sidelines of our life. Awaiting perfection. After all, if we’re perfect, we don’t risk being vulnerable, right?
When the incredible Keri Murphy of Inspired Living asked me to speak at the conference, I jumped at the chance. A room full of hundreds of smart, successful women all looking to build their dreams, careers and businesses?
“You bet I’ll be there.” I told Keri.
Only one problem. This all came at a time that my husband and I were moving to Santa Monica. The night before my flight to Oregon, I barely knew where my clothes, toiletries and shoes were, let alone knowing my talk inside and out.
I love preparation. To me, you can’t do anything really well without it. But, with the chaos and busy schedule of our move, I wasn’t able to prepare for my talk the way I typically prefer.
Fear and dread set in. Surely, I’d be on stage and forget every important point I had wanted to make. I told a few friends, my staff and my husband how failure was surely imminent and yet each time I whinged, they rejected it. Not me, but my idea of failing.
So, here’s the part where I tell you my talk was smooth as silk, surprising myself that some miracle occurred giving me the words to slip off my tongue, right?
Not exactly. Towards the end of my talk, I completely lost my point. I looked at the eager faces in the audience, reached deep inside the recesses of my over worked, overly tired brain, only to find a vast, dark, empty space.
Words didn’t come. I was lost. I know enough to tap dance out of situations like this, but my audience deserved better.
With nowhere to hide, I shared with everyone that I had a GREAT point, but it escaped me for the moment. I told the story of the week I had and how my life was sitting in boxes on the living room floor. Work had been crazy and with staff changes at my office, I was running on fumes.
I realized I wasn’t making excuses for my less than perfect speech. I was sharing. Which funny enough, was the premise of this talk I gave. The ability to share and reveal in a candid and honest way. The willingness to be brave and vulnerable, and how it’s the key to beginning and keeping any powerful relationship.
The teacher became the student in that moment.
And you know what? My faults and flaws were right there for everyone to see and yet, I didn’t lose anyone. In fact, I created an even more profound lesson and connection with my audience. It wasn’t perfect, but it was me. And it was real.
Stop Judging Yourself
So, I bring it back to you.
Where in your life are you holding back? Where are you judging yourself, for fear of being judged? What information are you not sharing because you feel it would make you look weak, stupid or vulnerable?
And, what are you waiting to do until you’ve perfected it?
When it comes to your relationships and especially your dating life, none of us expect you to be flawless and perfect. In fact, it’s the opposite. We want your raw, beautiful and genuine reality. The one that some of your closest friends don’t even see. The woman behind the wall, the wizard behind the curtain.
Know that you are most beautiful when you let us see you, hear you without the editing, preparing and planning.
Mess it up. Forget your lines. Forget your lipstick. Leave yourself alone. You are perfect just as you are.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. I know I’m not the first to learn this lesson!