Years ago, I apprenticed with a woman who was my mentor – a coach and organizational development consultant. During that year, she brought me just about everywhere she went and wrote me into contracts with her clients. It was an incredible year of learning and I was very lucky to have such a rich opportunity.
But, I was also very stressed and terrified at times.
I remember one day when we were headed to a small business with whom we were working. The closer we got to the office for the meeting, the more nervous I got and I felt sick to my stomach. This was not how I wanted to show up. I was feeling very shy and was questioning what I had to offer.
I remember my mentor said to me that day in the car, “Just show up.”
That’s all I have to do?
She knew that if I could do that, I would bring my value and be great. Those three words helped my whole being exhale and relax. I continue to use this phrase when I find myself feeling anxious and nervous about a situation or a client.
Stepping up professionally or personally can seem like a good concept, but it can bring with it stress, anxiety, sometimes even terror. At times it can even immobilize us and we end up missing an opportunity. Sometimes, it can lead us to overcompensate in a range of ways. We end up trying too hard to impress and prove ourselves – to whom, it’s not always clear. Stress can make us tight and self-conscious and more importantly, less present to what is actually happening.
We can get so stuck in our head, in our fear, in our ego, that we miss the essence of what is going on around us. Then we don’t bring our best selves. We hide, play sick, become invisible.
Though you may be afraid that you are an impostor about to be found out, try trusting that you have been invited to the meeting or event for a reason. Your presence has been requested because it is valued. You are up to this, ready for this next level of responsibility or leadership.
Sometimes it is others who can see more than we can that we are ready for the next step. Trust that this opportunity is happening at just the right time. Resist the temptation to give in to the fear. Go for the ride and trust that you are ready. There’s only so much we can do to prepare for new territory. Trust your ability to respond in the moment.
Just show up.