Ever wanted to do something but kind of just… don’t? Maybe it’s applying for a job, enrolling in a uni course or putting your hand up for a leadership opportunity at school.
We’ve all had experiences of seeing a downright amazing opportunity but, rather than telling ourselves all the reasons we totally deserve it, we just mentally list off the reasons we don’t. We don’t want to step outside our comfort zone, but we can’t put our finger on the exact reason why.
Australians have a tendency to pull down our heroes, so we are predisposed to second guessing ourselves.
1. A lack of confidence
Loads of people that appear successful to outsiders actually might not feel that way internally. It’s a thing. And it’s called imposter syndrome. It’s where high achievers / good people in general feel like a fraud, like they don’t possess the qualities that a successful person should and somehow they’re going to be found out for being mediocre.
It’s ridiculous, gets you nowhere and, for some reason, is really clear to everyone but the person that they’re perfectly capable.
You can find out more about it via this quite handy video. Following that, it would only seem natural to watch this TED talk by Amy Cuddy, who discusses the imposter syndrome and one-ups the mantra ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ through discussing the idea of faking it ‘til you become it.
2. Someone else wins that stuff
“Other people win those things, not me.” Is a thing you might say. “Actually, it’s the ones who nominate who are really doing the winning,” dream sequence version of me will say in a really calm, but also wise voice.
We all assume that there are other people out there who are more deserving, more talented or working on bigger and better projects. And that these are the people that win awards. Cue grass is always greener, etc. type analogies. When you’re the one doing the work it can be pretty hard to take a step back and see just how excellent it is.
3. Fear of criticism
We’re often thinking about the people who might be criticising us. But, honestly, those people are wrong. Unless you’re anyone who has ever said that peanut butter Tim Tams are a taste sensation because you, my friend are actually wrong. You deserve everything coming at you.
(I’m totally joking. You’re perfectly entitled to your own incorrect opinion.)
But really, fear of criticism is one of the big reasons we don’t put ourselves out in the spotlight. We’re our own worst enemies. We get stuck thinking things like, what if people tell me I’m a dummie? What if everyone says my idea is bad? What if I like peanut butter Tim Tams?
Totally normal things to worry about, my friends. But also, totally silly if you think about it. You can’t please everyone, so high risk, high reward I say. (I actually do say this a lot. Some people tell me it’s annoying but you know what? I just tell them I think they’re stupid and wrong. I think that’s how this stuff works… Upon reflection I may be part of the problem.)
4. Not wanting to be the centre of attention
This I really understand. Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat having dreamt I had to open a gift with an entire room full of people looking at me, waiting for my reaction.
I don’t love being the centre of attention, but I am also pretty aware that’s not a good enough reason to say no to opportunities. Plus doing things that make you feel a bit uncomfortable tend to be the most satisfying when it all works out.
Nominating for an award might seem a bit obnoxious, but it’s also pretty special to be acknowledged for all your hard work. Plus $1,000 buckaroos to keep the momentum going doesn’t hurt.
There’s a reason them celebs start happy crying giving their Golden Globes speech. And it’s not just because Ricky Gervais is hosting.
5. I’ll do it later
You’re reading all of these things going, ‘um excuse me, I’m amazing. Your reasons don’t speak to me. I’ll totally put myself out there. I’ll just do it at a different time that is more convenient to me’
Okay well firstly, well done. You do you.
And secondly, thank you so much for bringing me to my next point. Most people are a little (or a lot) guilty of putting off the things we plan to do because there are just so many other things. Stranger Things is on Netflix. Gotta roll over my six Super accounts into one (as a complete aside—if you haven’t done this you really should. Go here. Then come back when you’re done). And I have, like, 38 Snapchat Stories to watch.
I get it, really I do. At the time of writing I have 71 unread text messages on my phone. I’m not trying to tell you I’m popular, I just… haven’t quite got to them.