I am not a naturally self-confident person. What I am confident about is being able to come up with 482 worst-case scenarios about how I’m going to fail at something so why bother even trying. Luckily, having embraced my anxiety, I also know that my ability to come up with worst-case scenarios is due to anxiety, and not my skill set, and I should ignore it all.
But damn if it isn’t the hardest habit to break.
Yet, along with stress-eating and not exercising regularly, it’s a habit I’ve been working on. Which means that I spend half my time yelling “OMG WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO NOW?” in my head, and the other half reminding myself of a mantra I learned in high school, from an awesome friend of mine – Fake it till you make it.
I know I can do that. I learned that from my friend. We were total theater geeks (way before the likes of “Hamilton” made it cool to be geeked about theater) and would go on auditions together to local theater groups. One day, we went to a local theater audition, and I was nervous. It was a step up from community theater, a place with a good reputation, and I looked around the room thinking “There’s no way I’m going to get picked.”
I said as much to my friend.
She told me to fake it. To go out there and pretend like I knew what I was doing – that was her plan. If we acted like we had confidence, that we totally knew what we were doing, then maybe we’d make the cut.
And you know what? We did.
Next week, I’m going to a blogging conference. I know, right? I’m going to a beautiful fancy venue where there will be hundreds of other women who blog (and some men), talking about all sorts of blogging things.
I have nearly cancelled on this conference about 18 times.
See, I’m not a huge fan of going into big social situations where I know no one. Hell, in college, I couldn’t eat alone in the cafeteria! It’s not that I don’t enjoy being social. I love being social! I like being around people. I like laughing and talking and all of that. I just get sweaty and anxious about walking into the unknown. Well, not every unknown. I mean, I flew to London and mastered the Underground with my luggage all by myself while jet lagged and only got lost in Paddington Station (which is family tradition, so that’s okay). I’m not without skills. I’ve been to large conferences. Oh sure, they were all some sort of tech conference where I tagged along with my husband, so knew someone at least – but I am familiar with the conference scene. I just have to remind myself I can do this. And if I don’t think I can, I know how to fake knowing what I’m doing really well. Enough to even fool myself at times. Just fake it till you make it, and all will be well.
Even better? I’m not the only person who goes through this, so I can hopefully find others like me. Yes, my plan is to not just get through my own adorable awkwardness, but to help out others in the same boat, like a teal-haired fairy godmother or something like that.
I may ask my girls for a loan of their confidence though. Just to be safe.