I was on the verge of a panic attack.
I was on my way to a client’s office – about to facilitate a brand new training for their seasoned sales team, when a strong gust of who-do-you-think-you-are! practically knocked me out.
I was going over ‘my lines’ in the subway, like I used to do all the time on my way to auditions.
This time, I was reviewing the workshop agenda: the new intro, the section on managing second-guessing, the breakdown of how to engage people (especially when they’ve been “volun-told” to be there), the ground rules for selling without being salesy… when all of a sudden, my SSG got the best of me.
SSG = Spontaneous Second-Guessing.
→ Side effects may include: acute self-doubt, chest tightening, trouble breathing, and an intense craving for french fries.
So naturally, I called my best friend Eleanor.
El, what the f*ck am I doing? What if I forget everything I planned? I didn’t have a chance to go through the entire thing out loud – what if I stumble over my words or worse, just freeze and can’t talk and they have to medevac me out of there!?
Brenne, she said, you know exactly what you’re doing.
But what if I don’t? What if I suck?!
You won’t suck. She said. You can’t suck. And don’t show up to prove, she said. Show up to improve.
What? Woah. Where’d you hear that?
Simon Sinek. I heard him say it in an interview last week and it really struck a chord.
Yeah wow, that’s some powerful stuff: Don’t show up to prove, show up to improve.
I thought you’d like that.
I REALLY like that. And I really like you. Thank you, just what I needed to hear.
Leave it to Eleanor to say one phrase and have it completely change my worldview
Because here’s the thing: when it comes to spontaneous second-guessing, you have a choice. We all do. You can give into it’s fearful, fight-or-flight energy and show up to prove something.
OR, you can:
- Stop running your lines
- Take a few deep breaths
- Remember who you’re showing up to serve
- And commit to taking on the energy of ‘improve.’
In other words, show up to be helpful, supportive, available, encouraging, present, etc.
If you commit to doing that, it’ll center you. And you’ll remember why you’re showing up in the first place – because you bring something valuable to the table, something that can genuinely help others! Whether it’s information, ideas, your humor, your passion, your one-of-a-kind personality…
It’s everything between the lines you think you ‘need to run.’
There’s something about you and what you know that doesn’t need to be proven. It’ll walk in with you and it’ll flow out freely through you if you commit to being truly helpful and of service TO THEM.
And I can tell you first hand – when I called Eleanor in a panic about leading that new training – I was consumed by the lines and what I thought I needed to prove. I wanted them to think I was smart, and impressive, and an undeniable subject-matter expert. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But once Eleanor reminded me that my real job was to show up there that day and improve not prove, I was able to be flexible and ditch the script at times! I felt freed up to facilitate a top-notch training because it was no longer about ME. It was solely about giving them what they needed in that moment and in that context.
Thank you for all you show up to improve—in your work, in your life, and all of the places in between! We need your gifts now more than ever.
All my love,
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