Tag Archives: Fear

Astericking Ourselves

I play co-ed softball every Wednesday night. Of course, there are more men than women playing. More often than not, the girls play the “easier” positions and bat further down in the lineup. I suppose that fine if it’s based on ability. Game after game, I watch the men walk confidently, making plays and cheering all of their teammates on. They believe the women can play…it’s the ladies who consistently downplay their abilities.

For most of the games, I play catcher, which means I interact with the batters. While there are outliers, the majority of the female hitters get into the box and immediately doubt themselves. “I’ll feel better once I hit the ball pass the pitcher…” “I just want to make contact, I don’t care if I make an out.” I promise you these are direct quotes. It takes all my energy to not to say something! Like I mentioned in my last post, what we think is what we become. I wish these women would believe in their abilities just an ounce more…

My co-ed softball league is one small example. I’ve seen this play out on a bigger stage, like on a panel at a conference. I watched many successful women with meaningful careers asterisk themselves in front of hundreds of OTHER WOMEN who PAID to be there. Let me share some examples from the panel and elsewhere:

  • “I’m sorry if I’m talking to much about XYZ experience..” She said this to a room full of people who PAID to hear about THESE EXACT EXPERIENCES.
  • “I’m sorry we’re having so much fun up here..” Because fun is a bad thing? Especially between two bad ass women? *Insert eye roll*
  • In the subject line of an email: “Notes + Next Steps (sorry this email is so long)..” Wait, you’re apologizing for giving us information we need for the project? Can we all see how crazy this is?!

As women, we asterick ourselves and apologize for everything: Doing our jobs, living our best lives, working hard. I don’t want to hear an I’m sorry from another woman unless she ate my lunch out of the office fridge or murdered someone. Here’s what happens when we continue to “a word” all over ourselves.

  • Our credibility goes out the window. Think about it written out. Would you put an * saying this isn’t really my experience, I didn’t really work hard for this on your resume? I bet not.
  • By saying sorry all the time, when we actually need to apologize (it happens!), the words have lost their meaning. It’s like the boy who cried wolf.
  • By using the “when I” phrase, we’re letting life pass us by. I’ll do this when I’m [skinner, smarter, etc.]. Will you? Why not try it today? Sure, you should train for a 5K if you’re not a runner. We let fear paralyze us into inaction.

The silver lining with astericking and apologetics is that we’re not alone. I personally believe it’s how the majority of women are wired. What that gives us is a community of women who can generate awareness and help each other rise above the fear and insecurity. At work, ask for feedback from someone you trust. Before you blurt out an apology, pause to reflect on what you’re apologizing for. Did you hurt someone? Were you intentionally unkind? You don’t need to dim your light so others can shine. We can all shine together! And anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t worth your energy.

Believe me, I don’t get this right everyday. I still have to hold back from apologizing for being my extroverted, outgoing self. With awareness and a top notch girl gang who holds me accountable, I’m making progress. Come join me and put the apologizing behind you.

F.E.A.R

Face Everything And Run

OR

Face Everything And Rise

I let out a long exhale before I sat down to write this post. This topic is one I’ve been wanting to write about for some time and yet, I’ve been apprehensive, worried about people’s reactions. Well, I guess it’s time to face that fear 😉

Fear can be paralyzing, causing time to almost stand still as you watch your life pass before your eyes. It can also lead to unnecessary arguments, violence and acting without thinking. I’ve experienced how suffocating fear can be. For me, I’ve always been fearful of events I can’t control and situations I’ve seen other people in.

Money is a perpetual fear of mine – not having enough, losing my source of income, the list continues. Why? Because I’ve watched people lose it all and because it was so devastating, they can’t recover and are crippled by the aftershocks. On days when it becomes particularly difficult, I remember that I’m not those people. I’m an entirely different person, with different circumstances and different goals. It’s doesn’t mean I go charge up my credit cards but it does mean I can enjoy the benefits of working hard.

Fear of the unknown is also a challenge for me. Something as little as not knowing travel plans can cause an anxiety spike. Despite being an extrovert, social situations can cause tension. When I start a new relationship, whether it be at work or personally, I’m always fearful of not knowing how people will reaction or respond. It’s debilitating and I spend hours convincing myself of alternatives.

And yet, I forge on. Why? How? Well, for starters, being full of fear is no way to live. Unless you’re in inherit danger, there’s no need for it. It’s downright bad for your health. Life is so much more enjoyable when you let go and go for it versus standing on the sidelines. Sometimes, you will get feedback on how to change an approach or your tone. That’s okay! It’s the only way you’ll learn how to do it better next time.

fearSome of the most profound relationships in my life are with people who look, sound and think differently than I do. Yes, I was fearful when these relationships were starting out because I didn’t know. There are still days when I’ll rewrite a text message because I’m anxious about how it will land. Well guess what?! These people are now my friends, they’ll tell me if it doesn’t land and we’ll move on. We all assume positive intent and know it’s okay to disagree.

Could we all commit to operate with less fear and more understanding? Less judgement and more kindness? A lot of issues I see in the world today are because of fear. Fear of not knowing. I challenge you to override your fear of the unknown and be curious about that someone who operates differently. You won’t know unless you try.

C-C-Changes

I wrote this post as thousands are suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. If that doesn’t give all of us perspective I’m not sure what will. I decided to still publish this post because what each of us is feeling is always valid. Please keep those in Texas in your thoughts.

I pride myself on being a positive, life-loving person. As I’ve talked about before, I was an anxious child and teenager. I swore I wouldn’t go back to being that person. The person that was “too much,” who lost friends because of fake freakouts and who walked around feeling like I was always letting someone down. That person was gone.

Enter a dresser. Yes, a dresser that caused me to revert back and feel all the feels.

I was never a big fan of change. I liked my world in black and white, no grey area. Clearly, life doesn’t work like that. The recents weeks, months, years have been filled with tons of change – it’s really the only constant in life. I’ve learned to accept that and put a huge smile on my face. See the first paragraph – I didn’t want to be that girl again – the anxious, negative, too much girl.

Then I decided to build this dresser over the weekend. Surely, I’m a smart girl, I can do this. After multiple hours and getting a friend on FaceTime, I literally lost it. I let myself get to this point because I don’t want to admit to feeling anything other than positive emotions. Let me be clear, the damn dresser is a first world problem and thanks to a very good friend, it’s standing with my crap in it. Life is good, actually it’s great, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel some kind of way about the future. get up and dont give up

I. AM. TERRIFIED. 

Of becoming that girl again. 

But guess what?! It’s ok to be scared or anxious sometimes. I fight these feelings everyday so that I don’t go back to my old ways. No one, including me, liked that girl. The one filled with fears and doubts. But every now and again, she shows up because the feelings are valid. I need to recognize her, work through the feelings and move on, not bottle them up and explode on my poor friend who was trying to help.

Of course, once the floodgates open, every last insecurity came out. I should be able to build this dresser, other people can. Why didn’t I just pay to get a premade one? I *should* be able to afford a nicer one. Um, yeah total insanity. Who cares about how much the dresser costs, that it took me several hours to build it, why does ANY of this matter?!?! It’s doesn’t. All of this led me to my new mantra:

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY

One foot in front of the other. Every single damn day. That’s all I can do. I am happy, I am healthy, I am surrounded by amazing human beings. On the scary days that I *will* allow myself to have, those are my reminders. And that I can do, overcome and become whatever and whoever I want.

So if you’re afraid that all the progress you’ve made might blow up, it’s okay. Feel the fear, talk to the boy/girl you used to be and politely tell him/her to hit the road. You are more than your yesterdays.

365 Days Later

2015 sucked. Yes I’m being that blunt. While there were highlights, generally speaking, I couldn’t wait to see 2015 go.

365 days ago, at the exact moment this blog post was published, my family lost its matriarch and I lost one of my best friends. Losing my grandmother shook my family to its core and one year later, all of us are still feeling aftershocks.

While I certainly miss Nana and think about her everyday, her death triggered much more for me. As I watched my mother and aunt tend to her tirelessly, I thought to myself: this is going to be me one day. I will be responsible for my parents and I will have to say goodbye.

It was during this realization that for the first time I actually felt like an adult. As we laid my beautiful Nana to rest and handled the details, I grew up, almost instantaneously.

Grief comes in waves, striking us in the least opportune moments. We can’t control this no matter how much time has passed since the trauma. But what else comes with grief? For me, it brought along a paralyzingly fear. Fear that those I love most would suddenly rise to heaven leaving me here hopeless and terrified. I made decisions based on this irrational fear. It influenced my personal relationships and professional interactions. It consumed me. All the time. Even when I wasn’t aware of it. I’d think I was getting ahead of it only to experience another painful loss that put me right back where I started.

It is only thanks to two of my colleagues who asked some profound questions that got me recognizing this emotion and how it shows up for me. This fear isn’t going away but I am much more aware of how it attacks the most innocent of situations. No matter how petrified I might be, I can’t control destiny. I can’t save anyone. I can live each day making decisions based on my happiness, not my fear.

I share this with you my friends so you know you’re not alone. Whatever you’re feeling after a traumatic event is justified. I’m so glad someone gave me the permission to feel all the feels. It was what I needed. I hope you can too, so we all can begin to heal and move forward.

I am forever grateful to my angel grandmother, for teaching me so many of life’s lessons even from afar.

Feb 2015 370

Little “A” Moments

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.

During one of our team meetings at work, a colleague asked us to share a great adventure we’ve had. She explained that it could be a little “A” adventure instead of a big “A” adventure. This icebreaker inspired me to participate in Jess Lawlor’s second Get Gutsy essay content.

What I’ve realized after a year of reflection is that getting gutsy or stepping outside of your comfort zone comes in many forms, some grand obstacles that you overcome (like running my first 5K last year) or smaller, more personal moments. For me, all of them can be described as adventures.

All of these adventures happened towards the end of my 2014. It was like the universe knew I’d need material for this essay contest! But regardless of the contest, I hope you’ll see your own meaningful moments that push you outside of your comfort zone and can happen in the most ordinary of circumstances. These are my moments, adventures that defined getting gutsy.

  • Leading someone more senior than me at work – So this is probably fairly common. I was given a responsibility to train and mentor people at work who have more experience than me. At first, I was a bit intimidated, but I realized that I was more experienced in the subject so it made logical sense for me to train them. Also, these individuals were so open to it, which really helped me. How this is my getting gutsy: I overcame initial intimidation to achieve a team goal.
  • rock wallClimbing a rock wall – For almost a year now, I’ve been saying I was going to climb this particular rock wall. This past November happened to be the time I chose to do it. My first attempt was a train wreck: I only got half way up before I started panicking, shaking and eventually giving up. My co-workers were at the bottom trying to cheer me on, but that just increased my anxiety level. I ended up yelling at them (no bueno) and walking away. I changed my strategy for the second round and had only one person, who was coaching me at the bottom. I rang the bell (proof to the left!) and was SO ecstatic that I did it. How this is my getting gutsy: I overcame my anxiety and fear of failure to complete a personal goal.
  • Going to church where they only speak Spanish: While visiting my friend in California this November, I attended church with her and her family. I think of this as a privilege so I tried really hard to not show that I was nervous. First off, this type of church was completely different from anything I had ever experienced. Second, the entire 90 minutes was in Spanish. Now, I can understand some Spanish and can kind of speak it (on a good day). But I always get really nervous of messing up, especially when with native Spanish speakers. I managed to gleam a couple of provoking thoughts from the mass and by the end, I really enjoyed myself. How this is my getting gutsy: I embraced a completely different setting despite being nervous and ended up learning a lot.
  • Watching a loved one get sick – In the last month, I’ve watched someone very close to me get very sick very quickly. It’s sad, scary, painful and paralyzing all at the same time. But, I go, I visit, I read and pray. Some days, I feed or make jokes or sing songs. I do anything to make this person smile. Most days, I dread walking into the room, wondering if this time is the last. But, this is bigger than me, than any of us. How this is my getting gutsy: Being selfless and sacrificing is the best way to be pulled out of your comfort zone.

I walked into 2014 eyes wide open, excited at all of the possibilities this year that to offer. The possibilities and lessons were endless and certainly caused me to grow up. The biggest lesson of them all: little “A” moments sometimes teach us the biggest lessons that put us so far outside our comfort zones that we don’t recognize our old selves. I leave you with one of my favorite songs of 2014 that truly captures all of my getting gutsy moments this year.

Motivation Mondays: Faith > Fear

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the words he preached. He was a man of faith, of passion and stood firmly behind his ideals. He was a visionary who changed a nation and impacted millions even after his death.

faithIn the spirit of MLK Day and the 57th Inauguration, I am dedicating today’s post to a mission of making my faith bigger than my fear; a concept I believe both Dr. King and President Obama embody.

Many think faith has a religious connotation but in reality, it is more of a personal belief. Everyone defines faith differently. For me, it is believing in something you cannot see; walking head first into the darkness without knowing what to expect. With every new opportunity, there is a level of risk and a level of faith you must have in yourself and in the process. Faith can help you get through the day or can completely wreck your expectations. You are the only one that can decide.

I often find it hard to have faith that things will change. When you are so used to a certain way of life, how could things get better? What could possibly be done to fix an exceptional amount of damage? I bet you’re thinking how can she be so negative and I agree with you. When you read the statement above, said by a man who faced an uphill battle his entire life, you must change your mindset.

Add this to my 2013 goals: Let me faith be bigger than my fear. I want to take more risks, be more spontaneous and live life to the fullest everyday. I need to realize that life will always present its challenges but everyone must have faith in the future.

While I am not trilled to be working today, I know that this is part of growing up. I do plan on volunteering within the next few weeks, but today I will volunteer to change my attitude to be more positive in honor of Dr. King.

MLK

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