Last month I had the amazing opportunity to accompany my husband to a class at Stanford Business School. Stuart guest lectures in the class twice a year to share some of his entrepreneurial wisdom. He has been speaking there for years but, since I recently became an empty nester, I finally could attend the class with him (and even participate a little bit!)
One of the professors, a highly successful and quite attractive private equity mogul, started the class by opening up about the insecurities, "gremlins", that had visited him on his drive to campus.
"I'll never be able to raise money for my new fund."
"Even if I do raise the money, I'll probably won’t be able to invest them because all of the good companies are getting bid up and are too expensive."
"The students are going to be so disappointed when they find out that I am teaching today rather than the more popular co-professor."
I watched how the students couldn't believe how THAT guy had those thoughts. I couldn't believe it either. He was so honest.
But, the truth is...
We all have those thoughts.
Well, at least most of us do :)
My gremlin, also known as my Inner Critic Bitch, came for a very unexpected and dreadful visit last week.
I gave a talk. A big talk.
I was really prepared.
I was really excited.
But at the end, I was really confused.
I couldn't read the faces in the crowd.
Were they bored?
Were they disappointed that I didn't speak about what they came to hear?
Or, were they simply processing?
I had no clue, so of course, I assumed the worst.
For 24 hours after the talk, my gremlins made me feel like a giant LOSER. Feelings of embarrassment, shame, and overall horribleness consumed me like never before.
I had made myself vulnerable.
I had shared my stories of pain, not-good-enoughness while growing up, and how for most of my life I had distracted myself from feeling my feelings.
Now I felt naked.
I needed to hide from the intense feelings...
So, I crafted my escape plan.
A date with Netflix?
A bar of chocolate?
A glass of wine?
What would do it????
And then it HIT ME like a brick.
STOP. STOP. STOP.
I was doing EXACTLY what I just had told a room full of people NOT to do!
And so, like a train coming to an unexpected halt, with a screeching noise and an intense jolt....
It was time to WALK MY WALK.
I would NOT distract.
Instead, I would sit with those feelings.
EVERY SINGLE, PAINFUL, UGLY FEELING.
And I would ask....
"WHAT ARE YOU HERE TO TEACH ME TODAY?"
By doing this, I realized that....
My talk was more than good enough.
I was counting too much on external approval.
I was not standing in my power.
But I was OK. More than OK.
I knew in my heart that I still had so much to share with the world.
I knew that I was ready to get right back on that stage or any stage because...
If I could help just ONE person feel less alone by sharing MY gremlins, then I had accomplished something enormous.
We all have gremlins, inner critic bitches, and bad days.
Next time you feel that way...
Sit with those feelings.
Learn from those feelings.
And ask your gremlins and inner critic bitches to close the door on their way OUT.
I am telling right now... that you ARE good enough.
You must stand in YOUR power.
And, you will OK.