Dear 25 year old me,
The popular saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know”, right? It’s so applicable when you’re embarking on a new task or journey – something like building a new home and being faced with the daunting situation of not knowing what the right questions to ask are.
You actually see it quite a bit when someone is embarking on a new website project or campaign.
But what about when you don’t know what you know?
This couldn’t be a stranger statement but it couldn’t feel more real right at this present point in your life.
Last week while snowboarding on the snowy slopes of Mount Hotham, you had an amazing moment of clarity.
— Spoiler alert! Yes, future you still strongly dislikes the cold and somehow manage to get dragged along for a ski trip, but surprisingly, you fall in love with this white wonder that is… snow. Can’t wait for more! —
Right, back on track;
There have been a few situations – actually, opportunities – these past two months that have really challenged you and placed you out of your comfort zone.
One of the big ones is being asked to speak at a few more events, most recently being asked to speak at a conference that’s coming up very soon.
Now, it wasn’t so much the public speaking that made you feel a little bit uneasy. Admittedly, it’s certainly something that’s resulted in you obtaining a great little collection of tummy-dwelling-butterflies from, but the biggest source of the anxiety revolves around feeling like you have nothing (of value) to say.
When you say it aloud, it sounds like an invitation for a pity party.
What does it mean? Surely, with the experiences collected over a decade of being in the industry, you surely must have something to talk about? To clarify; something to talk about that people might want to hear?
You start searching deeply, reflecting on what it is that you actually do day to day. Sure, you work in an industry where you never stop learning. You coordinate people, you find more efficient ways to do things etc etc. It’s all easy stuff. You love it, but surely, it’s got to be pretty boring to the outsider?
Then you go back to this statement, “It’s all easy stuff…”
Right there and then, you have this overwhelming and very real, very deflating feeling that pretty much, anyone could do your job. Wow. It kind of all feels a little less special when you think of it like that.
I’m just so… normal.
When you say those words aloud, you feel so.. small. The wind was taken out of your sails. The spring; gone from your step.
Not long after you started thinking such devastating things, you had a very well-timed and fortunate intervention. A close friend who was a colleague that once upon a time worked with you many moons ago says these words, “You have no idea the impact that you’ve had on people’s lives.”
He continues, “I don’t know anyone else like you. You’re someone who takes action. You’re a leader. People look up to you and respect you. You make what you do look easy, but it’s not. You’re an inspiration.”
“You inspire me.”
How could this be true? These were some of the kindest words that you’ve heard in your lifetime and they’ve given you a whole new perspective in taking the first step to (allowing yourself) to see yourself through others’ eyes.
Of course when you think about it more, what you do day to day naturally seems easy, but it certainly was a challenge in the beginning and you need to accept that most likely, everyone goes through not putting any value on what they themselves do.
The answer to knowing what you know? Well, you still don’t know BUT you’re going to give yourself a little more credit and find the answer with open eyes.
To be continued…