With Melly Stewart –
I stood there frozen. Heart beating wildly. Knees weakening. Palms sweaty. Mouth agape but no sound coming out. The face staring back at me was a mirror of my own fear as that red LIVE button blinked relentlessly. Taunting me silently.
“Say something.” It taunted. “But don’t stuff it up or they’ll know.”
Finally a sound comes out of my mouth andI think I am talking about the notes I have painstakingly prepared but… is that my voice? When did my voice sound so strange?
The video ends, I press the finish button and that delete button starts mocking me.
“Just delete it. That was horrible. No way was that good enough.” While my finger hovers over the button which will save me from my own embarrassment, a little voice in the back of my head says quite firmly.
“Just post it!”
I spend the next 3 days having random anxiety attacks, worried about what people would say or do in response to my words.
But nothing happens. A few likes. A few arbitrary thank-you’s. But nothing life threatening.
“Ok I can do this again.” I say to myself.
A week later and my day rolls around again and once again it’s my turn to step up and do a LIVE video. Once again I stand frozen in front of that camera, heart beating wildly, knees going weak, palms sweating…. But this time the words don’t escape me. I start talking straight away and the sound of my voice? Well I think I’m just getting use to it now.
I finish speaking and although I notice that delete button, I don’t feel the need to press it this time. But the anxiety about what others will say begins to crack through my bravery and
I spend the next 3 days biting my fingernails waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’.
However, once again, nothing much happens. Just a few likes and some small chatter.
“Hang on a second.” That little voice within me says with a hint of anger to her usually calm demeanor. “Why ISN’T anyone commenting on this? I put myself through hell to do these videos and I seem to care more than they do! So why am I putting so much pressure on myself?”
Perfectionism. The word came through loud and clear in my mind along with my go-to perfectionism busting quote of: ‘There is no such thing as perfect.’
In that instance I feel light and happy, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and was that joy at the thought of doing the next video?
The following week rolls around and this time I am actually excited to do a video! I stop myself from making any physical notes and before I let any of the negative chatter take hold in my mind, I hit the LIVE button and just start talking.
Everything is going well until half way through I stumble on my words and the panic sets in. “They’ll notice you stuffed up. They’ll think its because you don’t know your stuff. They know more than you.”
I scramble through the rest of the video feeling sick in the stomach and once again hover over the delete button before making the decision to just post it as it is.
“Why had that thought popped up halfway through? Why did I think they know more than me? I know I know my stuff. So why am I questioning it?”
Imposter Syndrome. And once again the quote I use to overcome imposter syndrome jumps out of my brain in neon lights: ‘There will always be someone who knows more than you.’
I quiet my fast beating heart with a few deep breaths and look to the comments for the confirmation that someone has picked up on my fear.
No one noticed. But no one was commenting either. Were they even watching this?
Why was I stressing myself out every week doing these videos when nobody was even paying attention?
And with that I realised I had done a full circle. Where I once feared peoples likes and comments, I now wanted to see and hear what they had to say. I wanted to know they were listening or at least paying attention long enough to hear some of my message so I could help them. Because how could I help them if they didn’t?
My brain started ticking a mile a minute as I recalled every video I had actually stopped to watch and continued watching to the end. Every conversation I took part in that really engaged me. Every book I had read and NOT put down halfway through. What was the connection between all of them? How could I bring that ‘thing’ into my videos?
Every great video I had watched to the end, I had found myself engrossed in what was being said and rarely was it facts and figures. Every conversation that I had been truly engaged
in, there was a connection between what the person was talking about and what I had experienced myself. And every good book that I just couldn’t put down, had an amazing story that left me with the need to keep reading. I HAD to know what happened next.
Like a strike of lightning hitting the ground in a dazzling display of blinding light, it all clicked into place with a loud and almighty boom.
It was video time again. But this time was different.
I straightened my hair, took a big deep breath and pressed the LIVE button.
“Hey everyone. I want to share with you a story about how I found the courage to truly show up on video….”