What I’m NOT doing.
Last week I gave a presentation to a group of 50 consultants on the topic of emotional resilience and how to stay connected to ourselves during chaos. We talked about our Itty Bitty Shitty Committees (the negative voices inside our head), how to find compassion for ourselves in the face of difficult feedback and giving voice to our struggles without either denying them or getting sucked into them.
It was an empowering day for us all and we skipped (or maybe that was just me) out of the conference room with the inspiring reminders that 1) calm and clarity are only a compassionate breath away 2) we’re never alone and 3) no matter what, we’re good enough, just as we are.
(Here’s the group after our awesome session.)
I first chatted with the consulting company late last year which gave me plenty of time to prepare for their spring conference. I held interviews with participants to better understand their company culture, language and specific struggles. I wrote the presentation and peppered it with science-based data. I narrowed in on which stories to tell to engage the audience. I even created an outline of the talk on colored sticky notes and placed them over my bed to allows the information to “sink” into my head at night.
For weeks I ate, drank and slept this presentation and the day before the session my assistant called to wish me luck.
“So what are you doing to prepare for tomorrow?” she asked.
I told her about the interviews and practicing my stories and sticky notes.
“But honestly,” I said, “What’s been most helpful is what I’m not doing.”
Over the last two years my work has grown to include trainings and keynotes which have been a desire of mine since opening my practice 9 years ago. And, as is fitting for any impatient person, I used to unmercifully harass myself for not immediately landing speaking gigs once I’d committed to my speaking goal. (Recovering instant gratification addict here.)
Looking back now on who I was 8 years ago, thank goodness I didn’t get those coveted speaking opportunities when I’d said I wanted them. I would have been a f*cking wreck!
Sure I would have risen to the occasion but I also would have been battling an intense shit storm of self doubt which would have deeply affected my delivery and impact.
What time and experience (and more time) have allowed me is the chance to settle into myself and my voice to create and share my unique work.
And only from that strengthened, connected place was I capable of not doing an entire host of things I would have done years ago.
Here’s what I didn’t do while preparing for this presentation:
Doubt my content Get attached to a specific outcome Try to make it perfect Think of all the ways the presentation might tank, I could embarrass myself or offend my audience Question my value
I didn’t let myself get wound up about the “right thing” to say and teach and do or even wear. Instead I channeled my inner Prince, owned my full Jamie-ness, complete with tight black pants, big-hair and f-bombs and reminded myself of this one simple fact:
No matter what Jamie, you’re going to be OK. Whether they love it or hate it, you’re always OK. Trust yourself. Do your good work. Let it flow. Then honey, let it go.
To see lasting change we must make what we don’t do as much of a conscious action as what we do do.
So tell me, in thinking about your next big presentation, important conversation, your next workout or even your next meal, what are you not going to do?
Perhaps you’re not going to doubt what you know. Perhaps you won’t downplay your contribution. Perhaps you won’t shy away from sharing your truth. Perhaps you won’t harass your body for not being svelte enough. Or perhaps you’re simply not going to obsess about choosing the burger over the fish.
Choose what you’re not going to do and notice what shifts in consciously deciding that self-doubt, self-harassment, and self-abandonment are no longer invited to the table.
Have a wonderful week and let’s give praise to all we’re not doing!
All my love,
P.S. If you know the people in your company or organization would benefit from learning how to reconnect with themselves and each other for greater confidence and emotional resilience, let’s talk. Each presentation is specifically crafted to the needs of your organization and I’d love to see what we can do for you and your people. Simply email me and we’ll make it happen.
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