Stop selling yourself short!

Stop selling yourself short!

Last week I facilitated a two-day communication communication workshop with a global tech company. I’ve run lots of workshops over the years but when I was approached on this one last December, I was a little tentative.  The seventeen people flying in from around the world hailed from 8 different countries – from South Korea to Argentina – with varying degrees of English fluency.

While I can count to ten in Spanish and Italian, it’s fair to say I get an ‘F’ for multi-linguistic skills. I decided to say yes anyway and I’m so glad I did. Not only was it professionally rewarding working with such a diverse group, but I realised afterward that I’d been more than equipped to handle the dynamics and challenges of this group.

The lesson I learnt (and it’s one I’ve been slow to learn!):

Stop selling yourself short!

It’s a lesson so many people (beginning with this one!)  need to be reminded of again and again. Too often we underestimate our abilities and hold back from putting ourselves forward for new opportunities or saying yes when they come our way (and yes, I think women are more guilty of this than the blokes.) It keeps us from the very experiences that build both our competence and confidence.

I recently interviewed Sara James, an Emmy Award winning NBC News correspondent and author, for RawCourage.TV  Sara paved her career by putting herself ‘out there’ despite her misgivings. In sharing how she got her first break as a news anchor in Tupelo, Mississippi, and later as landing her first war correspondent assignment in Somalia, she often had to step completely out of her comfort zone and risk the possibility of a spectacular failure.

Landing in Mogadishu on her very first assignment she thought to herself, “What the heck am I doing?”  She asked a veteran journo for some tips. He replied, “Just get outside. Every person you meet is a story.” Sara counts it as the best advice she ever got.

So let me ask you three questions:

  1. Where is fear of not having what it takes, of being rejected or falling flat on your face keeping you from going after (at full tilt) what you really want?
  2. Where are you selling yourself short or failing to ask for what you want?
  3. More so, what opportunities are you missing out on because you aren’t putting yourself in front of the very people who could open new doors for you?

Of course you won’t always get the response you want. Sometimes people will say no.  Other times you’ll get a closed door (I had over forty rejection letters before my first book Find Your Courage was picked up by McGraw-Hill). You may even mess up on occasion. Almost certainly, you will look back and see how you might have done it better (just like my workshop!)  However one thing is certain, you’ll learn far more and go way further when you quit playing it safe and stick your neck out.

Courage Challenge

So let me finish by presenting you with this simple challenge. For the next 7 days, I challenge you to hang up your timidity hat and put yourself ‘out there’ at least once every day. For example:

  • Introduce yourself to someone you’ve long wanted to meet
  • Make a sales call you’ve been putting off
  • Invite someone out for lunch
  • Ask someone to be your mentor
  • Enlist support toward a goal
  • Put your hand up for an opportunity you’re not sure you’re quite ready for

I have no idea what relationships might grow from it or what doors might open but I can tell you this – things will happen that would not happen otherwise. Because while being brave doesn’t always guarantee success, but it always precedes it.

If you’d like to see all of my interview with Sara James for RawCourage.TV, click here!

If you’d like to take my 10 day Train The Brave Challenge, click here.