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You Belong Here

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (6)

Have you ever walked into a new environment and upon entering looked around and felt that perhaps you did not belong?

At that moment a host of insecurities seems to come flooding over you. You begin to recall other instances when you felt a similar way. Maybe you were the new kid in class and got teased because of your race, gender, physical size, height, skin colour, accent, clothes, or beliefs.   When I sense this unease after entering an unfamiliar environment I also begin to question my value, talents, and abilities. I start to wonder about my qualifications and doubt and fear creep into my spirit.

Any previous success or achievement vanishes from my mind. And all of this occurs within minutes. If I do not get a hold of these thoughts rather quickly, while in a meeting I will;

  • silently start comparing myself to others
  • cease listening to what is actually being discussed and
  • feel like I am being judged as an impostor by others in the room with me.

When we let feelings of not belonging to take over us, we are permitting our own thoughts to negate our progress and our potential to make a valuable contribution.

Earl Nightingale who recorded the “Strangest Secret” espoused, “we become what we think about.” When we engage in “I don’t belong here” thoughts, we have forgotten all the hours we spent staying late at school, or work, studying, practicing, and preparing.

We did not arrive where we are today because we took the easy path. Our journey which has led us to circumstances where we are called upon to step up and demonstrate our brilliance took time, energy and effort. It was not handed to us.

We can continue to think limiting thoughts and choose not to share our gifts. (Warning, this way of thinking can spread into other areas of our life, leading us to not sign up for that workshop, not apply for that new job, or volunteer for that project).

Or we can get control of our thoughts and take a few deep breaths and say to ourselves. "I belong here. I have done the work. I belong here. I have prepared for this very thing. I belong here."

Then we can go for it. Walk into the meeting room, attend the class, join the gym, speak up at the meeting, volunteer for that project and apply for the promotion.

Fear not the unfamiliar environment, you are ready for whatever comes your way.  Once you have gotten a hold of your thoughts, look around and if you notice someone else who has that look on her face; the look of doubt and fear; look right into her eyes, send her some of your confidence and say to her whether in words or with a smile “you belong here”.

Then make room for her beside you.

Decide and follow through.

Posted on December 3, 2017 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (6)

Recently I gave some thought to why it bothered me when I thought about returning the red dress I recently purchased. Often returning an item of clothing is more about trusting in myself, than the item being flawed in any way.

Here is how it typically happens.

• Enter the store looking for the right outfit. This can take anywhere from a few minutes or a couple of hours.

• After a while of searching, my heart races when I lay my eyes on the beautiful red dress with the frilly sleeves.

• I check the size, price, look for any rips or funny anomalies and then I hold it by the hanger. I do not even put it in a cart for fear that it may snag on something or get dirty.

• Head to the fitting room eager to try on this precious gift that I believe was placed there just for me.

• I try on the dress and behold, a huge smile comes across my face. (The smile is the universal signal that this dress was made just for me.) To confirm, another lady in the fitting room walks by and says that looks great on you. And that just clinches it. I am going to get this dress.

• I carefully take off the dress, (still smiling) return to my regular outfit. And head to the checkout.

• This is when it happens… While in the checkout line I begin to have doubts. Did the dress really fit me that well? Was the lady who complimented me a “plant” by the Store Manager? What if it was the lighting in the fitting room and the dress was not really made for me? Aghhh!!!! Should I buy this dress?

Has this ever happened to you? Upon reflection, I have come to realize that this happens way too often in my life and not only when shopping for clothes.

I now understand that this is a flaw in my thinking, which leads me to second guess my decisions.

The process to stop second-guessing your decisions.

Step 1: Set the criteria prior to making any decision of what it is you want to achieve. (Purchase of a dress that is red, priced reasonably, comfortable, good quality fit and looks awesome on me).

Step 2: Be very clear on what you will not accept. Your “no go” reasons against taking action. (To prove or get approval from others, seems like a “good deal”.

Step 3: Seek out the necessary resources and listen to objective feedback. (the compliment offered was sincere, and a gesture of kindness from one woman to another)

Step 4: Take the necessary action. Once you have reviewed the criteria, satisfied that you have sufficient information, decide and implement. (Finish the purchase and head out the store. Wear your dress with confidence and joy.

If you ever experienced this second guessing at the checkout counter or in any other area of your life, consider steps 1 to 4. Take a deep breath, and know that you are capable and qualified to move forward towards your chosen decision. You and I deserve great things, let us take the time to figure out what that is and go for it!