If you ever doubt or second guess yourself and feel like an imposter, you need to read this…
Getting stuck in our heads and second-guessing our decisions is painful, especially as I did yesterday. The day started out fine. I woke up early after only getting four hours of sleep, chugged three cups of coffee, then started practicing the narration for my audiobook.
I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!
Let’s back up a second to the first two times I went into the vocal booth. I showed up, unprepared and it showed. I know it was my first time, but I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!
I thought I could be perfect the first time out.
I sucked and felt like an imposter. Most of us do, anytime we try something new. It’s normal to feel awkward or uncomfortable but I thought I could be perfect the first time out. What a joke! Nobody is. EVER!
But therein lies the root cause of my insecurities—I thought I could, even expected it.
I am glad I hired professionals to help because on my own I probably would throw in the towel. But I had made a financial commitment and now I had to honor it.
“you need to rehearse this — BEFORE recording,” the director said.
She was right. In my mind, before I started the first two narration sessions, I thought, why do I need to practice, I wrote the damn book?
How egotistical is that?
That I should know how to do something new immediately. That I believe I am somehow unique and “should be able to know it after the first try”. Bullshit. Who am I kidding? Apparently, only myself.
Here’s the irony: The title of the book is Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.
For the third session after a good night’s sleep and practice, I entered the vocal booth and immediately connected with the material. I walked away feeling proud of what I had just done.
That’s the good news. Fast forward to my two sessions yesterday, after only getting four hours of sleep.
After I woke up I got to practicing, reading out loud the chapters I was to narrate later that morning.
I delivered my lines with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. I enunciated clearly, with plenty of emphasis on all the right phrases, and kept my tone conversational, etc.
After two practice runs I was ready to enter the studio. Now in the tiny vocal booth, after all the prechecks, I began to read.
You know where this is going, right?
As I began to speak, I felt my gut and throat tighten. My brain felt like those cartoon characters that hit a brick wall. The words were hollow, with no emotion, no connection. I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.
Within thirty seconds of starting, the director interrupted and asked, “who are you talking to?” I waited. And waited. I didn’t know.
“Myself,” I finally responded.
“I am talking to the older version of myself. The one I don’t want to be like anymore.”
In theory that is true, but with all the input of how to say what I want to say, and who I want to say it to, and reading with energy, and, and, and…well you get the idea. My brain froze—information overload. Complete mental meltdown.
I wanted to curl up in that tiny vocal book and cry. It literally sucked! I have not felt that small and inadequate since the last time. So much for my own Ten Seconds of Boldness, what a fraud, or so I thought.
At that moment those feelings were 100% real. But I already did the research and wrote the fucking book that they can change. I can change. We can change, if we want it bad enough. So much for giving myself a positive pep talk, almost.
Here’s what happened: I managed to pause a minute and slow down. And somehow make it through, but still walked away feeling completely defeated after the first of two sessions yesterday.
I had a big decision to make. Did I want to go back? I wasn’t sure. We agreed to leave it open. No pressure.
“Text me whatever you decide,” the director said.
Here’s what I did: I went home, ate, and took a nap. When I woke up, after a bit of agonizing playing the game of “should I stay or should I go?” in my head, I texted:
I can be there at 2 pm. Will that work?
“Running errands. Can make it at 2:30.”
That was my first hurdle—Making a decision.
Now, I had to face the demon voices in my head that were screaming at me, telling me all the usual BS—You are not ready. You are not good enough. Give it up.
You know what those sound like. We all do.
Fuck it, I thought. I’m going to go in there and give it all I got and that is going to have to be good enough.
The good news is the next session after practicing two more times beforehand, I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.
What transpired is what I wanted all along but couldn’t because I was overthinking EVERYTHING!!!!
I spoke as if having a conversation with my son or anyone else who struggles with doubt and normal fears and insecurities. I spoke with clarity, conviction, energy, and enthusiasm. Even though the audience was not there, I felt like I was connecting, coming from a place of compassion not preaching. I walked away feeling so much more confident because I felt my fear and did it anyway!
Three cheers to conquering fear!!!
Follow. Connect. Comment. Share.
If you found this entertaining or helpful and want to read more of my articles, and stories follow me here or visit shawnlangwell.com and sign up for my email list to get all my latest musings, advice, or life lessons. If you need more encouragement, shoot me a message: at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash