Every day we avoid things that we want to do or say because we are scared of being judged. We don’t want to be embarrassed.
You might want to speak up in a gathering, but don’t because you don’t want to feel embarrassed. You might want to ask for a promotion or more responsibility, but you don’t because you are afraid the meeting won’t go well and you will feel embarrassed. You might want to change the way you dress, but you are afraid of being judged.
Here are two questions that might help:
Is your fear grounded in reality?
When others around you speak up in a meeting, does anyone make them feel embarrassed? Are they publicly criticized? Are their opinions held against them? Or are they seen as confident?
Are other employees receiving promotions or new projects to work on? So can you.
Too often we are afraid of an imagined future that doesn’t match the real world.
What is the worst that can happen?
Really… think it through. You ask for more responsibility and your boss says ‘no’. So what? They are probably impressed that you asked, and you can always ask again later.
Take this to an extreme… you ask the boss and he says “no, you are fired”. Do you really believe that you can’t find another job, perhaps with a more supportive boss?
What the top bloggers taught me
I used to be afraid of publishing blog posts. I was worried that I would be judged for my writing and thoughts.
Then some experienced bloggers told me that they cringe when they look back at their early writing, but the early writing enabled them to get better and to build their audience. If they hadn’t published because they were afraid of being embarrassed, they never would have reached the level where the public thinks they are worth sharing and discussing.
What’s more, these bloggers told me about all their failed attempts. Podcasts that no one listened to. Videos that didn’t work out. Blogs that no one subscribed to. On their paths to success, there were many failures. But no one remembers those failures now.
Most of the things we are afraid will embarrass us, actually, carry very low risk.
What would you do today if you knew there was no risk of embarrassment?