John was being interviewed about his distinguished career as an anthropologist. He was smart, witty, inciteful. A true professional. The real deal.
Except that he wasn’t.
John was a classmate of mine at a recent conference I attended to hone my public speaking skills. And this was an on-camera exercise he was chosen to participate in.
Even though John was a financial planner, he was told to play the role of an expert anthropologist, despite knowing jack shit about anthropology.
But he was amazing!
Those of us in the audience learned a lot about speaking on camera.
But there was an even more important lesson.
Every single one of us, at one time or another, feels like a fraud. We think we’re not “good enough.” We’re convinced – we’re absolutely certain – that we’ll be “found out” for the inadequate fools we think we are.
No one escapes.
Even those of us who speak on stage.
But watching John “be” the anthropologist with such poise, ease, dignity and grace reminded us all that the stories we tell ourselves about how (we’re convinced) the world will see us (with all of our imperfections) are just that: stories; stories that we make up in our minds.
The truth is that, for the most part, those in the “world” (those you’re absolutely sure will find you out) are much too busy worrying about their own stories of adequacy and worth. And that when you step up to share those gifts that are uniquely yours to share, others are judging themselves far more often than they are judging you.
So be fearless. (Or, as Susan Jeffers says, feel the fear and do it anyway!)
If John can “be the anthropologist,” then I certainly can be me. And you can certainly be you.
And, I dare say, that’s enough.