I recently led my first workshop, and had the privilege of supporting an intimate group of women who showed up full of enthusiasm and courage, ready to re-energize their 2017 goals.
Planning and creating this workshop was an adrenaline-filled process, and ultimately one of my greatest personal and professional successes to date. Yes, the workshop went smoothly, but beyond that I was reminded of what happens when you 1) step out of your comfort zone, 2) do the thing that scares you, and 3) remember to get out of your own way.
In this instance, I had no idea how I’d feel in front of a room full of people. Would I fumble over my words? Be able to stay fully present? Speak loud enough for everyone to hear me? I didn’t know. I had no real reference point, and I felt as if I was stepping into totally unknown territory.
I barely slept the night before, and the morning of the workshop, I jolted out of bed feeling antsy, excited, and nervous. It was the same mix of feelings I used to get before dance competitions in high school — I’d practiced, sure, and I knew the steps…but I was about to enter a bigger arena and felt like my performance really mattered. Without realizing it, I was placing pressure on myself to perform. Fortunately, I snapped out of that before the day started.
On my way over to the workshop location, I was stopped at a red light behind a car with the license plate “HARTFWD”. I saw that and immediately thought, “Huh. Heart forward…I should lead with my heart. Riiiiiight. Got it. Okay, Universe — I see you!"
Coming from a “heart-centered” place is one of my key intentions in work and life in general. So as soon as I saw that license plate, I appreciated the moment of synchronicity and immediately realized I’d gotten so caught up in my concerns about performance that I almost forgot the most important step of all: getting out of my own way, and allowing myself to become a vessel for inspiration and healing.
As I brought to mind and felt into my intention of deeply caring for and supporting each woman who was coming to my workshop — really helping them identify their heartfelt desires and experience a surge of renewed energy — my nerves dissipated. They no longer mattered. I still had some butterflies, but I had bigger fish to fry.
Thankfully, this clarity carried into the workshop itself, and I was amazed to discover how easy it was to tune into the needs of the group and remain present, which left no room for overthinking or nerves to sneak in. I was fully there, and as a result, everything unfolded organically.
The day was filled with moments of clarity, authentic sharing, and plenty of visioning. Each women dove into the exercises wholeheartedly, took an honest look at what they really wanted, let go of what was taking up mental space and energy, and committed to taking action. By the time it ended, there was an incredible buzz in the air — the energy had shifted, and I could feel the inspiration and excitement that emanated from each woman.
As I took in their radiance, I was again reminded that this work isn’t about me — and that’s a good thing! Because when we make things about us, our world gets much smaller, and it’s easy to shrink in relation to our fear. But when we remember that we are part of something bigger, that we have a purpose and our only job is to show up and do the best we can, it truly takes the pressure off of our performance. Whether we “succeed” or not — no matter how we’re defining success — isn’t really the point. The point is that we tried.
Is there an area of your life that you’re ready to take to the next level — yet you feel the fear and pressure starting to creep in? If so, I encourage you to check in with yourself and see if you’re making it about you. If you are, that’s okay — it’s normal, and remember: our egos don’t like it when we switch things up. Be kind to yourself, and gently bring to mind the bigger goal. And from there, lead with your heart. I guarantee you: it will not lead you astray!