The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

just put it all out there and let it grow

You want to know the hard truth? Sometimes, you just have to put yourself out there to keep moving forward.

Not literally. Not in a cleavage and thigh bearing kind of way. I’m talking about willingly throwing yourself into a situation whose outcome you can’t predict. Some people crave that feeling of uncertainty, that adrenaline rush, that dash to make something happen. Others dash in the other direction if they are asked to step one millimeter outside their comfort zone.

Lately, I’ve had a few situations in which I’ve had to put myself out for display. I guess it had been a while since I had challenged myself in that way because it was hard! Terrible insecurities crept in. Insecurities that should have long ago been squashed. Like around the 7th grade, they should have been squashed. When thoughts like I hope nobody laughs at me start swimming around in your head, it’s time to put on the proverbial big girl panties.

At an event over the weekend, someone snapped a picture of me talking to a man whose book I had just signed. I wish you could have seen the way I was holding my mouth. At that particular moment, he was doing the talking so I should have had a pleasant expression on my face, I should have been looking him in the eye, etc. Oh no. Not the business etiquette professional that I am. I was looking at his face, generally, but my lips were curled around hiding my teeth. And, do you want to know why? Three hours ago, I had eaten a brownie. As this man approached my table, I had this sudden fear that a piece of brownie was stuck in my teeth. From three hours ago? That’s not even logical! A piece of spinach, maybe, but not a brownie.

At some other point, I remember trying to hold my head upright as I signed someone’s book because I didn’t want them to see my gray roots. Thankfully, no one got a picture of that one. I can only imagine how graceful and poised that came across. I’m nearly 6 feet tall. Exactly how many other ladies can even see the top of my head, I ask you? So, that’s not logical, either.

Do you see the trend? We find ourselves in a situation that is challenging and weirdness starts to emerge. I had a friend in college who would try to twirl her eye brow on speech day in our Public Speaking class. I know…that begs a couple of questions, but that’s off topic.  The really depressing part is that we do these things and sometimes don’t even realize it. Not until someone takes our picture with our lips doing gymnastics. Ok, maybe that’s just me.

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! The more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes. Swear. You get accustomed to the unexpected. You become more and more comfortable with yourself and other people. As adults, we have the freedom to stick with what we know and like. Ultimately, this will, in fact, take your freedom away. If you will push yourself beyond your comfort zone, feel the feeling of success and enjoy the gratification of doing something you thought you couldn’t, you grow. As a result of this growth, there is freedom beyond what you can imagine today.

So, the next time a smart-mouthed 9 year old boy tells you you look like Lady Gaga as you walk out the door to give a presentation, exercise your new found freedom by telling him, politely, that he smells like a mud puddle. If he’s 9 and he’s a boy, it’s likely that he does.


2 responses to “just put it all out there and let it grow

  1. Marion Bard November 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Oh my. Being in the spotlight is terribly uncomfortable for me. Great points to share Kate, encouraging us introverts to put it out there. The connection you made with choice and freedom in our actions is a wake up call.

  2. Kate November 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I never would have tagged you as an introvert! 🙂
    Go forth, Girl!

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