Eschewing my usual quiet weekend at home, the new Bold Me ™ talked me into going to a music festival last weekend.
Well, actually it was my brother who talked me into it – he did organise the whole event (pretty much so that his band could headline the festival) and it would have been rude not to attend.
Don’t get me wrong. I love music and it is in my genes – my mother’s former career was as a concert pianist, my brother is the lead singer in a band and I played violin in the orchestra and sang in the choir at school, a thousand years ago.
I would love love love the courage to be a songstress with a powerful voice – like Christina Aguileira, Bonnie Tyler, Adele, or Anastascia. I’ve been told I can actually sing, but my voice is pretty ordinary – I don’t think you could pick out from a line of generic, plasticised girl bands.
But that is not the point.
The point is, would I have the courage to perform at a music festival? That would mean getting out from behind that rock (or my laptop) where I habitually hide, stepping up and taking the spotlight.
I remember the misery and humiliation of performing in school concerts. I once reluctantly wrote to my grandmother (as instructed by my music teacher) to invite her to the school concert where I was the lead violinist, I secretly added a “PS” pleading her NOT to attend as leading an out of tune/time orchestra playing “Baa Baa Black Sheep” was clearly going to utterly mortifying. Which it was. (At least she took my advice and stayed at home.)
So, forget singing or music playing for now – for this music festival I set myself the goal of dancing. In front my friends and family. Not behind a tree, or near the back. And proper dancing, not shuffling nervously from side to side. Front row. And without the benefit of alcohol-infused Dutch Courage.
So that was the plan. In retrospect, I could have planned it a little better. I didn’t rush in now, did I. Only fools do that, or so I told myself. No, I waited until I got nice and nervous, and then I realised I could be even more nervous – so I waited a good while longer. There were honestly 8 bands that performed before I felt ready to stand up.
Actually, I never felt ready.
I just realised that if I didn’t go for it now, I never would.
On the upside most other people had had a drink or ten by this point, so there was a chance they wouldn’t notice or care when I finally screwed up the courage to bust a move.
My brother’s band was performing, the dance floor was packed, and I fought my way to the front.
And played for time by taking photos and videos of the band until my phone battery ran out – hey, I’m allowed to my bother’s no 1 groupie.
At this point, even with my extraordinary talent for concocting excuses, I simply ran out of them.
So I did it.
And you know what?
No one laughed. At least, not within earshot – although of course to be fair, it was hard to hear anything of over the dulcet tones of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black”.
No, as I started to gain confidence and executed a few more daring moves – turning to face the audience, even looking at some of the other dancers, I realised that it was going to be OK. I needn’t have spent the entire day and half the night worrying about making a complete idiot of myself.
That was of course right before I fell over and split my jeans.
As I crept back to join my family and friends away from the dance floor, I realised that this constant internal babble of nonsense in my head is not helping. I do not need a loud insistent inner critic constantly reminding me of past humiliations and pretending to protect my dignity.
Firstly people aren’t really watching you that closely – most of the time they are thinking about themselves, not you.
Secondly so what if you make a bit of a fool of yourself – everyone does it sooner or later and if you listened to that little voice you’d never step outside the front door.
And thirdly, if I want to get anywhere near my world-changing goals, I can’t waste this much time fighting with myself before I take a teeny tiny baby steps.
I’m just going to have to get brave and leap. And act faster next time, before I get too nervous.
Now I might not be able to leap every time, I mean steely self-determination will need the odd
week – I mean – night – off. But I need to actively embrace being visible. This blog will chart my progress in getting there. I hope it will help you too, gain confidence, embrace visibility, become more comfortable with becoming more visible.
Please come along for the ride too. This blog will highlight practical strategies, tools and tactics to help us stop hiding and be less afraid of the spotlight. It will allow us to share our experiences, cheer each other on and exchange tips, tools, stories and strategies to help us on our journeys. I’m going to share my ups and downs, my horribly embarrassing – but oh so juicy – slip-ups and any triumphs along the way (fingers crossed that there will be some of these to share!).
The way I see it, there are seven steps to transform from a Lurker to Leader. And I’ve taken the first step.
Step 1 – Recognise your usual strategy/habit/mindset/self-sabotaging behaviour and realise that you want to change.
How about you – is there anything you want to change in your life? What made you realise you want to change? What actions are you going to take?
It’s OK, you can tell me. Confidentiality guaranteed.
Oh, didn’t you know? I’m not touting for business, but I am a professional…