Playing the Shame Game

I was at an event a while back where we were being trained for professional speaking. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to be on stage making people happy. Originally it was a dream of being a rock and roll singer for some famous band but that got short circuited. I grew up believing strongly in sex and drugs and rock and roll. If I could master those three things my life was going to be sweeeet. As it turns out I did very well in a couple of those things and, I’m sorry Meatloaf, but in my case 2 out of 3 was pretty bad. Anyway, back to this Speaker training. We were assigned to craft and perform a 1 minute presentation in which we’d hook the audience with our point of view inside of 1 minute (the old elevator pitch). I was so excited that I was getting back on stage after a lot of years thinking I’d never get another chance to fulfill my destiny. When everyone else went to lunch I sat there and worked on perfecting my masterful pitch. I was ready. I was so pumped up. I was going to get up there and rock the stage once again. They only had time to select a few from the audience and I was so hopeful that one of them would be me. OK game on. The first guy selected went up and did his thing. He did OK but was unable to finish his point in the 1 minute allotted. He received his dose of strong criticism from the trainers and returned to his seat. OOH OOH pick me pick me. I was ready to WOW the trainers and I was JACKED UP. Another name was called and he went to the stage and just crushed it. He was funny and had a great point of view which he delivered concisely in 1 minute. The audience cheered with their approval and the trainers gave their kudos. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling so confident any more. I wasn’t sure if I could deliver as good as this guy did. I quickly lost my enthusiasm and desire to be selected. The next 2 people selected both did very good jobs and my self talk just started building like a snowball rolling down hill. In a matter of 10 minutes I went from Greg the rockstar to Greg the suckster. Now I was sweating. “Please don’t call on me” was all I could think of. How did I go from being the most confident guy in the room to wanting to crawl under a rock in less than 15 minutes? One word…SHAME. Shame is the voice in our heads that tells us we’re “less than” and then backs it up with bullshit. Shame is the art of being able to select the one thing that someone is better than me at and using that against me. It is a lie that will paralyze me if I choose to believe it. Today, I take the time to look a little deeper and find the real truth. The real truth is that for any individual talent or skill that I have there exists someone who can do it better. What does not exist is someone who can do everything I do at the level that I can.

Comparing yourself to others is like that old boring cliché of apples to oranges. Nobody can compare to you. You are the very best in the world at being you. No one else can do it. You were given these gifts to fulfill a purpose that only you can do. How will you know when you’re living in alignment with your purpose? When every day becomes a new level of awesome that you never thought possible. Time to STEP UP!