This year and toward the end of last year. I started putting up my hand again. I started taking the mic. I started providing my opinion, my thanks, my thoughts and my questions.
Those who knew me from school - perhaps more so primary school - may remember me as being eager to answer the questions in class. Always attentive, a little attention seeking, often a contributor. Certainly in places I felt supremely safe and felt like I was in charge or had a certain amount of authority - that didn't change as I grew up and stopped seeking out the lime light.
But as soon as I felt out of my depth or like I wasn't in control of the situation - I hid.
I would go to workshops and events and marvel at my friends who would nominate themselves to go up the front to be used as a coaching example or share what they had learnt or make jokes and tell stories for a room of strangers of which they were part of the crowd.
Their courage baffled me and I wondered why I couldn't do the same. Why just holding my hand in the air took so much effort and seemed like such a petrifying act.
I examined beneath the surface and continued the task of re-writing my limiting beliefs, challenging my perceptions and playing devils advocate with myself.
I would coach myself in the moment and surely by surely, event by event, it got easier to put my hand up - not as an after thought but immediately.
And in one of the last events I went to - I put my hand up multiple times. I went to the front to be used as an example. I shared, contributed and let myself speak up, attract attention and be seen. And I loved it.
Just because your current default is one thing - it doesn't mean it should be or has to be.
You are not shy and quiet. You are CURRENTLY shy and quiet, perhaps because (like it did for me) it's serving you in same way.
This may be your wallflower phase but it is just that - a phase. And you can shift out of it, if you in fact want to.
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