You’re in the living room in your favorite chair with a book at twilight, the lights low and the house peaceful. You’re very relaxed and your eyes start to close as you slide into the sleepy, surreal space between trying to read and succumbing to the pull of the doze.
Just as you drift off, your eye picks up movement on the wall – a shadow flashed! You wake up fully - what was that?! Alarmed, your heart pounding, you get up and start searching the room because you know you saw something but nobody else is home and the dog is asleep but he would have barked if someone was there, right!??! Your mind races, trying to figure out what on earth you just saw and you hope that it was just your imagination. And then it happens.
Two baby spider plants fall off the big spider plant that you haven’t watered in two weeks. As they fall, their shadow flashes and disappears in the twilight.
Phew! Your breathing returns to normal as your adrenaline drops. It was nothing more than shadows of little dry plants.
Our minds play lots of tricks on us and our imaginations are powerful. When we’re presenting to an audience or networking in a new place, the shadows on the wall are our assumptions and fears about...
- What others will think of us
- How we will sound
- What we will do and say
- And lots of other things that might go wrong and probably won’t.
The next time you’re feeling nervous about “putting yourself out there,” remind yourself that your fears are largely your imagination. We humans put excess stock in the shadows created by our own minds. What would it be like to instead experiment with viewing and treating your fears as nothing more than shadows? You just might be able to set them aside more quickly and easily to give your full attention to better things, like being present to others and making meaningful connections that build your personal brand and career. Above all, have fun! Experiment...improvise.