Do you recognize this scenario?
You are sitting in a meeting with your team, where there is a heated debate about a specific topic. You also want to contribute to the discussion, but you are waiting until you understand the full context. You want to make sure that what you say adds value or makes sense. But you end up not sharing anything at all or only agreeing to what someone else already said. No RIGHT thing to say came to your mind, only some ideas or questions, but you were not even sure if they made any sense. So, rather than risking sounding stupid or saying something wrong, you kept quiet.
I get it. Nobody wants to look stupid, especially when we are in a new role and want to make a good impression. I am sure that you are a capable and intelligent person, so the chances of saying something totally stupid are relatively low.
But staying in a cage of holding back, waiting to be 100% ready, or waiting for “the right” moment to speak, is NOT an answer to career progress either.
What is the “right moment” anyway? When there is space to speak? When you are absolutely sure that what you want to say is correct? What if it’s just a moment when something comes to your mind, you have a question, or just feel like sharing your view?
I assume that you want to contribute freely, without holding back, waiting for the right moment to speak, and worrying about what others will think of you. So, what can you do to move closer to that freedom?
The answer is to start taking more risks.
Embrace discomfort, and let go of the idea that you need to be 'ready' before taking a step. What if you can take action first, learn from it, refine it for the future, and then feel more 'ready' and comfortable in situations that once generated a lot of discomfort. Go to my blog post where I share practical steps of how you can build more courage to speak up at work.
You don’t have to be like the most confident people you know, you just need to find your version of showing up, and be courageous in moments when you feel scared.
Without action, there is no change. Decide today that you will start taking action before you feel ready. Next time you think about sharing something in a meeting, just say it. You may soon find out that people don't react as harshly as you had imagined. Maybe there is no reaction at all, and that's ok. The goal is to start practicing and getting into a habit of sharing your views without waiting for the 'right' moment or having the 'right' thing to say.
If they respond negatively, remember that it does not say anything about your worth. It is just one perspective against another. To strengthen it, I invite you to read my previous blog about the fear of disapproval.
What is your take-away from this post? Will you try speaking up before feeling ready? Send me a message and let me know how your practice goes.