Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who am I not to be?
I AM a CHILD of GOD.
My playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around me.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This quote is one of my favorites and it reminds me to lean into the unknown and let go of fear, especially in my career. It calls me to be authentic and find my voice by being me and not trying to please my boss, colleagues or direct reports. So who am I when I step into the workplace? Do I recognize myself or do I check myself at the door and pick myself up on the way out? Do I believe that I have something to offer or do I play small so not to stand out? Am I my worst enemy in achieving greatness and creating a legacy that only I can do because of my unique talents and gifts?
These are questions that we need to face to emerge as truly successful and authentic women in whatever career we are in. What better time for you to step into your truth and let it shine in 2015. There is no better time than now to embrace being a woman in the workplace, wherever that may be – e.g. in schools, hospitals, policy academy, government, military, corporate America, Silicone Valley, aerospace, manufacturing, art galleries, music studios, entertainment, kitchens, homes, etc. All these roles deserve your full self, your authentic self, your promise to live fully alive and with confidence in who you are created to be.
You are so important and the message you are to communicate is lived out in whatever career you choose. Even if you are still searching for the right one, know that all the various jobs are dress rehearsals. As you try on various roles, your message is fine-tuned. Until one day the curtain will be pulled back and you will step onto the stage that has been waiting for you.
At November 2014th Indiana’s Governor’s Conference for Women, Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Director of Professional Enrichment, Indiana University Alumni Association and author of the book, “This is Not the Career I Ordered” shared three key things for career success – confidence, courage and failure – and wrote about this in the Huffington Post. Based on my professional experience in marketing, leadership development, executive coaching, spiritual formation and motherhood as well as the many interactions with women in various fields, these three components resonated with me and hope they will help you in your career. These three key things will also help integrate Marianne Williamson’s quote in your life and in your career. So let’s take a look at these areas.
Confidence: Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, co-authored the best selling book, The Confidence Code, where they share the research they conducted among women and compared it to men. I was particular surprised how men’s confidence was not related to their competence in doing the job whereas women’s confidence was linked to their competency in performing the job. Men will take a risk into the unknown. Women on the other hand won’t entertain another job until they believe they can do.
Does this ring true for you? It is definitely something worth considering. Maybe just being aware of this will lead you in making a different decision when a new job becomes available. Maybe you go for it even though you may not have all the qualifications listed or required. You now know there are others interviewing for positions that don’t have all the requirements and feel confident they can do it, so why would you eliminate yourself before you ever interviewed?
Courage: Having more confidence will increase your courage in taking risks. I know personally when I believe in something, I have the courage to enter unknown territory that I would not otherwise. Confidence is like a railway that gives me great focus and direction to accomplish what I would have perceived impossible and scary. Courage rises with confidence and I don’t give fear or negative thoughts the opportunity to invade or destroy a path that I know needs to be paved to make a difference. Courage becomes my driving force. It has helped me make the impossible . . . possible and the make the invisible . . . visible. That’s the power that is within all of us as women.
Failure: Caroline Dowd-Higgins talks about how women have a tendency to suffer from analysis paralysis – thinking too much and not getting in the game and doing it. The thought of failure is more powerful than the actual failure itself. The idea in your mind becomes larger and emerges as anxiety, procrastination, illness, laziness, and unnecessary business. Think about it. What are you not doing for fear of failure? How are you unconsciously avoiding doing it? Failure is the greatest teacher and need not be avoided. It will lead you to lessons that only it can teach you. It can reveal things about yourself you didn’t know. It can unveil unexpected brilliance and magnificent within yourself. I have always told my son and myself that as long as we learn something, it is never a failure but a victory to something great yet to be discovered.
Failure is the secret sauce to success, to great character, to unyielding strength and perseverance. This is a gift that brings you back to wonder, wisdom, and humility ready to stand in awe and at a threshold of a new dawn. It leads you to a new step and redirects you when you have been on the wrong path. Get in the game and get ready to fail.
In summary, Paul Williams said, “I do not know how to do this but something inside me does.” That something is confidence, courage, and embracing failure. These three things lead you to being more authentic and bringing all of yourself to the workplace. It helps you become yourself in the world. And isn’t this your greatest legacy? No one else can be you and share the gifts that have only been given to you as you. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else Is already taken.”
Women need real women showing what it means to be successful in our careers. Young women need role models to help them realize that their power is rooted in their authenticity. Showing them how to nurture and find their confidence and courage so that their failure leads to greatness. Let’s give them permission to shine brightly as they pass on this legacy to women who will follow them.