by Nicole Stottlemyer
“Are you choosing to opt out… or are you bringing it?” Karissa Thacker asks in her blog post, “Bringing It.”
Karissa is a faculty member for Wholebeing Institute, an author, and a management psychologist who has served as a consultant for 200 Fortune 500 companies. “Opting out looks like choosing not to speak up, not to think too hard, not to ask hard questions,” she writes.
I flash back to a moment during a recent CiPP Tour where I was saddled with this choice.
Someone in the group was talking about a concept I hadn’t heard of before. Should I ask about it, or keep quiet and save face? If I opt out, then I’m saved the embarrassment of not knowing. After all, I want my colleagues to think I’m smart!
“Lots of really nice and talented people opt out everyday,” Karissa writes.
And I totally understand why. Because, even though this is a trivial dilemma, since I could have Googled it later and no one would be the wiser, in the moment I felt a ton of stress.
And, while writing this, I realized why I was so stressed.
In CiPP, we create sentences that describe the version of ourselves that is our best version; we call these our “best-self statements.” Over time, we revise our best-self statements as we grow and our awareness grows. One of my best-self statements is, “I let go of being perfect.” And I realize now that, by not speaking up, I was not acting from my best self—because I was afraid I would be seen as imperfect.
Karissa goes on: “In contrast, other people choose to ‘bring it’ every day. The ‘bring it’ crowd is choosing to be themselves fully.”
Ironically, choosing to be myself fully is another of my best-self statements: “I am authentic.” Which, by the way, Karissa has a lot to say about, having just published The Art of Authenticity, in which she shares her expert guidance on becoming an authentic leader, based on validated psychological research and artful application of psychological principles to actual business situations.
Milliseconds ticked by as I contemplated whether or not to speak up.
I took a deep breath and Tal Ben-Shahar’s words came to me: “Courage is not about not having fear. It’s about having fear and going ahead anyway.”
And with that, I made my decision.
I summoned my courage and opened my mouth and BROUGHT IT!
And ya know what? It wasn’t nearly as hard, or scary, or uncomfortable as I had feared. In fact, it went pretty well. No one threw tomatoes, and I got to learn what “witness consciousness” is!
This is such a poignant topic, as many of us love the idea of being more authentic, but don’t know how to navigate the fear that “bringing it” brings. So let me share with you my newest version of my best-self statements, which will help me remember:
I am authentic.
Even when it is scary, I bring it.
Even when it is uncomfortable, I bring it.
Even when it is not perfect, I bring it.
Authenticity frees me up to not have to hide when I don’t know something. Because, although it is challenging at times to live from my best self, it is totally worth it.
My favorite positive psychology quote right now is one from the late, great Christopher Peterson: “Positive psychology is not a spectator sport.” We learn this good stuff not by sitting in the bleachers or reading about it in books. We learn by embodying it, by feeling the fear, and by bringing it anyway.
What are you ready to bring?
Nicole Stottlemyer is a coach, facilitator, and senior teaching assistant with Wholebeing Institute, and holds Wholebeing certificates in Positive Psychology and Positive Psychology Coaching. nicoletalks.com