“I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT!!!”
Over and over. That’s what I said to my husband when I called him right after the radio show.
I’m an introvert. I’ve always been kinda shy. I had a years long standing belief that I could not speak in full sentences in front of a microphone. I’m kinda a background sort of person.
I do really like to sorta fade into the background, so being a talk show host on 680CJOB felt like a ginormously humungously ridiculous task for me to do.
I consented to co-host Dahlia Kurtz’s radio program with Dr. Syras Derksen several weeks ago. She assured me she believed I was ready to do it.
I was not so sure. In fact, I was quite sure I couldn’t do it.
However, the timing was perfect to do it…end of June, beginning of July when things are winding down but not yet in full on summer mode. I had no other commitments, and I had the time to prep. There was no good reason to say no. Except for the terror factor–which was huge. And because of my personal commitment to not saying no because of fear, I had no choice but to say, “yes”.
I could hardly imagine myself doing all the radio host things that radio hosts do. And doing it confidently and competently the way radio hosts pull it off. And having interesting conversations while one eye is on the clock and one eye is on the producer who coordinates with breaking news and one eye on my co-host and guest (yes, I only have two eyes, and thus the issue. I thought mothers multitasked, but moms got absolutely nothin’ on radio hosts!)
I felt like a one armed wall paper hanger trying to look at my prep notes, keep an eye on the Facebook page, be aware of the news bulletin, watch the clock, and be aware of the prizes, all the while trying to sound relaxed and engaged in conversation with the guests and with Dr. Syras.
There’s this thing about what us psychological folks call self-conscious affect. So the whole time I’m talking with Dr. Syras and the guest, there’s these little voices in my head that say:
- Are you really going to do this? Do you think you can? Why did you say yes?
- You sound too serious. Don’t be so grumpy sounding
- Are you nervous? Do you think people can tell?
- Well, my last comment was kinda dorky, eh? What did the audience think about that.
- Are you going to screw up and say, “CJOB680” instead of “680CJOB” like you did last time? Are you? Are you? Huh? Huh? Watch it, watch it…awwww…you did it again!! How hard can it be to get the order right (especially since you’ve got it written down right in front of you!!!
- Is it time to break yet? What if I can’t figure out how to wrap up the guest when Kyle tells me we need to go to break? Only 3 more minutes until the break…yikes, are we gonna be able to fill 3 minutes?
- Can you remember your own name? (For serious. Yes. I thought that.)
You may not have known the term “self conscious affect” until just this minute–but you get it, at a cellular level, don’t you? I am a therapist…I eavesdrop on people’s little-but-loud voices for a living–I know how it is for all of us.
I have to say, though, that there were moments when it was just cool. Like, interviewing Tim Hague, Sr. That was fantastic. My Junior Tribe Members and I had a party with a ton of people watching the Amazing Race Canada finals when he won with his son–they gave us such fun the season they were on. And here I was listening to his experiences and chatting with him. Having the other guests come on and creating conversation was a blast.
I like challenges. Actually, much more accurately, I like having had a challenge and having overcome. Co-hosting with Dr. Syras was quite a ride.
I impressed myself with my ability to do something that felt like such big audacious leap. As I was marvelling out loud on the weekend about the audacity I had to say “yes” to something that is so totally “other” from how I see myself and what I thought I was capable of, my husband gently pointed out something that I thought was wise.
He said…”Remember how you didn’t think you could do a single interview, but you did? That was the first step. Then Dahlia asked you to be a regular guest. You didn’t think you could do it every week…but you did. That was the second step. When she asked you to co-host, that was the third step. You could only do the third step because you worked your way the first two steps. It felt big, but it wasn’t impossible, because you were faithful in showing up for step one and step two. Step one and two were really really big for you at the time, but they prepped you for step three.”
He was right. And then I thought about how much bigger step three was then the first two steps.
And then I realized step three only felt that much bigger right now because that was the step I was on. Step one terrified me, and I didn’t sleep the night before. Step two, at the time, felt huge, too. I remember thinking I would commit to weekly radio until I was no longer scared…and figuring that I would then have to do it for the rest of my life.
Each time we choose to tackle something that we are intimidated by, we claim more territory to develop into a zone of competence for ourselves–we increase our capacity. And new territory that is claimed is, well…new. And new is familiar and uncomfortable and anxiety provoking–until it’s not new anymore.
Being scared and being brave at the very same time is normal when you are showing up and being seen in new territory.
New territory can be:
- an activity we’ve never done before,
- a job that’s more advanced,
- a new relationship that we are invited to
- a move to a new city, school, apartment
- taking a new course
What’s totally cool about new territory, that I discovered this week is this:
Once you conquer step three, then all of a sudden, step two (which was previously terrifying) now becomes a zone of comfort.
I noticed myself thinking this thought: “Boy, am I ever glad to be going back to being Dahlia’s regular weekly Thursday 2:30 guest.” And I realized that this previously terrifying activity had now actually become a comforting thought.
To be only a regular guest now feels like something I want to do. It’s a relief of sorts…something I never thought I would find myself thinking about talking on the radio.
This is stuff I watch and witness in the therapy room regularly with clients as they claim new space emotionally, relationally, in their career, in their own development. It’s cool to watch. Clients are brave even as they are fearful, and they move forward in ways that open their world. They enter a new arena with fear and trembling, but enter it they do.
This is stuff I’m going to have to hold onto, to remember, to remind myself of, and to trust on faith if ever a Step Four comes my way. It’s gonna seem impossible, terrifying and everything in me will want to run home. I’m gonna need to hold onto the memory of the previous steps and remind myself that although it feels like a big leap, it’s do-able.
Lordy, let Step Four take a while to come my way!! I need some recovery time!