Monday, March 26, 2007

On Being Amazing

Via Kottke, I read this article today. It's an interesting topic, of course, because regardless of who you are, it's about you. (Or me, as the case may be.) I liked this part a lot:

Sometimes, the most unlikely people lack the confidence trick. The formidable Beatrice Webb said: 'If I ever felt inclined to be timid as I was going into a room full of people, I would say to myself, "You're the cleverest member of one of the cleverest families in the cleverest class in the cleverest nation in the world; why should you be frightened?"' Try this, I recommend it.

I've actually done something similar for many years. I come across as outgoing, but inside I'm always quaking in terror of other people. I'm not quite sure why, as I'm not overly fond of other people, but there it is.

At any rate, while I was working for Bill Bradley's presidential campaign, I was frequently called upon to go into rooms full to the brim of people I didn't know and talk him up, spreading the Good Word. The first time I had to do this, I felt the waves of nervousness spreading over me, chilling my hands and making my teeth chatter. I paced up and down the main hall of the Biltmore Hotel, outside of the room I was supposed to be in, trying to figure out how I was going to face my fear.

As I was pacing, I started a silent conversation, trying to persuade myself that I was just as smart, charming, and knowledgeable as anyone at that event, when suddenly I thought, "I am an amazing woman, and people want to talk to me." Ever since then, this has been my stress mantra. It doesn't always make me feel better, exactly, but it always gets my ass inside the room I need to be in.

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