Show Up and Don’t Take Yourself Out of the Game!

DQHave you ever decided not to apply for something (promotion, job, speaking slot, grant, etc.) because YOU decided you weren’t _____ enough (qualified, smart, funny, deserving, pretty, etc.)? Did you take yourself out of the game before even getting up to bat?

I see this all of the time and it’s really disappointing. We all know amazing people that have a great shot at being selected for something, but they eliminate themselves before the competition starts. They don’t raise their hand to even be considered. As a result, people are denying themselves potential opportunities to be a part of extraordinary things and missing out.

Prior to the event I attended in Costa Rica last month, the event organizers sent out several invitations for participants to apply for some limited speaking slots and breakout sessions. This was a chance to share the stage with global speakers like Vishen Lakhiani, Lisa Nichols, and Noah St. John.

In the evening before the event, I was at a reception with several up-and-coming speakers. When I asked some of them what speaker topics they submitted to this event, I was surprised by the responses. Several people stated that they thought about applying, but didn’t because they felt they wouldn’t get picked.

Really? I applied once to lead a breakout session and again to give a 20 minute motivational talk. While I wasn’t selected for either (which initially bummed me out), I was glad that I tried. Yes I was disappointed, but the experience taught me how to better prepare my submission for the next event scheduled for Greece in May 2016.  Had I not submitted at all, I’d have to learn this lesson months later instead of now.

I also see self-elimination when I talk with people looking for jobs. They find the most amazing companies and ideal roles, but because they didn’t feel they have all of the qualifications listed in the job description, they decide not to apply at all. (Hint: most hiring managers list everything they want in the ideal job candidate, but are willing to bend a bit if someone is a very close fit.) But since they never apply, they never get the job they really want and therefore stay stuck in their current job or unemployed. It’s sad.

In each of these cases, people eliminated themselves first. They didn’t wait for someone else to even consider them. They just checked out. The impact to self-elimination is huge! It prevents all of us from playing big – getting a better job, seizing a great opportunity to share our message on stage, or forgoing a chance for major happiness.

I must admit that I did this myself last month. I was searching the web for speaking opportunities and landed on a site for a pretty large marketing conference that had over 14,000 attendees last year. I scrolled down and saw a list of past speakers – Brene Brown, Seth Godin, Chelsea Clinton, and more. I immediately decided that I was way out of my league with this conference and self-eliminated. I let me inner doubter take over and didn’t apply.

Just this week, my speaker’s agent sent me an email about this same conference and suggested that I apply.   I started crafting an email to her stating that I already considered this conference earlier but decided against applying. Then, I caught myself! Of course I need to apply – this would be a huge opportunity to provide value to the attendees who need marketing help. I can’t serve them if I don’t even apply. I have to at least get up to the plate and see what happens. I could strike out, or hit a home run. But neither will happen if I don’t play.

I deleted the email to my speaker’s agent. Instead, I registered to be contacted as soon as the call for speakers opens up for 2016. Now, I just have to create an amazing topic of value to submit and see how it goes. I’m in the game!

This week, I encourage you to get off the sidelines and into a game you have been avoiding for some time. Not only will it feel empowering, you just may end up with something you really wanted but were afraid to go after! Drop me a note to brag about a win. I’d love to hear what you did and share in your celebration!

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Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.