I’m always open to meeting new people, I believe I’m a pretty openly friendly person. I always do my best to make a great first impression and most importantly be myself. I’ve become quite good at it these past few years, but I still have many flaws. The one that seems to bother me the most at the moment is that I’m always selling myself short. (No pun intended.)
I’ve recently begun to notice how much I do this on a daily basis, and it’s one of the most annoying yet hardest of habits for me to break.
It usually occurs when I’m around acquaintances whether it be at work or with friends. The question of, “What do you do?” is asked and it throws me off. I always take a long pause in that moment… I don’t know how to approach the question, let alone do it positively.
As of late, I’ve become very careful of how I answer this question. A lot of the time when I’m with friends, new acquaintances like what they hear expecting to gain some of my work perks. (Which, keep in mind I never ask of for myself.) They want to “keep in touch” in case they need me in the future, which is always said with a fake laugh.
Now when I’m asked about what I do, (unless I’m asked specifically) I try to keep the topic on what it is I do for myself.
“I’m a mediocre YouTuber, blogger, and I run my own podcast.”
Then the conversation continues to go a little something like this…
New Acquaintance: “What is your podcast (or blog) about?”
Me: “Oh you know, music stuff… Random stuff for practice. It’s basically me just ranting. No need to take it seriously or anything.”
Yeah. That’s what I say. Every single time. Along with a few more negative sentences mixed with some belittling.
I end up downplaying each project so much, making it a point that they shouldn’t check it out because it isn’t as important as it seems. Even though to me, it’s one of the most important things I got going on.
It’s sort of funny, because each time this happens it’s like an out of body experience. I know what I’m saying is wrong, but I can’t seem to stop the conversation from going that way. I don’t want to give the impression that I think so highly of myself, because I truly don’t.
I do have some sort of confidence in my projects to an extent, or else I wouldn’t share them. But here’s the thing, sharing online is completely different from talking about it in person.
When something is shared online, it’s normal for it to be ignored. Sure, each website allows me to see it’s views or what have you. I still don’t know who those views are from, who’s chosen to ignore it, and who doesn’t like it. I don’t have the opportunity to read the expression on people’s faces first hand. Other people’s opinions (on certain things) scare the hell out of me because I know I’ll allow it to crush me slowly.
Since I’m always selling myself short, it’s hard for be to believe that what I do for others is good enough as well. I have confidence in my work ethic, but I overthink knowing I can do so much better; when in reality my work shows that I’ve already gone above and beyond. I get super embarrassed when someone points it out too.
It’s happened a few times, but the moment that sticks with me the most was from a few weeks ago. While at work there was a woman within our group who introduced herself, and asked what it is I do for my boss. As I was about to answer he interjected and began with, “Irene is the best! She keeps us organized and in check..” He went on as I stood there awkwardly not knowing how to act.
To be honest with you, I thought he was lying. I legit thought, “Wow. I really do all of that?” It screwed with my head the rest of the night, and it didn’t sink in that he might’ve been telling the truth until the next day… So if I can’t handle the good words others have to say about me, how am I supposed to do that for myself?
I know that by putting my projects out there confidently there are going to be people that disagree. It’s life, everyone isn’t going to like each blog post, each video, or whatever it is. It happens, I use it as criticism to get better. The task at hand is not allowing it to have the power to stop me from continuing. Back in 2016 when I started my YouTube channel I would literally make myself sick before uploading a video, I was horrified of the reaction I would get. Now, I’ve gotten better. I upload whatever I got to an extent… I sort of developed a Kanye attitude a bit. If they like it, cool. If not, then tough luck man it’s up there already. (And you already gave it a view. Haha.)
With the slight change in mentality that I’ve gained when it comes to uploading my videos, I’m hoping to apply that to my podcast (almost there), my blog posts, and now the photos I take.
What actions am I taking to get there a bit faster? Well now, when others ask me what it is I do, I explain. I ask of them to read, listen, watch, take a look… because from what I can see, I can’t get worse. I can only improve.
I wish I could fully understand why I’m this way. I don’t know why I feel the need to share others work confidently, yet hesitate when it comes to my own. It all started from a young age, as I have countless memories of this behavior.. It’s crazy.
It’s been a life long journey of trying to change this mentality of how I view myself as a person and what I do.
I write this post in hopes that you see the negative effects of selling yourself short. The negative that comes from not speaking of yourself confidently. Basically, don’t do as I do. I’ve been doing so for so long, it’s extremely difficult to combat the only thing I know. Is that a good excuse? No, but it is what it is. I recognize it now though, so that’s progress. (Feel free to call me out on it whenever I slip up.)
In order to stop selling myself short, I recently had a custom hat made that has my website logo on it. (I’m going through a hat phase again.) This logo is what represents the “GigglesIrene” brand and is on all my projects. I want to start wearing it to shows, work, or even just when I’m out running errands to hopefully spark conversation. Practice makes perfect and if my hat sparks an opportunity to talk confidently about myself, so be it. You see? There’s a reason for my slight madness. (Plus free advertising!)
*Disclamer: This post is based off personal experience. I am not responsible for any outcome based off the advice taken from the post above.