Recently I went to a talk given by a well-known (and awesome) Charlotte-based chef named Chef Alyssa. If you’re in Charlotte, you should check her out and say hi to her on social media. (Sidenote: If you want to hear Chef Alyssa’s full talk, check it out here. It’s super interesting, regardless of whether you live in Charlotte or not.) Alyssa told a lot of really cool stories about her experiences in the kitchen and as a business owner, but there was something especially compelling about her talk that I wasn’t expecting: she admitted that she was nervous to be giving it.
“I made these notecards and I’m probably going to be referencing them a lot, so bear with me,” she laughed as 100 pairs of eyes sat staring at her, waiting for her next sentence.
I can’t even imagine how intimidating that must have been, and hearing her admit nervousness was really comforting to me. See, there’s something about a person acknowledging that they’re vulnerable that is refreshing. A lot of times I’ll look at other people and they seem impossibly put together.
“They’re so great at adulting,” I’ll think to myself. “What am I doing wrong?” To hear someone else admit that they, too, experience nerves and insecurities makes me realize that we’re all in this together.
When I was at that conference in Nashville that I wrote about, surrounded by powerful women who have managed hundreds of people and started companies, one of the presenters made a really interesting point. She explained that we often beat ourselves up when we’re unsure about a decision or don’t know the answer to a question. “Well you know what? Even the President fakes it,” she declared.
She meant that even the most confident, powerful, and flawless (yes, I’m talking mostly about Beyonce but President Obama is applicable in this situation too) people end up in situations where they’re not totally sure what’s happening. We’re all humans and we’re experiencing new things all the time. The only thing we can do, no matter how much money or fame or success we have, is to try our best and fake it ’til we make it.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have no clue what’s going on, it’s fine. Other people probably feel the same way. Just gather as much information as you can and make a decision that seems wise based on the facts you have available to you. And know that you’re not the only person who often feels utterly unprepared to be a real, live adult. Just smile, sweat through it, and no one will ever know.