I wanted to share a little more about my experience of going on The Today Show.

After all, it’s relevant. My work is about helping women play bigger, own their brilliance, come forward with their voices and share them.

Going on The Today Show was a step toward playing bigger for me. I had not previously appeared on national television, let alone live national television, let alone live national television with a very large reach — 2 million viewers.

So here’s the honest-to-goodness funny and true tale of how I actually responded to this opportunity. I hope it will offer you something truly helpful for your own playing bigger steps.

Over the month or so leading up to my appearance, at some moments I was excited, but mostly I was scared.

There were about 150 arguments running through my head about why this whole Today Show thing was a bad idea. Here are a few:

“Your work isn’t going to translate into this format.”
“You’ve lost your passion about this topic.”
“The hosts probably aren’t going to like you, and you’ll be one of those guests that Kathie Lee and Hoda disagree with. You’ll end up looking ridiculous.”

At one point, I even tried to postpone this fabulous opportunity. I thought I had good reasons for it at the time, but looking back I can see: it was just fear.

About 48 hours before the show, I started worrying: I am going to have a “wardrobe malfunction” in the middle of the segment. On live TV. After all, I am wearing a wrap dress. What are the chances the thing won’t come undone?

What was all of this about? I was afraid. Afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone, of the unknown, of the possibility it could go badly. Afraid of sharing my voice, my work, with 2 million people – afraid of that universal, ever-persistent fear: that I would somehow not be “good enough.”

Here are three of the truths about fear & playing big that I got to learn (again) through this experience:

1. Fear shows up in a million ways.

As my friend Jen Louden recently wrote, fear doesn’t usually show up and say “Hi, I’m fear.” It shows up as seemingly well-reasoned beliefs and arguments. It also shows up as procrastination, avoidance, ambivalence. One of the most important things we need to do — if we want to speak up, share our voices — is to get very skilled at recognizing fear when it shows up. We can then use tools like these to help keep fear out of the driver’s seat of our lives.

2. Fear lies.

It just makes stuff up. The thing is, whatever fear is saying to you: it will seem true. It will seem true that you aren’t ready to give the presentation. To put up the art show. To launch the jewelry line.The best we can do is remember: “the things fear and my inner critic say are false” and to discern: could this just be fear talking?

3. You can be very afraid, and do just fine.

Many people have commented to me that my interview on the show seemed “natural,” “poised,” “calm.” Fabulous! But I want you to know, I was nervous, right up to the segment and through the segment.
I want you to know that in case you think you couldn’t do something well if you were nervous. IN case you think you are different from those people who appear calm when they are giving the speech, the presentation, the pitch. They are nervous a lot of the time too.
 
You can be very, very, very, nervous about something — freaked out with fear, really — and do just fine. You can even do marvelously.

4. What defines our lives is not finding a way to live without fear, but rather, our capacity to keep on stepping forward, even when we are afraid.

Sometimes, I think that when I get really worked up in fear about something, it means that the thing itself is not a great fit for me. But the opposite is often true: I get all wound up in fear about the things I am most passionate about, the opportunities that are best aligned with who I really am.
 
In the end, despite all that fear, I come away from the experience feeling like it was a great time, and I truly can’t wait to do it again.
 
Whatever playing bigger looks like for you:
 
Take a look at your list of reasons you aren’t doing it. Are they real, or are they fear showing up in creative costuming?
 
Remember, remember, remember: what fear says is often just not true.
 
Can you keep moving forward, in spite of feeling very afraid?
 
Love,
 
Tara

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