Believing in yourself enough to fail

Last week I stepped out of my comfort zone and applied to be a speaker at a large, well respected, national conference. It takes place this fall in Brooklyn for mama entrepreneurs.  A total dream for me.  Brooklyn, working mamas, connection, women empowerment.  Uhm, yes, please. The perfect package.

This conference would be my first-time public speaking at a national platform like this, and kind of gutsy of me for even applying.  I mean, I don’t know who I thought I was. 

But as I wrote out my pitch, the more I wrote it, the more I believed every word.  And not just the story or my idea  – but even more, I totally believed in me.  Like I  could really do this.  And do it well. I actually thought I’d kind of kill it.  It felt so natural. Like maybe this is what I’ve been working for.

This is what I was called to do.  To share this story, with these women, on this stage. 

I pitched an idea I’m really passionate about.  It was a really good idea.  No, a great idea. I could feel it as I was writing it.  This is what every working mama needed to hear.  I could picture myself up on that stage.  What I’d wear and how I’d present.  I could picture the whole thing.   It was gonna be great.  I could feel it.   

And you guys….I didn’t get it.  

I was told that if I didn’t hear back from them by Friday to assume you “weren’t selected”.  And as Friday came and went, I refreshed my inbox obsessively every few minutes.  Like a crazy person.  It must have gone to my spam folder. Refresh. Refresh. Nothing.  Complete radio silence.     

It totally sucked. And you better believe I let myself have a good ugly cry.  Rejection stinks.  Even at 41, it doesn’t get any easier.  Finding out your idea wasn’t “liked” or you weren’t “good enough” stinks. I knew it was a long shot, but I still kind of thought I had it.  I was all, “I know this is a long shot, but my pitch is just that good that they have to give me shot….how could they not?”

Well, they didn’t. 

They didn’t love my story.  They didn’t love my pitch.  And they didn’t love me. 

But….. I still do.

I still love my idea, even if it wasn’t selected.  It’s a really good idea – and I’m going to keep pitching it.  

I’m sharing this with you today not because I’m all about finding the silver lining behind rejection (I’m not that altruistic. Let’s not get all “I’m so happy I wasn’t picked”. Yeah, no.).  

But, you guys, here’s the thing I did learn….

One. I want this.  And that feels pretty awesome.  To have a goal you feel deeply passionate about is such a cool feeling and one I’m not taking for granted.   The worst feeling in the world is to go around unsure as to what you want. That feeling of idling in life is an awful feeling.  We all need things to work towards. Reasons to get out of bed.

And two. I can do this.  And not because someone told me I could.  But rather because I told myself I could.  I decided I could do it the moment I wrote that pitch.  I believed it – with every ounce of me that I was 100% capable and qualified.  

Regardless of whether or not my submission was selected, I decided at that moment I was just as qualified as any of the speakers who were applying. 

Because no one is going to start believing in me until I do.  

It starts there.  With us not looking to others for validation, but rather pursuing what we want boldly and confidently.  KNOWING our own worth.  KNOWING what we bring the table.

Regardless of education, experience, job title, credentials.

For so long I had let my self worth or credibility lie in the hands of other people.  I let the lack of a title or degree or experience confine me.  When in fact what MAKES me qualified, in this case, to stand on that stage, is none of those things – rather me wholeheartedly and authentically believing in me and believing in my story.

Today, I wasn’t selected.  Today I didn’t get that “yes”.  And that’s ok.  

This September you better believe my butt will be in a seat, listening to those speakers, cheering them on and fine-tuning my pitch.  Until next year.  When it’s my turn.  

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