I would like to share what Sunday morning looks like to me. I wake early before the sun and I head into the kitchen. I move slowly, tired but yet, I’m awake.
I go over to my trusty friend the coffee machine. I proceed to the cabinet where I fetch my cup and place the cup beneath the little spout, which is where the coffee gods deliver their nectar.
I push a little blue light, which creates a quick electrical sound that follows with the dribble of water falling into the echo of my empty coffee cup.
I like this sound by the way. I love the smell of my coffee being brewed.
The inside of my home is still dark and the sun has yet to show itself. I wait until the coffee gods finish their trick, which I can hear as it happens because my coffee machine lets out the sound of a short gasp, as if to say, “Ahhh,” when it’s done.
Next, I head up to my loft. This is where I come every morning and so far, this routine is the same as any other day. However, Sundays are different. After I sip a few sips and listen to something inspirational to gain some motivation, I look out my loft’s window to check on the sun. I type my thoughts for about an hour or so and send it out to the social world, which feels anonymous to me for some reason. Not sure why. I know my thoughts are made public but it doesn’t seem this way to me. In my loft, it’s just us, me you and my thoughts. No one else comes up here.
I click upon the icon in the top right hand corner of the screen that reads “Publish,” and then just like that, my thoughts and sentiment are free to be wherever they choose.
After this, I put on a pair of black scrubs for pants and my black “Be First Life Coaching” t-shirt. I gulp down the last of my coffee, head out the door, and into the car.
My drive is mostly quick. I have about 25 minutes before I reach my destination.
Now, if you had told me years back that I would be heading to a jail on a weekly basis, I’d have said you were out of your mind . . .
But dig it—
I get in the car and do a quick video on social media. I discuss whatever my topic might be for the day and then I allow myself a minute or two to prepare for my empowerment class.
I pull into the parking lot of a North New Jersey County Jail, step out of the car, and then I head in.
I will leave out the description of the jail itself because I honor the rights of jail’s privacy; however, when I come through the doors and head over to the visiting desk, I produce my driver’s license so the guard can check me in.
I place my things in a locker and go in with nothing on me.
Now, here’s the part that always gives me the chills. I stand at a gate that opens automatically. I walk through the first gate, which opens loudly with the electrical sound that is not as inviting as my trusty coffee machine.
Then the door closes while making the same noise until it slams shut, which to me, sounds like a frightening exclamation point.
I hate that sound. I really do.
I go through another door that makes the same sound and walk through a hallway down towards another door (Same sound) and then through another, which is where I hold my group.
Let me back up for a minute. Somewhere during my drive, the panic comes in. Keep in mind. I live with social anxiety. I have fears of public speaking, but yet, here I am, heading in as a speaker.
What are my fears?
Well, let’s see. I have fears that I will be publicly humiliated. I have fears of rejection. I have fears that my group will not go well; therefore, I have performance anxiety; therefore, I feel my stutter come in because of the anticipation of what to say next.
I do not stutter, mind you; however, there is something which I call an emotional stutter that freezes me sometimes or causes me to act out in ways to protect myself.
I have this little voice that tells me to quit, which in fairness; the voice is not really so little. This is all on top of my fear that I will get into my group, finish the group, and as I go to leave, men in suits with badges will come my way, stop me, explain why they can’t let me leave, which again, feeds into my fears of public humiliation.
Go in as a speaker and end up as an inmate.
All of the above are irrational thoughts. But yet somehow, good or bad, like me or not, no matter how much fear I have I still deliver.
It was suggested to me that my fears are not real.
I agreed with this.
Most fears are not real.
The person explaining this told me, “No, you misunderstood me.”
They explained if I really had those fears, I would never make it in the driveway, let along walk through the front door and through the checkpoints. The person suggested that fears like this are too debilitating to make it through.
I might have agreed with this at one point in my life. But not anymore.
I used to feel like a slave to all my fears and insecurities. I swear, there was a war room in my head, like a huge conference table with all the heads of state were present and accounted for, panicking and freaking out about an upcoming attack and considering making a preemptive one . . . just in case.
There as a time when I would have talked myself out of this long before anything. I might have wanted to try this before. I might have wanted to create programs before. But I never tried in fear of all the above.
My insecurities are as follows:
I am uncomfortable about the sound of my voice. I am uncomfortable with how I look and how my body moves. I am uncomfortable with my ability to deliver an impactful message. I’m afraid I’ll be laughed at, or worse, I’m afraid they won’t like me invite me back. I lack confidence in my ability. I beat myself up. Seriously, it’s a whole thing if you know what I mean.
But yet, I have all these fears that literally scream at me the entire time, and yet, I perform to the best of my ability.
I have my own podcast. I am beginning to do corporate motivational events as well as classroom and college visits.
I push myself, that’s how.
I give myself permission to be afraid. I allow this. I want them to know who I am. I want them to see how painfully uncomfortable I am because this makes me real. This makes it okay to be me. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to have insecurities. Our feelings are more common and relatable than we realize.
The hardest part of any presentation is before I start. The thoughts twirl around in my head, but once I start, I let go. I open up and let them the room me.
After the class is over and I say my goodbyes, I walk the corridors the same way I came in. I get to my car, and sometimes, I break down.
I can’t explain why.
I just do.
Perhaps I break down because I defied the lies in my head. Maybe I break down because I pulled it off.
Maybe I start crying because the truth is I am capable.
The sad part about this is I’ve always been capable.
It was only me that held me back.
Know what I mean?