I'm in Palo Alto this weekend for a conference on the intersection of technology, psychology, and neuroscience. Three topics that are very close to me and the work I want to do in this world. But as the attendee list came out and I scanned the titles and descriptions of the guests I felt an all too familiar feeling.
I started to think, 'Damn. These people are doing really big things. Important things. They know so much more than I do.' Then I mentally rehearsed myself standing at the cocktail hour or outside a session room nodding my head and listening intently as they spoke.
This behavior goes all the way back to the beginning of my tech days. I had just moved to NYC after college and was constantly making the rounds to as many tech events I could get my hands on. I'd show up though, be one of the few females in the room, and immediately make it known that I was a designer who knows very little about tech. That insecurity was only compounded by the constant message that I'd never make it in tech without a coding background or a CTO, and at some level, I believed it. After the events though, I'd go home and work on @quotifulapp learning about mobile development on my own. Then someone told me about a weekend-long course at Columbia, called TechSpeak, designed for entrepreneurs to learn how to work with developers on their ideas. After the first 9 hour day, I realized I'd wasted my money. The information was invaluable, but I had learned most of it the hard way (or maybe the memorable way), I'd learned it by doing it. It took hundreds of dollars and a missed sunny Saturday to realize I know more than I think I do.
Refocusing my career path towards psychology and neuroscience has brought up a lot of those insecurities all over again. I constantly catch myself thinking I don’t have a degree in any of those areas and preface most of my conversations with, “I’m sure you know more about this than I do but…”
To finish that sentence, “…I’m done asking for permission.” I’m giving myself permission to speak without feeling stupid, uninformed, or less. Because I know how much I don’t know, but I also do know something. And that’s enough to get started.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.