Pull Up Your Big-kid Underpants! (And Keep Them Up)
Each month, I feature one of my top-ten core values. This is the second: Put on Your Big-Kid Underpants.
You finally got it! You landed the job or assignment you’ve been waiting for!
But instead of jumping for joy, your stomach is doing somersaults. It’s Day One, and you already realize how much you don’t know. Your colleagues use lingo you don’t recognize. And to top it off, you just made a big mistake on a simple task.
Your panic rises! Your big-girl panties or big-boy boxers hit the ground — just when you need them most. You’re frozen. You’re unsure if you can even pull them back up.
I’m here to tell you: You can pull them back up! And you must, if you’re going to become the person you want to be.
That’s why stepping up and facing your fears (aka, putting on your big-kid underpants!) is the second core value in my personal top ten!
Get your copy of my free worksheet. It features this month’s core value, Put on Your Big-Kid Underpants. Expect a new worksheet every month.
Last month, we talked about how important it is to believe in yourself. Once you believe in yourself and who you are, you accept life will never be perfect. There’ll always be speed bumps. And road blocks. And occasionally, roads right to the edge of a cliff!
You may feel thrown into situations and think you’re not ready. That’s when you feel most vulnerable. Your fear of rejection, failure or confrontation may be so numbing you do nothing.
Or you avoid, hoping it will all go away.
“Fear is a normal, rational human emotion that most of us experience at various times throughout our lives.” – Don Mann, Navy Seal and author
Believing in yourself — and in what you believe — steadies you in times of turmoil.
When you step up and look your fears in the eye, you add another layer of stability. You prevent yourself from sabotaging your growth. You head off falling victim to your fears.
Related: Conquer Your Fear
If you follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed a theme: When you’re ready to change something or face something, it usually doesn’t feel good. When you’re faced with a situation that requires you to step up and take responsibility, it can be scary. You have to accept that failure is part of the human experience. That you’re not perfect.
And you have to accept standing up for yourself or others in ways that make people unhappy or uncomfortable. Confrontation in life is unavoidable. In fact, dealing with conflict is one of the best ways for you to grow as an individual!
“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma
Let’s look at some ways you can pull your big-kid underpants up. And keep them there!
Power Challenge 1: Stand Up For Yourself
Imagine you’re sitting in a chair. You decide you want to get up and move. What do you do? You engage your muscles and stand up.
No one can do that for you. Sure, they could give you a hand and help with the lift. They could even pull you up and out of the chair if they’re really strong.
But even then — once you’re up — you still have to use your own two feet to stand in place without falling down.
Let’s talk about standing up for yourself in another way. Like when you speak up for yourself. Ask for what you need. Share what’s not right and needs to be changed.
Suddenly this effort seems harder than getting up out of a chair! Why is that?
Fears may surface. Fear of angering someone. Disappointing them. Rocking the boat. Maybe even fear of rejection.
Those fears are so strong, we try to find a roundabout way to get our message across. We get someone else to say it. We hint. We might act passive-aggressively. Or maybe we tell ourselves, “Just forget it, it’s not worth it.”
Related: “I’m Sorry” is Not a Mantra!
If you have your own dreams, visions and goals, and they’re important to you … guess what? You’ll have to face those fears. Courageously put on your big-girl panties or big-boy boxers.
Because just like getting up from a chair and standing on your own, no one can achieve your dreams for you.
So, how do you do this?
Start small. Speak up here and there. Slowly build up your ability to mobilize yourself. And to stand strong in the face of consequences.
When you stand up for yourself and your beliefs, there may be consequences. Don’t be surprised if people get upset with you.
With your big-kid underpants on, you can deal with other people getting upset. You know they’ll have feelings or opinions as you stand up for yourself in your life. And that’s okay. They get to feel whatever they feel.
Power Challenge 2: Deliver Bad News Yourself
No one likes bad news. Not hearing it. Definitely not delivering it! But bad news is just a part of life. Things happen. Plans derail. Projects go awry. Disappointments occur. The list goes on!
Whether you’re a leader of other people, or a leader of you, take ownership for delivering your own bad news. And that means in the workplace and in your personal life.
Often, we avoid taking ownership. How? Well, sometimes we …
- Beat around the bush without really saying the actual bad news.
- Try to soften the bad news by “covering up” how bad it actually is.
- Get someone else to say it for you.
- Don’t say it at all … just hope the whole thing blows over.
These are not good strategies!
Related: Ignoring Issues is Not Management
So, again, pull yourself up. Get ready to do what you have to do. I suggest you:
- Take a moment to write out what you need to say. Write several versions if needed.
- Remind yourself you are not responsible for other people’s feelings and reactions. Don’t take on the burden of their response. Allow them the grace to manage themselves.
- Say what you have to say. Be kind and clear.
- Be available for questions. Give people room to feel however they feel.
- Provide whatever support is appropriate for your role.
As with all Power Challenges, practice! And practice some more! And congratulate yourself with each effort you make.
Power Challenge 3: Don’t Empower Your “ICKs”
We all have internal noise. Thoughts or beliefs about what we can’t do. I call them “ICKs.” That stands for “I Can’t, Kuz …”
It goes like this:
I can’t speak up, kuz I’m afraid I’ll say it wrong.
I can’t ask for what I need, kuz I’m afraid I’ll get fired (or rejected or shunned).
I can’t deliver that bad news, kuz I don’t want to make someone cry and feel sad.
ICKs take on real power when we believe them. When we think they’re true.
When we give ICKs power, we avoid taking action. Actions that would align with ourselves, our values and our goals.
So, acknowledge your ICKs to yourself. It’s okay and normal to have them. But now take the next step.
The next step is:
Accept the possibility of failure, rejection, and other unpleasant consequences.
That’s right! Accept that you will fail sometimes. Be rejected sometimes. Make other people uncomfortable or upset sometimes.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
Here’s where your big-girl panties or big-boy boxers come into play. You have to know you will survive whatever happens! For example:
- You failed. OK, big deal. The world didn’t end. Get up and try again.
- Someone rejected you. That hurt. But is this someone you really want or need in your life anyway?
- Someone got upset with you. That could be unpleasant. But you can tolerate it.
Your ICKs are always going to be lurking around in your internal landscape. Just don’t let them “run” you!
You’ve Got This
To become the person you want to be means taking chances. That means believing in yourself enough to know “you’ve got this” — no matter what “this” may be.
Related: The Beautiful Habit of Inspiration
When you trust yourself to manage whatever life throws your way, it becomes easier to stand up for yourself and take charge of a situation and your reaction to it.
The possibility of failure, rejection or conflict no longer paralyzes you. The temptation to run and hide becomes a thing of the past. Score 1 for Team YOU!
Looking for a motivational speaker for your next event? Carla energizes and inspires attendees to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.