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July’s newsletters have been about shame or embarrassment, and the fear that stems from these emotions. That fear stops us in our tracks. We become too afraid to even try.

Have you ever heard this statement? “Everyone has a complaint about management but, nobody wants to make an actual complaint.”

How many times have we spoken with colleagues about work-related complaints? How many lunch conversations have been about issues we would like for management to address? But, when we come face to face with the boss, we go on silent mode.

We also transform into the quiet type when coming across foreigners.

I might say the wrong thing. It would be embarrassing.

How can we overcome this? Here are a few of my realizations over the years.

Treat everyone as a human being.

We’re all the same. Regardless of race, occupation, religion, social status, or zip code, we are all human beings with the same bodily functions. Stop being too shy to interact with a foreigner just because he’s tall, white, and speaks English. We’re all human.

Project a positive outcome.

Because we’re human, we often think of what ifs and mights. But, if we’re going to think ahead, let’s focus on the positive. I might be thinking of something good here. Better say it out loud. It might help.

Go beyond your comfort zone.

If saying something out loud or sharing your ideas with your boss or colleagues makes you uncomfortable, do it. This is one of the ways you can grow as a professional and as a person.

Adopt this formula in your life: E + R = O.

Event (E) + Response (R) = Outcome (O)

Scenario #1: Meeting (E) + You keep quiet because you’re embarrassed to say the wrong thing (R) = You will be ignored (O)

As the saying goes: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Scenario #2: Meeting (E) + You gather the courage to share your ideas (R) = You’re wrong (O)

Does this lessen you as a person? Definitely not. In fact, you have gained experience and the opportunity to grow.

Scenario #3: Meeting (E) + You gather the courage to share your ideas (R) = You’re right (O)

The things you gain in this scenario because of your response greatly outweigh your fear.

Lay the groundwork.

You might be embarrassed or afraid to participate and share ideas because you’re not prepared enough. Do your research. Work hard to prove yourself. Equip yourself to be ready during meetings. This will significantly eliminate your fear. In fact, you might even be excited to share with everyone the results of your hard work.

And, if you are wrong or rejected, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of people have been wrong, have been turned down, and have failed. I’m sure they also felt ashamed or embarrassed. The question is… did they give up?

People who’ve succeeded didn’t stop trying or doing just because they’ve once failed or felt embarrassed.

So, the more important question is, will you?

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