What happens when we hold back?

I know for me, I feel like I have not given my full effort. It may be a project I am working on, it may be making dinner or it may be my contribution in an office meeting.

I know for the office environment, particularly in meetings, I may hold back out of fear. That fear may be that I will be misunderstood and appear stupid. It may be I have fear around being the most junior in the room and I will not be taken seriously. I may have fear around an aspect of diversity that has me stand-out; it may be that I am a woman, it may be my ethnicity, my age or tenure at the company.

What I do know is that when I’m holding myself back; I’m not in a place of authenticity. I am not being true to myself if I feel I am unable to contribute in a manner I am able to. I need to find ways to align with my inner Self.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this spot?

First acknowledge that this is the case and ask yourself what you can do in your current situation. If you are going to go into a meeting with a new idea; you may want to discuss it with a few of the attendees ahead of time. I have found this particularly useful since I can get an idea of the questions I will get and will know whether or not there is support when the topic is discussed.

Another point is to ensure you are prepared; nothing strikes fear into me more than not preparing as much as I know I should. This does not mean putting endless hours into preparing for a one hour meeting; it means knowing enough of the topic at hand to contribute.

Another helpful strategy is to discuss your feelings with someone in confidence. There is a saying that a problem shared is half a problem. Often times, who you share your concerns with will have similar stories to share and if they are familiar with the people in the meeting they can give you some insight to personalities and maybe even some suggestions.

But, you may find that there is nothing you can do but adapt to the situation. What I find helpful is to show up at a meeting a few minutes early and engage in small talk. This helps me to ease some of my nerves and settle in.

As with anything unsettling, it does get easier over time; the key is to not allow your uncertainty and fear to hold you back from contributing.

Author's Bio: 

Debbi Dickinson is a professional woman who understands the challenges of balancing work, home, love and carving time out for you. Her website is filled with blogs, articles and newsletters written specifically for women. To gain access to a free gift designed exclusively for professional women, visit her website at: http://www.steppingintojoy.com