Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage,
Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery,
And I promise you
Something great will come of it.
~Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee
The whole quote is too long, and it’s the second line which really speaks to me, so I’m adopting this for my mantra: sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. Even before I read this on Stephanie’s blog, I had already found that it works wonders for me to tell myself that I just have to speak up for a few seconds and then I can drop out of sight again. However, the quote brings this idea into much sharper focus.
Last week, I attended a writing workshop. The first evening, all fifty students and five teachers sat in a circle. Guess what? We not only had to introduce ourselves, but we had to say the first name of every person who came before us! As luck would have it, I sat three spots from the end of this conga line, so I had to remember and say fifty-two names out loud, plus something about myself. On top of that, as I listened as carefully as I could to everyone else, I was dreading my turn and wondering what to say to get through it as quickly as possible.
The room was friendly. A few people had trouble and those sitting near them helped them. I told myself that I just had to speak up for a short time, and I could do it. When my turn came, I managed to speak loudly and actually said more than I had ever expected about myself. I even remembered all of the names I had been reciting over and over, and poked fun at my own fear. It turned into a wonderful experience as the week went on, since I often knew their names and they didn’t know mine. I realized that, once their turn was over, they were so relieved that they stopped paying attention. I had been in one of the best spots, instead of the worst. That 20 seconds of embarrassed bravery served me well!
I tried this idea out a few times during the workshop, when I had to share. It works! The quote solidifies the idea. Just take a deep breath, say it to yourself, and get through whatever you need to do. You might turn bright red, but it’s okay. Everyone else gets nervous, too.