What if they realize I’m a fraud?
I sat there as their eyes looked down on me. Ten pairs of eyes all looking directly at me. The laptops were open, the coffee was in their cups, and they were ready.
But I wasn’t. Or at least I didn’t think I was.
That’s how I felt the first time I taught my first class at SMU Law School in persuasive speaking. I had been a lawyer for five years and had tried roughly 80 jury trials at that time. I was building a real name for myself in the legal community but this was different. Now I was being trusted to teach students how to become great speakers.
It’s a skill that shockingly few lawyers possess. It’s why trial lawyers are harder and harder to find. For whatever reason people’s fear of speaking grows with each passing year and it holds true in the legal profession as well.
Now I understand why a lot of lawyers take a different path. It’s about money.
Forget what you see on television. A trial lawyer doesn’t make much money for a very long time.
But even with all of my training and experience, I still felt out of place.
Lucky for me, I’m a huge fan of reframing energy. It’s one of my core beliefs about speaking. When that energy kicks in we get to decide whether we define it as nervousness or excitement.
Tens of thousands of hours kicked in and I quickly embraced that feeling and while I didn’t feel like I belonged, I didn’t let anybody else know that.
The best part is that none of the students knew anything was wrong. They stayed engaged. They learned. They came back to class after class all semester long. So while I may have felt out of place, the truth is that I wasn’t. I was exactly where I needed to be.
My key to success was channeling this energy into excitement and realizing what an incredible opportunity stood before me. I had the ability to help other students learn a skill that changed my life and continues to take me to places I never dreamed I would reach.
And it’s not just this channeling of energy but it’s also about confidence. Confidence to believe in my ability and the experience I had built. Confidence that I could do the job and help these students.
I think every person has this thought at some point in their life. They doubt themselves. They think others will judge them.
Unfortunately, some people will judge others but those aren’t the people worth hanging around anyway.
This is why I believe so strongly in building in public. It’s one of those ideas that I would have laughed at a few years ago.
But I started embracing this idea in large part thanks to Jack Butcher. His example of providing his visual designs for free on Twitter and Instagram created extraordinary growth for his brand. He built a community and a following. All because he built in public.
Building in public gives you the ability to show others you aren’t perfect. That life is a work in progress.
It also lets you help others follow your journey but even better, start their own. Because it’s scary and sometimes people just need to see that the road is safe. Other people have walked it and will be there to help them out.
I can promise that at some point along this journey you will think to yourself, “What if they realize I’m a fraud” but that’s where all of us builders in public will step in.
To tell you, You’re not.
Reach out to me: Robbie@beondeck.com
Follow me on Twitter: @robbiecrab