Charles Crawford’s brilliant and insightful book, Speeches for Leaders: Leave Audiences Wanting More, features Emma Watson’s 2014 United Nations speech, raising a crucial issue for us all. She said:
You might be thinking, “Who is this Harry Potter girl, and what is she doing speaking at the U.N.?” And it’s a really good question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing…
In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you, I hope these words will be helpful.
Are they? I personally find them affirming. One could add: “Why not me? Why not now?” Overcoming self-doubt for the sake of a larger cause is a powerful thing. When I was performing internationally it often helped me to remind myself, “This is not about you, Sal. It’s about the music.” Removing ourselves as the protagonist in a situation removes our (sometimes crippling) self-importance, and with it the accompanying fears and doubts.
But asking ourselves: “Why not me? Why not now?”, we have the additional opportunity to question our self-doubt and perceptions of unworthiness in a way which might just lead to their disempowerment. When we pose those two questions, responses like these might come to mind:
I’m not ready.
I’m not enough (experienced, intelligent, beautiful, good, funny…).
It’s not the right time…
Sometimes there are truly valid reasons for our stalling! But 99% of the time it’s simply self-doubt and ego fabricating obstacles. There’s no truth in it. More often than not, the above statements are merely perceptions, conveniently providing us with a way of avoiding possible future discomfort. If not me, who? If not now, when? Why not me? Why not now?
Can we hear the ruminations and wanderings of the ego and mind as it makes every attempt to keep us ‘comfortable’, without identifying with it? It’s not the truth. It’s just a thought.
Who am I not to step up?
Who am I not to rise above the lies that doubt engenders?
Who am I not to step forward in this life and shine?
Or can you imagine entirely disempowering and silencing doubt? Can you allow for the possibility? A client said:
The voice of the past that doubted my ability, my potential and the decisions I made is now silent. The voice I hear more often now says ‘I can do that’ and ‘throw me something harder’.
I can do that. Throw me something harder…
Why not me? Why not now?