I’ll never forget the day in high school band class when my teacher asked us to each play a certain part of the song for our semester evaluation. My friend and I were not ready, neither he nor I had practiced our parts on our saxophone. He was telling me, “I just don’t think I’m ready.” And I said, “Don’t worry, just play with confidence. Our teacher will never know.”
Until of course, said teacher was standing right behind me as I said that and said, “Dominique, I’m right behind you and confidence helps but so does practice.”
I was so embarrassed. Clearly I wasn’t ready for the saxophone solo that day, but I sure had the gumption to give it a try.
And I don’t know about you, but I feel like that innate confidence can help in a lot of situations. That mentality of “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I can pull this off” has saved me more than a time or two and helped me learn a few things along the way.
Since 2012, I’ve been training teachers and students on how to use Google products and technology in their classrooms. I know that in the beginning I was very “green” in so many ways.....especially all the work I was doing in Spanish. I literally cringe about my first paid gig in 2013 when I was hired to do a 6 hour workshop in Spanish and literally pronounced Google - Goo-glay, thinking that’s how I should say it in Spanish. And maybe some people do prefer pronouncing it that way, but I quickly realized a brand could be said the way it was made to be said.
But that 6 hour workshop and saying “Yes” to so many things that I probably wasn’t 100% ready for were the catalyst for my career. When you open a door and walk through it, so many other doors open along the way. Which doors have you opened by simply trying something new, even if you weren’t ready for it?
Fast forward to 2016 and getting offered a job at Google Mexico....after 4 years of hard work, making a fool of myself at times and saying yes to so many opportunities a door opened that I had only dreamed of in the past.
Yet, I think it’s important to note failures and other attempts along the way as well. In 2014 I applied for a job at Google and got to the second round of interviews and they said “No, you aren’t quite ready.” Or in 2013, when I first applied to the Google Teacher Academy and got turned down.
And applying for a second time for the Google Teacher Academy in 2014 and how getting accepted opened so many doors. Paying for that trip to Mountain View completely out of my own pocket and opening that door without the support of my school was a huge step for me, but I knew it was taking me in the direction I wanted to go.
I turned down that job offer at Google in 2016, because I was then offered even a better opportunity at the time to work for a US company that hired me to travel and train teachers all over North and South America while writing online courses, working with authors and growing in confidence with my own skills keynoting on stages and leading large events.
All this to say that along with the open doors, there have been doors that have closed, such as getting let go from that US company along with 20 other colleagues in 2019.
Following that disappointing surprise in my story, I was given a new chance to work solely in Spanish for a year training teachers, stepping on stages at large events, creating videos in Spanish for educators around the world. All of a sudden, I was doing keynotes on Google Meet or Streamyard in my second language for over 1000 people at a time.
There have been so many times over the last 8 years of this career with technology and training teachers that I didn’t feel “ready” or didn’t quite know if I was up to the challenge, but that small voice in the back of my head kept whispering, “Just do it with confidence”.
And there have been times that I know I could have done better, but I think so much of life is getting out there, taking risks and giving it a try.
You’ll never know if you’re ready if you’re not actually getting out there and trying. Each time we take a risk, speak up, and try something new, we’re gaining new skills and new confidence in ourselves.
Over the weekend I shared a photo on Social Media and shared that I feel like such an imposter to this day when I get on a stage, albeit Zoom these days and speak in Spanish.
That photo was right before I did a dual-keynote with someone I’ve never met in real-life. We were keynoting a digital conference for sports coaches and PE teachers. And though I was super nervous before we started and had to take a few deep breaths, I knew it was going to be alright thanks to so many baby steps along the way and so many times saying “Yes” even when I’m nervous and scared have shown me that I can do hard things.
We all can. So whatever you’re thinking about, wanting to try, or that goal you’re chasing that seems so far away from where your life is today....just start taking those steps. Start walking in the right direction.
Say yes to something that scares you. Break down that big goal into smaller goals.
Whether it’s starting your podcast, writing your book, selling that piece of art, speaking on stages, learning how to code a website (I have a friend in París doing just that!), or whatever it is that your heart whispers to you when you see someone else doing what you want to do.....just say yes and muster up some confidence, we are all here cheering you on.
If you need a group to help you through your dreams or goals, join us in December! We’re a group of passionate entrepreneurs living abroad that have dreams, goals, and will be working on time management and habits to set us up for success for the new year.
Or if you need some 1-1 coaching to make your dreams a reality, send me a message and I’d love to help you say yes to what’s scaring you and work on your confidence.