You’re afraid to speak up. And don’t even try to say you haven’t been hesitating. We all have our moments. And it makes perfect sense. You’ve been hurt — and you don’t want to get hurt gain. The problem is — you do have something to say. And if you don’t speak up, you’ll regret it later. So — get your story straight. And speak up. Here’s how.
First, face your fears.
So — what aren’t you afraid of?
Wait — did I just say what aren’t you afraid of?
Because until you get real and admit that there is a ton of stuff to be afraid of on a daily basis, you’re living in a dream world.
In fact, research shows that a major cause of loneliness and depression in men today is their unwillingness to admit their fears.
Instead, what men do is pretend to be strong — and end up being anything but strong.
Because when you pretend to be Superman, you’re really just being a poser.
And even Superman was afraid of Kryptonite — and for good reason.
So the first step is to ask what I’m not afraid of.
For example — I’m not afraid of peanut butter.
Which is true — for me.
But that’s only because I’m not allergic to peanut butter.
For some men — who are allergic — it’s smart to be cautious around anything related to nuts, because that allergy can close up their throat so they can’t breathe.
Good reason to be afraid of peanut butter.
So you get the point.
The areas that you need to be afraid — or at least cautious — vary from man to man.
So make at least a mental list of what you’re not afraid of.
Because the next step is to give voice to what you are afraid of.
Seriously — do this.
Make a list of 10 things you’re not afraid of (which may make you laugh).
And then make a list of 10 things you are afraid of (which may make you cringe — that’s OK).
Then, move from a strong center.
And this may surprise you.
But I assure you —
If you did the exercise above, and actually took the time to write down 10 things you are — and aren’t — afraid of, you will have a stronger sense of yourself.
And if you’re honest — you might have written down on your list of 10 things you’re afraid of something with the flavor of public shame.
In other words, a fear that you will be embarrassed in public.
Most men are, at some level, afraid of this.
Or you may have written down that you are afraid that you won’t have enough money to retire on comfortably.
Again, many men have this fear.
And on it goes.
Whatever is true for you — write it down, up to 10 things.
Because the amazing thing is —
Once you write these things down and see them on a piece of paper or on your computer screen — suddenly, they have less power over you than when they remained unwritten and unacknowledged.
These are your NUTs — Your Negative Unconscious Thoughts
And what you’re doing by writing down your NUTs is to make what is unconscious — conscious.
By doing so, you can separate yourself from the thought — to look at that thought objectively.
And here is the most amazing secret about speaking up.
Here it is.
Speaking up begins in private.
In other words, when you speak up in private (just by making that list of 10 things) — you are suddenly more ready to speak up in a more public setting.
Say — with your spouse or partner.
Or with your boss or with your client or in a meeting — you name it.
Because if you don’t do this — you end up on the short end of the stick.
In other words, if you don’t speak up, somebody’s gonna get hurt — and that somebody is going to be you.
Because unless you figure out in private what you really think, you won’t be ready to go into the battle of every day life — without getting seriously beat up and feeling awful at the end of the day.
So, finally — keep your boundaries clear.
And now, the most important part of all about speaking up.
Which is — remember who’s telling this story.
Because you need to tell your own story.
In other words, speak up — on your own terms.
Because if you will speak up in private, so that you know what you are actually afraid of —
And deal with those fears on a personal level before you get out there into the world of other humans —
And from that more confident place move out into the world with a strong center with clear personal boundaries —
Where there is real pressure to speak up and be heard —
Then — you will know what to say.
So speak up, and speak clearly — on your own terms.
And as always, I welcome your feedback and questions.
Just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and comments — and I’ll be in touch.