Sometimes insecurity can sneak up on us when we least expect it. I was at an amazing conference not even a week ago, and while I had a few minor issues and spent most of the trip being really busy, I felt good about the work I was doing. And then, like that, I was caught off guard by some unexpected news that sent me into a tailspin of insecurity. I panicked, was overwhelmed by anxiety, and felt the tears stream all over my face. I reached out to my support system, opened up about my situation to my online support system, and received a ton of loving and relatable messages. Though it only lasted about an hour, it was hard. But what I learned was that I’m not alone, you aren’t alone, and sometimes just having that knowledge can make all the difference.

The Story

I was in Frisco, Texas for a few days to speak at the eWomen Network Rise Conference! I was scheduled to give one 30 minute presentations, and two 90 minute presentations. It was a busy but amazing few days filled with tech issues, late nights, and good food! The night before my first presentation, I hopped on to review my slides to go over what I was going to say, and the file was corrupt! I almost cried. I had to call my brother (thank you Luke!) to drive to my house and email me my file. It was stressful, but the presentation went great — despite a few tech issues. 

That night, I decided to re-do a bunch of my slides. I’m super glad I did! But I was up doing that until four in the morning. For my presentation I had on my lucky sparkly shoes, and had a great time giving an amazing presentation to some super influential women in business! I felt amazing, and I felt super confident to go and do another 90 minute presentation in two days. But then, a few hours before my second 90 minute presentation, I was told during my mic check that I wouldn’t have a confidence monitor — which is a screen that shows you your notes as you’re speaking. I have 197 slides, had to speak for 90 minutes, and was suddenly told I wouldn’t have notes. I panicked. I hardcore panicked. 

I cried, felt the anxiety shoot through my body, and felt crippled with the idea that I’d mess up this presentation and let everyone down. I tend to invert numbers sometimes, and my presentation was filled with numbers. I have this deep insecurity that people will think I’m not smart, especially when I make a mistake with something like numbers. I’ve worked a lot to get through that insecurity, to be open about it, and to realize why I always feel like I have to be the best. However, in this moment, that insecurity came rushing back. 

Utilizing the Tools I Have

Strength isn’t about never having insecure, anxious, or panicky moments. Strength is about having those moments, and pushing through them. I utilized some of my tools and worked through it. I went up to my room, messaged my girlfriends (so thankful for my friends!), had a good cry, and talked about what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. I ordered some food, which always helps with my energy, and began writing down all of the numbers and stats I was worried about missing. I began focusing on the things I was confident about instead of the things I was worried about. I know I’m a good speaker and that I can connect to an audience, and that strength can carry me through my weaknesses. I knew I’d be okay.

The Power of Support

I decided to share this extremely vulnerable moment on my Instagram story, and I was overwhelmed with support. People told me they could relate to my feelings, that I was going to do great, and even some tips on how to make it through it. Some of the people who reached out were people I know in real life, but most were my online supporters who I only know through a screen. The feeling was powerful.

I began feeling silly for getting so worked up about my insecurity, and all I wanted to do was delete my posts with puffy eyes and silly worries. But I didn’t, because it only feels silly after you’re okay. We shouldn’t be scared to reach out when we need support, or embarrassed after we are okay. By reaching out, I felt good knowing I wasn’t alone in feeling insecure about my intelligence and that a lot of people mix up words and numbers. Maybe my honestly would help others to know they aren’t alone, and that we are all in this together. That’s the power of vulnerability, and that’s why I didn’t delete my posts. I needed the support I got, and I want to be able to offer that to others. 

 

My presentation went great, and I went into it with a smile, a red lip, and my lucky sparkly shoes! I’m proud of what I did at this conference, and it felt even better to know I pushed through the tech issues, the late nights, and the last minute panic. 

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me. I keep all of your messages of support to look back on later, so I’ve included a few of the ones that helped me.

If you’re ever in a similar position, know you’re not alone. Insecurity can strike at any time, we just have to use our tools to work through it. 

Have you ever had a moment of insecure panic like mine? What did you do to work through it?

Talk to you soon!

xo Natalie