To overcome my stage fright, I tried to find opportunities to go on stage. When I was an engineering student at the National University of Singapore, I asked a dance group choreographer, Peter, if I could join his dance group. Knowing that I had no dancing experience, he hesitated.
“Can you dance, Eric?”
“Not really but I’ll be happy just standing behind the dancers.”
“Will you carry an umbrella?”
“I’ll carry whatever props you ask me to, Peter.”
“OK, you are in.”
Rehearsal after rehearsal, still my heart beat so fast on the actual day of performance that I almost couldn’t breath. I was very sure there is a better way to overcome stage fright.
(Have you seen any dancer wearing glasses on stage? Now you have.)
That evening was the start of my journey of overcoming stage fright. It took me 10 years to gradually feel at ease on stage. The reason I am sharing this embarrassing moment with you on social media is because there are some upsides when you share a failure or weakness.
- You make it easier for others to share their failures and weaknesses. There is huge pressure for you to show your best side on social media but you know that life is not like that. It is full of ups and downs. By sharing a failure or weakness, you take the pressure off of trying to be perfect.
- You become easier to relate to. When you reveal your weakness or failure, you become more likeable. A friend revealed he is afraid of his wife, I suddenly find him more likeable (maybe because I am afraid of my wife too, haha).
- You accept who you are. Revealing a failure or weakness means you accept that part of you, you either become comfortable with that aspect of you, or you try to take action to change. The worst thing you can do is denial.
- You become authentic. Once you become authentic, you gain trust. And trust is the most important factor when developing relationship and doing business. I reached out to Chris Mattia, a LinkedIn Learning instructor to ask him a few questions on Screenflow, a screen recording and video editing software. As he can see the failure I mentioned in my “About” section, trust is quickly developed. We have not met in person since he is based on Los Angeles while I am based in Singapore but we have already collaborated on several audio and video projects in the past five months.
- You standout. Since most people share only the best part of their lives on social media, sharing failure or weakness makes you different. As long you don’t over do it, it is refreshing
- Your connections will be rooting for you. When you are perfect, some people becomes envious of you, others may resent you. But when you share a failure or weakness, people become empathetic towards you. They may offer you tips or help to overcome that failure or weakness. If you don’t believe, try asking for recommendation or advice on social media, you will get more engagement than posting your perfect exotic holidays photo.
You don’t need to share all failures or the biggest ones. Start with a small one that you feel comfortable sharing.
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