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Seek Respect, Not Attention



In the dream, I'd be walking around carrying all my "stuff," not finding a place. "You're not on any list," they would say to me. "I don't have a place for you." "Who are you again?"


I like my job and I'm very good at what I do. I know my boss - and his boss - like me. I've even been asked to present at the conference. I have no reason to feel anxious about this trip. AND YET. Insecurities...I got 'em.


I used to think my biggest fear was dropping my keys down that gap between the elevator car and the building floor. Then I heard someone talk about the Fear of Being Found Out and I realized that there is a whole other level of fear that I hadn't even tapped into yet. Like being found out -- the fear that one day, everyone's going to realize I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. You're all going to see through me and know that I'm a total faker. I will be found out. I will be humiliated. I will be finished.


Irrational? Of course. But aren't most fears? I mean, outside of the fight-or-flight ones that actually save our lives. Most of our fears are like these first-world mind-fucks that we create ourselves as a response to our emotional handicaps.


But fear can also be a jumping-off point for learning and growing. It can teach us something about ourselves: for instance, that my ego may be bigger than the suitcase I'm packing for a week's stay. "Seek respect, not attention," Banksy tweeted just this morning, as though addressing it directly to me. What are my expectations for this conference -- to be singled out as the department's greatest communicator of all time? Because that's probably not going to happen, Kalisa. If I go seeking to be a worker among workers, I will undoutedly find that they do, in fact, have a spot reserved just for me.


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