During a panel discussion, a student asked me, “Marti, how do you find the time to prepare yourself for all of the things you end up doing, and the opportunities you’ve had in your life?” That’s a great question… Can I be transparent with ya’ll? Good, because here’s my answer:

I’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I know it sounds a little contradictory… but it’s the truth. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  A lot of the opportunities that I have taken in my life, I wasn’t prepared for… on my scale, (I’m a bit of a perfectionist) but on the level of preparation I’d like to be at before I do something, I would say often times (if not most) I’m not at my ideal level of preparation before I take advantage of an opportunity. In other words, I am not always comfortable with my ability to do something before I do it. And that, my friends, is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to accomplish a number of things in my life. 

Back in 2014 I received an email from the Magic Johnson Foundation asking me if I would speak with Mr. Earvin Magic Johnson himself at their TMSP Program (which is the scholarship program for his foundation) on the topic of Networking Strategies.  I was a recent grad of the program and only a year out of college, and they usually bring in guest speakers like the CEO of FedEx, or the president of IBM…pretty significant people. So my initial reaction was, “this MUST be a mistake.” I even called the Magic Johnson Foundation and asked them if they accidentally sent me an email about speaking at the conference. They assured me that it was no mistake and they needed to know asap if I was available because the conference was coming up on Monday. Immediately my heart dropped and my mind started going with thoughts like “I’m not prepared. I don’t have enough time, there’s no way I can do this. Why should these students even listen to me?? Last year they had the CEO of FedEx speak… who am I? OMG if I mess up I’m going to look so stupid! Oh snap! And not only will I look stupid, even worse, I’m going to make Magic look stupid! Oh no… this ain’t good, they better call somebody else.” 

I was uncomfortable and felt unprepared and under qualified.  I was in my head, holding myself back from one of the greatest opportunities that would come to change my life.  You see, we all have insecurities. Mine was the fact that I was too young, and underqualified to speak in front of my peers with my mentor and business idol.  But thank the Lord I didn’t let them get in the way of saying yes to my opportunity.  I said yes and ended up doing a great job! 

Don’t miss your destinies, or your breakthrough opportunities because of your own insecurities.   We spend more time thinking of the reasons why it won’t work instead of how it can… in my moment of weakness I made more excuses than found solutions.  How many times in your life have you backed out of an opportunity because of something in you telling you that you weren’t good enough, or you can’t do it? Or maybe there’s a past failure or mishap in your life that’s haunting you and making you feel inadequate for the things that are happening now?  Everyone has that special “it” they’re chasing after, whether “it” is health, wealth, relationships, friendships, school, etc, if you want “it” bad enough, it is possible… but there’s no way to accomplish things if you don’t get out of your own way first. 

The self-limiting thoughts and beliefs in your head are the very things holding you back from reaching your success. Your gifts will only be used to the extent or your willingness.  

So no more excuses… whatever your circumstance may be, it is not the reason for why you are not where you want to be in life. People with far less have achieved much more.  
Often times we are called to opportunities before we’re ready. The possibility for embarrassment and greatness coexist in the same space. True growth and great accomplishment happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone…so get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Blessings and love,

Marti Reed

Marti Reed