The division director at my work intimidates the hell out of me. When it comes to my performance, he’s the last person I want to disappoint. But he also has this sense of humor that pops up on occasion and never ceases to cheer me up.
Earlier this week I had to give a presentation to a group of organizational leaders, including my director. Right before the presentation, the director came up to me with an encouraging smile and gave me the usual, “Break a leg.” Before he could turn away, I made like I was auditioning for Cabaret, threw up my hands, and said “Jazz hands!” My silly gesture caught him off-guard—in a good way. He laughed, nodded vigorously, and said, “Yeah.” (chuckle, chuckle) “Jazz hands.” (chuckle, chuckle)
I take occasional risks, like delivering a joke and not knowing if it’s going to land. I still think I’m funny. My closest friends tell me I’m funny. But lately I’ve noticed how I feel when I’m funny. I’m more confident, less fearful, and unapologetic about the things I say. And that’s what happened after I made my director laugh. I was less nervous about my presentation. And I felt confident enough to own the material I presented.
As long as it’s appropriate and timely, humor is great if it helps you be you. As for me, I’ve spent too much of my life lacking confidence, being fearful, and worse of all, feeling apologetic for who I was and what I did. Just as humor can make me courageous and confident, I hope that in the hard times I have the courage and confidence to be humorous. More importantly, I hope I have the courage and confidence to be my true self.
On a final note, I hope you have the courage and confidence to . . .