I’ve been asked occasionally how I can be okay with speaking on podcasts, or in public. My advice has always been some form of “someone will always think you’re an idiot. Accept it.”
This is a less eloquent version of what my dear friend David Smith gave on the latest episode of Under the Radar. He and Marco were discussing self-promotion, such as wearing a T-shirt advertising your own apps at WWDC.
David nails it:
Any time that you are putting out your name, in a public, obvious way— intentionally drawing attention to yourself—you’re also setting yourself up for the possibility of someone not liking you. I think the thing that you have to, at a certain point, come to grips with, is:
A: There’s always going to be people who don’t like you. No matter how likeable you are, there’s always going to be that. There’s a certain amount of you just having to be okay with that—of not getting your value from other people. If I look at something I make, and I think it’s good, then that, at a certain point, has to be enough. It doesn’t have to just be validated externally.
B: It’s also being aware that it’s probably also not what’s going to happen. The number of times I’ve had the negative version of that… I can remember them, because that’s just the way human nature is. The impact of the negative is disproportionate to the impact of the positive. A hundred people can say a nice thing and one person can say a mean thing, and you remember that mean thing.
Overall, that’s not my experience. It’s having to overcome the emotional part of that; of that feeling. That nervousness, that shyness. It’s the same thing that happens in life.
David’s advice applies to just about everything. Podcasting, conference presentations, wedding speeches. Someone will always think you’re an idiot. Embrace it.