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As I wake up and prepare for a really important interview, I’m thinking a lot about what we do to defend ourselves when we present our work to others.

Whether we are giving a speech (voted the number 1 most terrifying thing people do in their regular lives), going for an interview, teaching a new class (me) or presenting work we have done, we all have unconscious behaviours that we do to defend ourselves from the possibility of failure.

We play humble:

“Oh it’s not a big deal, just a little thing I made.” (talking about a project that took half a year)

“It’s cool, be honest, tell me what you think.” (please God don’t say anything bad)

But these times when we present our work to others are maybe the biggest opportunities we have for professional development in life.

“Look at this, I made it.”

Forget the critics, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Don’t give up, try again and try again soon. Thomas Edison filed 2,332 patents (and only got 1,093 of them successfully awarded) in his life, but we just remember him for the light-bulb guy. He was unsuccessful in numerous projects, but by trying something and giving it his best shot, he changed the world.

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