Ready for Your Shot?

by Alli Polin on December 10, 2013

Take your best shot with confidence, competence and creativity

The nurse walked into the patient room and asked my kids who wanted to get their shots first.  No surprise that neither child was jumping out of their seat with excitement despite the fact that they were talking big just moments before the actual question was asked. Finally, my daughter sighed, said she’d go first and began to roll her sleeve.

The shots took literally two seconds.  They both spent days anticipating the pain, horror and agony of the moment and in the blink of an eye.  It was over… at least for her.

My son watched the entire process closely and calmly.  When the nurse finally turned, to him instead of rolling his sleeve, he freaked out.

  • I’m younger!  It will hurt more!
  • I’m not ready!
  • Nooooooo!!!!

I wasn’t going to try to hold him down, he’s not a baby.  In fact, I was relatively certain that we were going to leave and he’d be right – no shot, no chance.  Fortunately, the savvy nurse had a trick or two up her sleeve and, despite his best efforts, he’s now fully immunized.

My son psyched himself out.  He told himself a story that it would hurt him more, be more difficult, and his shot experience would never compare to her claims of painlessness.

Crap.  I’ve done that too but not about a shot; about life, about leadership.  Have you?

>  Young rising star that literally seems to sparkle.  Gets promoted faster than the speed of light.  She’s got her stuff together.  How could I ever compare?  Maybe I should just drop out now…

>  Speaker at the conference right before me is incredible!  Wow.  Compelling, heartfelt, dynamic…  Um, do I really think I can remotely follow that act and be memorable?

>  Bunch of friends sitting around catching up.  One starts telling the story of the amazing dinner she made for her family while she watched her genius child finish his diorama and write an essay about it.  Me?  I microwaved something and told my child that if they did not do their homework, I was going to tell their teacher. Nice, huh?

Your experience will never be just like anyone else’s – it’s yours.  (Click to Tweet)

If you’re always comparing yourself you will fall short every time.  Think about it, you’re only looking at the good stuff that other people project out into the world while all of the nasty bits are locked away behind many closed doors.  Still, you look at yourself, and you see the whole picture, not just the glossy proof.  How can the whole picture ever compete or compare to a slice, a moment, a single instance of shiny, practiced perfection?

Back to the shot.  My daughter was scared too; she was sitting on my lap holding on for dear life.  Her giggle, after the first shot, was a mix of relief with nervous energy still spilling over.  All my son saw was that it was easy for her and hard for him.

Take your shot.  The time for you is now. (Click to Tweet)

Bottom line:  You will never take your shot if you’re worried about someone else.  Focus on yourself, your strengths, and your intention.

Make the Leap:  Celebrate that you are different.  Who wants to be a “me too” leader, sister, friend, or partner?  Think, have opinions, speak up and show the world why you’re here.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lalita Raman December 10, 2013 at 6:38 am

So important to focus on our strengths and believe in ourself. Yes life is not the same for everyone. I still remember some of the workshops I used to go to where they ask you so who will present first and most people look at each other. I did that fir awhile and then realized leadership opportunities come right in front of you and go swooshing by and by the time we realize it, it may be too late.

I love the analogy you have made here Alli. A wonderful post and right to the point.

Loved it.


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

I totally know what you mean Lalita – opportunities do swoop by and we can either bite our nails and wonder if we should go for it or step forth with confidence, competence and creativity that’s all our own.

Many thanks!


Carl December 10, 2013 at 6:52 am

Great post Alli, and as always I love the connections to real world situations –
You really have me wondering about the “tricks up the sleeve” that the nurse used 🙂

Best regards,


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thanks, Carl! The nurse told my son he seemed upset so she wanted to take his blood pressure and asked him to keep a close eye on the numbers as they changed. He saw her coming at him out of the corner of his eye but he was too late and she was too fast… shot – done.

Needless to say, we still hit the toy store afterward to recognize his bravery 🙂


Lolly Daskal December 10, 2013 at 7:23 am

Fantastic post Alli,
I love how you share your life with life lessons. We can all relate.

Everyone experiences THE SHOT differently. It is how we see the world that we experience the world.

Your son has different set of fears than your daughter, your son has a different outlook, for me, the bigger question is how can we honor the hearts of those who fear more and struggle more, so they too can take their shot with ease…



Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thanks, Lolly! I love that you really reinforce something that I’ve seen all over the place lately and it’s rubbed me the wrong way… the suggestion that we be the judge of someone else’s authenticity or experience. We cannot see the world through someone else’s eyes or see into their hearts. We cannot judge them or assume that something is wrong with the way they’re responding to the world because it’s different than the way we see it. We CAN love, accept and honor that every one of us is unique and needs to be loved and cared for in different ways.

With appreciation ~ Alli


Bill Benoist December 10, 2013 at 9:47 am

Isn’t it amazing how we psych ourselves out in life with all the negative inner self talk going on. Worry, fear, negative thinking – they are all so counterproductive, yet difficult to catch in action. I applaud your children for their courageousness and the nurse for her creativity. Great post!


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thank you, Bill! Greatly appreciate your comment and your insights absolutely ring true – it’s the negative inner self-talk that’s generally far worse than whatever it is we’re trying to talk ourselves out of to keep us safe and sound. There are so many strategies to kick our saboteurs to the curb but it starts with noticing and you’re right… that’s no easy task!

My son, despite his hard time, was proud that in the end he’s good to go for our trip ahead and proud that he discovered that the anticipation can be far worse than the actual experience. I was also proud of how supportive and patient my daughter was with her brother. I’m one lucky Mom.


Paula Moldenhauer December 10, 2013 at 10:28 am

GREAT stuff. Found you through Alex Theis. We can’t listen to the voices or get caught on the comparison trap. Lately for me it’s been the voice. That’s what my last two blogs are about.

Really good stuff here.


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm


So glad that you stopped here thanks to Alex! You ask a powerful question on your Vlog – “What voice are you listening to?” Is it the voice that believes “you CAN” or the voice that says “you are not enough”? Constant comparison often brings out the feelings of being “less than” we truly are – the trick is to look within, connect with our inner spark and turn up the flame on our confidence and belief that we’ve got what it takes.

Thanks for adding to the conversation!


Joy Guthrie December 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

Another excellent post, Alli! Such a great lesson.


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Truly, your feedback means so much to me. Thanks, Joy!


Sharon Reed December 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

Great post, Alli, and one I can completely relate to!

So often projected fears of an unknown outcome and/or endless comparison to others hold us back and keeps us stuck in the status quo. We worry we’ll never feel smart enough, prepared enough, etc., and/or give our power up to others, instead of honoring our own voice and dreams from within. I’ve found that key to overcoming my own fears, has been finding little ways to exercise my courage muscle each day, so that I’m better prepared to take the big leaps when opportunities arise.



Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm


So much of what you wrote here strongly resonates with me. Two things really stick out… 1) Honoring our own voice. How often do we discount our voice and mark-up the experience, actions and knowledge of others? 2) Exercising your courage muscle. When we do that over and over, we suddenly discover that the big leap that we feared so much – we’re already almost there. I often talk to people about using our muscles (like courage, gratitude, creativity) to build and to truly realize our strength.

Many thanks for sharing your insight and words of wisdom!


Terri Klass December 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I totally related to this post, Alli as I was always the one to take the shot first before my twin sister. It kind of made her mad, but it gave me the confidence to deal with it with far less thinking and analyzing. I bet your son felt a little of that. It’s actually easier to get it over with first.

We all need to meet our challenges in ways that work for each of us. I too can sometimes psyche myself out thinking someone else will do a better presentation. I just keep reminding myself that I am capable, unique and have a heart.

Thanks for a great post!


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

So funny, Terri! The nurse turned to me when it was over and said, “Next time? He goes first.” I could tell by how closely he was watching that his brain was working overtime analyzing the situation and outcome.

For years I thought “positive self talk” was baloney but there is a reason that it works. We need to tell ourselves that we’ve got what it takes or we’ll start to think and churn and make up all the reasons why we’re not enough.

My friend, you are unique, beyond capable and your heart fills a huge space around the world all the way from NJ to the Australian Outback.

Appreciate you!


Cheryl December 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm

It’s interesting because I think most of this comes down to how we are thinking in our heads. If we believe we will be great, we will be perceived as confident, knowledgeable, and great (making sure not to take it too far and move on to conceited, of course). The hard part is creating that inner “I’m going to be great” belief!


Alli Polin December 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here on the blog! It’s amazing how loud the volume can get on why we can’t do something – too hard, too soon, too much. “I’m going to be great” leaves room to be human too – not only perfect. All we can every do or be is our best and sometimes we’ll knock it out of the park and other times we won’t. Either way, confidence truly not only changes perception but also our experience.

~ Alli


Karin Hurt December 11, 2013 at 11:29 am

Oh, I can relate to watching the amazing speaker at the conference just before I went on… yikes. It’s a fine line. Watch others for inspiration and to learn best practices… but then also know they’ve got a story too, and it’s not all pretty. Concentrate on being the best you can be each day… and be challenged to consistently improve.


Alli Polin December 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

Karin – You’re right on. Everyone really does have a story and it’s not always filled with roses and unicorns. Every single day I drop my kids off at school and ask, “what’s your job today??” The answer is always the same: “Be your best and do your best.” That’s all any of us can do.


LaRae Quy December 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Loved this post, Alli! Research has shown that one of the most important components for grit in the Navy Seals and among the military is self-talk. The way we talk to ourselves is HUGE, and our success often hinges on whether we talk to ourselves in a positive or negative way…great lesson for when the next obstacle pops up in front of us!


Alli Polin December 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

How interesting! I love some of your writing on visualizing a positive outcome when scuba diving. We have what it takes to stack the chips on our side by remaining positive even when we have no real way to control the outcome. Appreciate your insights! Thanks, LaRae!


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