Just before the police walked through the door, he told me, “Act like you belong here.” 

Those words of wisdom were given to a 19-year-old version of myself by my friend Daryl. The house party we were at had gotten out of hand, and the police would be walking through the door any second. People had already tried to slip out the back door – it hadn’t worked. A guy was hiding in the upstairs closet – they would find him as well. And then, there was underage me in the living room, terrified that I was about to get busted with beer on my breath.

“Just sit on the couch and act like you belong here.”

So I did what Daryl told me. I sat on the couch, beer in hand, and acted like I was supposed to be there. When the police walked in, I didn’t look scared. I acted confident. They asked us what we were doing there, and Daryl handled the conversation. He shared that we were guests in town staying overnight, which was the truth. The conversation was quick, and the police moved on. 

They found the guy in the closet.

And then it was done. The police left. Empties laid throughout the house, and it was quiet other than some Led Zeppelin playing in the background. All was well with the world.

To be clear, there was nothing about me that made me look old enough to be sitting on the couch with a beer. I have a babyface. At nineteen I looked sixteen. What saved me? That mask of confidence that Daryl gave me.

Fast-forward twenty years. We had just launched our marketing firm, and I was walking into my first pitch. I was talking to people who were smarter than me, more experienced than me, more successful than me, and I was terrified all over again. Call the cops – I was about to get busted for being inexperienced, called out for not knowing everything. And then I heard those words again…

 “Act like you belong here.” 

There’s some “fake it til you make it” in that statement, and I’ve come to the conclusion that’s ok. On some level, we all have those moments where we feel less than or like we’re not enough. Like we’re the dumbest one at the table or not prepared for what life’s throwing at us. It’s in those moments where I keep coming back to those words from Daryl. He’s gone now, but he left me with this…

 “Act like you belong here.” 

The Takeaway

Whatever life throws at you today, act like you belong where you are. Embrace confidence, even when you’re terrified. You are enough.

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