Facing my fears head on

I have no profound story for you this week. No ground breaking revelation. Nothing gasp worthy. So, if you’re expecting that you might as well stop reading this entry NOW.

However, for me it was ground breaking. It terrified me and rocked my world. I dreaded the event for weeks and yet couldn’t help but boast about it to anyone who would listen.

I have mentioned before how much I dislike public speaking. The thought of it makes me weak in the knees, I get a dry throat and I go bright red.  I know that most people have a fear of public speaking but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

When I had to run an event for my clients, I had to present to  them along with managers and co-workers. I remember losing focus and not being able to string sentences together. Others remember how well I spoke and that I was (and am) good enough to be on TV.

Since then I got involved in 3CR and while I’m not standing in front of a group of people, it is still a form of public speaking and whenever I get started I panic and get a dry throat. I think I sound terrible, but others seem to think I sound “alright”.

Anyway, back on track – three weeks ago I was asked by my manager whether I wanted to to do a presentation on the peer support program in front of 50 or so managers from Yooralla along with the CEO.  I automatically agreed to it because I wanted to look good, but beleive me, I was kicking myself on the inside.

I knew in my head that being able to present in front of a group of managers and the CEO would be a good opportunity for me to get the word out there and recruit new members for my program. But all I could think of was a group of scary people looking at me and thinking how stupid I looked. In reality, I knew the material well, as really, it was my baby. I had been given the program in its early days and taken it into the next stage – the terrible twos perhaps?

But I had taken the program and created it into something bigger. I knew that I should be proud of that, but just after I said yes to the manager, I felt like it wasn’t enough.

The week before I spent time on my own and practiced my speech in my head and to my reflection in the mirror. In bed, when a tv show was boring, I found myself saying the speech aloud. Practicing in front of people doesn’t help me because their words of encouragement and advice just freak me out and make the whole thing worse, so I chose not to do that (sorry parents).

They say practice makes perfect and sometimes they’re right, but for me, on the day, that theory went out the window. As soon as I woke up I started to question my facts – maybe I was wrong about the number of clients involved or about how I ran the training program. On my way into the city I was hoping that I would get lost, have to turn around and go back home. But I made it there, found the perfect parking spot and the manager even came down to help me find my way to the room.

I won’t bore you with the details on the presentations that went before me, except for on how my colleague – and mentor – went. She was so calm and was able to answer all the questions flung her way. I had to remind myself that she had been doing it for over 20 years!

As I wrote at the beginning of this entry, this may not be ground breaking stuff for you – you may have already guessed that I would do well. But for me, it was ground breaking. I was shaky at first, but by the end of it I was sharing stories about the successes of my clients, I was navigating the mouse on the computer, showing everyone the website that I had created for the program and I was answering questions at the sane time. The CEO even stood up and endorsed my program, saying how important it is to keep it going.

Ok, so I’m not going to say that I am ready to get back up there straight away. I will say that I believe in myself a little bit more than the day before I presented and I will admit that I am ready to do it again – maybe in a month or two, just next time I may have a sip or two of something strong to keep me going.

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2 thoughts on “Facing my fears head on

  1. Hi Tully,
    Just got around to reading your entry… as usual, well written and conveying a sense of both your trepidation and then elation on a successful outcome. I love reading your thoughts as they are so well formed and articulated. Go girl, I am so proud of you !!
    Love,
    Michael.

  2. Hi Tully,
    I must say that after reading your entry I must agree with all that Michael Dubs has said. Knowing you, I know that you face your fears, and I know its not easy. You know what? We all have the same fears except some will never face them as you have. You are brave. Keep showing the world what you are capable of. Let us hear more of you.
    Roman

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