I’ve done quite a few things that have scared me ever since I “grew up” and became middle-aged: got divorced for the 2nd time, went back to school in my 40’s, traveled alone, driven up 2 14’ers in Colorado. Today I accomplished another scary thing —- I was a co-presenter. In the large law firm conference room. In front of 20+ people, including the Intellectual Property “head guy.” It was recorded. The gals from the HR department and from Learning and Development, who proposed the presentation, were ALL there. I.SPOKE.IN.FRONT.OF.PEOPLE.
What y’all don’t know is that I’m the same person that, as a Girl Scout, pushed my younger sister up to the doors in front of me to sell cookies. I purposely did not do my homework in College-Prep Physics class because I MIGHT be picked to do a physics problem up on the board, where other students could ask where the HELL I got the constant from (true story). I NEVER took speech in college and was prepared to change my major to anything under the sun in order to get out of the requirement.
What’s weird about that entire “scared to effing death of speaking in front of people” is that I had, really, no qualms about giving a flute solo as first-chair in band and orchestra. I played the flute (and piccolo, eventually) from 3rd grade through my 40’s, so performing was a part of who I was (am). News Flash: you CAN hide behind a piccolo. For reals.
(photo from YouTube)
I know, I know, public speaking is one of the top 5 (I think it’s #2?) greatest fears that we humans have. I’ve spent a great deal of my life avoiding it.
But, the lawyer who asked me to co-present with him is a super-nice guy, we’re good friends outside of the office, and, in his words, trusted me enough to ask. I was really touched and honored. SO …. I told him that I would step FARRRRR out of my comfort zone and present with him. I really wasn’t nervous, as the attendees were all folks I work with. And although I kinda blanked out at first, I interjected my 2-cents worth whenever I could. I survived.
I’m really super-proud of myself.