Last week I held my own feet to the fire. Boy did it feel hot. At least in my body. Somehow in my mind it had stayed cool.
You see, I got up and spoke in front of 400 high school kids last week and gave a talk on stress management and career development. I would love to say public speaking is my thing, but…..
I have a desire to be a great public speaker and inside me burns this motivation to connect and make a difference with people in a big way. In my mind I can see myself being funny, charming, and winning over a crowd. In reality though, it takes me a bit to gain the confidence that would win over a small circle of people let alone an auditorium.
But that’s ok. Maybe, just maybe, I reached one teen. Maybe they heard about warning signs of depression so they can know when to get some support. Or possibly, one of the teenagers took me up on the challenge to do at least one thing each day that really satisfies them and is outside of the daily grind for fifteen minutes. Then there is the possibility, in seeing an obviously anxious person give a speech to 400 strangers, one of them felt inspired to face their own fears.
Who knows? I like thinking of the maybe’s.
I kicked off this post by mentioning how my mind had stayed cool but my body clearly knew it was anxious; I am fascinated by this concept. I am constantly trying to develop and test ideas and techniques to help those dealing with anxieties, so I try and practice on myself.
What I did was tell myself I was going to give this presentation no matter what, and I didn’t need to be anxious because it was going to happen anyway. I did not allow any anxious thoughts in and just kept it positive. My motto was, “I’m just going to do this.”
Oddly enough it worked. Now I still had the physical sensations of being anxious: rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, upset stomach. But I just moved through it and didn’t allow any negative thinking to permeate the picture.
In holding my own feet to the fire, I now officially know I am capable and have a benchmark set on how it is I can improve.
Am I in love with public speaking? No. Would I do it again? Yes. Why? Because if I am going to ask those around me to challenge themselves then I better have some life experience and training to back it all up.
In the work I do, I ask people to confront their fears. Put their own feet to the fire. The more we do it the easier it becomes. It doesn’t mean we have to like it, but maybe by some chance we will.
I can do anything I set my mind too.