Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taking on the Challenge, Or "Aren't You So Proud?"

First, let's start with a few facts:

  1. I hate public speaking.
  2. I particularly hate public speaking when it involves groups larger than two people.
  3. I really, REALLY hate public speaking when the group is made up of more than two people, all of whom are complete strangers.
  4. I often underestimate my abilities.
  5. I am not a trained teacher.
  6. I have a knack for volunteering myself for things when I don't really want to do them.
Now, let's talk about the new project that I've taken on, despite numbers 1 through 6 above. Three weeks ago, I was asked how I'd feel about being the trainer for a course my company was going to provide for some customers. I did a lot of "well, I don't know" and "I suppose if this and this" before I accidentally said I'd be willing to do it. Without meaning to, I volunteered myself to act as the main trainer for a group of 8 customers.

Commence the freaking out.

For several days I worried about my inability, my lack of desire, my inexperience, my lack of skills and knowledge. Then, something shifted. I had signed myself up for the task and I wasn't going to be able to back out of it no matter how hard I tried. So I changed my perspective. I started looking at the task as a challenge, as an opportunity for growth. I studied the training presentations, I asked questions of the subject matter experts, I wrote notes for each slide, and then I studied some more. And just for good measure, I sprinkled in a little bit of positive affirmation ("I am a wonderful, clear, and articulate public speaker") and visualization (I'm standing in front of the group speaking clearly and confidently and everyone is enraptured by the material).

Today was Day 1, and I'm happy to say I slept like a baby last night. I wasn't the least bit nervous this morning. And I presented the material like a well-seasoned public speaker and trainer. I was so impressed with myself that I actually think I might have been glowing with confidence and pleasure. My boss was just as impressed, and he didn't hesitate to tell all the managers in the office how he thought I'd "found my new niche." Now, I wouldn't go that far, but I certainly think I proved something to myself, and maybe to those I work with as well.

If I'm willing to take on a challenge and give it my all, I can do anything.

My Mama would be proud.

3 comments:

Fat Chick said...

Congrats! That's really great! Public speaking can be difficult. I found that the better I know the material the more confidence I have.
~ FC

She Became a Butterfly said...

i found you via the tbr challenge!

a friend and i just started a book lovers message board. we'd love for you to join!

eden
http://www.re-told.net

cate said...

I completely and utterly empathize with you. I have do a presentation for the VPs and the CEO/COO tomorrow afternoon, and I am definitely not at my best in the afternoons.

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