The Mighty Women of Wakanda
Showing a lack of fear.
You may be wondering why I’ve chosen this picture so let me explain. These women scream fearless to me. They stood and faught for their King and didn’t really know the extent of the battle they were facing but did it anyway for the greater good. Kind of like me this week minus the physical aspect.
This is one word I truly battle with.
Growing up I was taught to fear nothing but God and then came a spider in the bath, sharks, swimming in deep water where I cant see my feet. These are my three of my biggest fears and public speaking being my fourth. So what did I have to face on Tuesday? PUBLIC SPEAKING!!!!
My public speaking fear stems from a summer club we used to attend as kids at my nan’s church. I was maybe 7/8 years old. We all had to stand and read a passage from what I think was the bible. I cant really remember. I just remember practicing loads and then when I got up to do it. I couldn’t read. I remember tears falling down my face and just walking off the podium straight to my nan who I think was embarrassed for me. Ever since then. Public speaking has terrified me.
This time I’d be presenting to the company’s CEO and board of directors. Now let me just say this they are thee most down to earth approachable people ever and I speak to them all the time (ok this is a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean).
Theres just something about presenting. Warren Buffet said ‘If you want to add 50% value to yourself, master the art of public speaking’. Ok Warren I want to but I just cant. I can practice all day and all night and just be worried sick. I feel under so much pressure to just say the right thing and convey the right message. I see myself as pretty confident but public speaking just kicks confidence out of my personality. We practiced our presentation time after time and every time I stood up I said different things. This is what was so frustrating to me. Why could I not just keep to my script. Nerves. I was so nervous about saying the wrong thing and forgetting what I wanted to say that subconsciously my brain gave me other words to fill in to potentially save me from forgetting what I could say. I hope this is making sense to you. I sat and watched who I call the pro’s just get up and smash it time after time and I just thought OML (Oh My Life) I’m going to look like a total amateur/train wreck next to these guys.
Monday night came and I just could not rest. I watched I’m a celeb in the hope for a distraction but it was still in the back of my mind. I tossed and turned for about two hours. As soon as I lay down I was thinking about more things that I should add in, baring in mind its the night before and I’m already changing what I say each time I do my slides! Anyway I opened notes on my phone and started writing. I love writing. I can articulate myself much better in writing. It was perfect what I put together. But I wouldnt remember it that way and say it when I needed to. I just knew I’d pick up on sentences and add it.
Look. Just from that paragraph you can see how stressed I was.
Anyway the morning came and we were first up. My bright personality had already stood out to the CEO as I adopted his surname for bantz which he finds hilarious (he laughs with me not at me, thankfully lol) and of course I had the first joke of the day, to the whole damn room of maybe 40 people!! Ahhh I need to show a lack of fear. Don’t let them see you sweat Chess. That was all I kept telling myself. My heart rate was at 109. Its normally 65! Anyway the next thing I heard was ‘I’m now going to hand you over to Fran’. Honestly I nearly died. I stood up and looked out to the sea of people. Trying not to fidget, I delivered my presentation in maybe 7 minutes but it felt like 7 hours I swear! So did I show fear. Admittedly yes when I started I could feel my voice shaking but as I got into it. I relaxed and got into my flow. Thankfully they didn’t ask questions but added notes on my topic on their experience. Ahhh the relief of handing over to the person after me was everything lol. I felt my Nan’s presence in that moment and I know she wouldn't be embarrassed about that performance lol. What was I so scared about. Looking back I wish I was more relaxed and just took the advice of everyone. I would probably been a lot better. Ok its my first time and its normal but this is the self critic in me.
This experience has taught me so much. People are people. Regardless of their title, position or name. I can do it and there was nothing to worry about. I’m in an incredible team and to them I express thee most gratitude for their support over the last few weeks! I literally couldn’t have done it without them.
So to everyone, please if you struggle with public speaking as I do, please try not to worry. It really isn’t as bad as it seems. I mean, I lived to tell the tale didn’t I?
Be Fearless or at least pretend to be...