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More about courage

I rediscovered my courage this week after doing a presentation in my networking group. I volunteered to do the 10 minute presentation in order to tell people what I do and why I do it. It’s for 10 minutes and I offered to do it as I knew I would need to at some point and I thought it might be better to get it out the way.

I’ve never enjoyed public speaking (do many people?) and usually feel like I’m ill-prepared, sound nervous, talk too fast, forget what I want to say or I’m too quiet. When I did a reading at my sister’s wedding, one of my friends said that I did well but he could tell I was nervous because I was talking quite quickly. That was me reading from a piece of paper too!

To be fair, I wrote a script for this presentation and didn’t learn it off by heart. Partly because my memory is not what it used to be and partly because I know from previous experience that without following the script, I have a tendency to go off on a tangent, lose where I am, panic then it gets awkward. Also partly because I’m a procrastinator and have an attitude of “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”.

I did get nervous though between the weekend and when I gave the presentation but I reminded myself that yes, even though it might not go how I would like it to, is that the end of the world? Will I be vilified and run out of the world of networking? Will the shame of this one terrible presentation mean that I can never coach again because word will get out that I can’t even do that properly?

Well I suppose anything is possible, but it doesn’t seem very probable. And besides (as it said in my presentation), I’ve done more difficult and scary activities, including walking 500 miles across Spain on my own. This was 10 minutes out of a two hour meeting. It’s not even 10% of the time we spend there.

This little chat with myself lead me to remember some of the other big achievements in my life. The ones where I was scared shitless but did it anyway. There have been quite a few. And before you go running away thinking that I’m full of courage and always face my fears, there have been plenty of times where I haven’t too! For example, the time where I was supposed to be going to Ireland and was so scared of flying, I got to the airport then had to go home because I couldn’t bear to get on the plane as I’d convinced myself we were going to crash.

I mean, I have got on planes since then because I discovered that getting pissed up the night before I do something that scares me isn’t really conducive to a healthy mindset! See, there are lessons everywhere 😂.

Anyway, back to the presentation. It went well in the end. I wasn’t as polished as I would have like to have been and didn’t feel like I was cool, calm and collected the whole time. I also read most of what I wanted to say off a piece of paper. But, it seemed to go down well. I’m lucky that we have a lovely and supportive group of ladies in our group who were really positive.

Since then, I’ve recaptured some of the courage I lost over the last few months when things haven’t really been going to plan in my life. I found the courage to get back on a dating site and chat to a couple of people and now have a date. In terms of courage, dates are something I find really difficult to navigate. I realised that it’s not the date itself because I’m now in a position where silences don’t scare me so much and I can talk about myself until the cows come home if a silence needs to be filled.

My main problem is stopping myself wandering off into the future (good and bad) and trying to work out how I will be feeling in a week/month/year/lifetime’s time. It’s impossible to know and sabotaging to try and guess. But if I remember to have fun (it’s a night out after all) and try to forget about the future, I’m hoping it will be ok!

My point here is that it’s not always easy to find the courage to do something and it’s always easy to find a reason not to do the difficult things, finding the courage once can help you find it again. Maybe in the same situation, maybe in a different one. It’s also easy to keep finding reasons not to do something.


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