It’s not always easy to show.
It means facing a fear of the unknown. At times saying yes to something that we cannot control.
Courage can look like almost anything. From asking your partner for a divorce, to saying yes to that job in another city to going swimming for the very first time and trusting you won’t sink.
I had a chance to be courageous myself a few weeks ago. Out of the blue, I received a phone call asking wouldn’t I be interested in speaking to roughly 160 realtors at a breakfast event to kick off the new year.
My website doesn’t say I do public speaking. The guy who reached out to me thought I had written one of the books listed on my website when it was actually a book review I had done.
I’d had a feeling at the end of December, as I was doing my year in review worksheet, that something may be different in 2020. I was reading the section of the work book where it says think about missed opportunities or regrets from the past year. As I reflected on the past 12 months I couldn’t come up with any missed opportunities because I didn’t recall there being any! This made me think about how dull life has been in the past year.
As the guy on the phone began to share more with me about what he was looking for in a presentation I became aware of my heart rate speeding up, my stomach lurching and my speech becoming faster. I flashed back to doing that workbook and the words “missed opportunities” came to mind. My gut told me that no matter what excuse I came up with I could not say no to this opportunity. I would regret it. And I would only be saying no because I was scared.
It has been a long time since I had Dared Greatly. And it has also been many years since it felt like my life was “a daring adventure or nothing at all,” to quote Helen Keller. If I was going to walk the talk, as I ask my clients to do all the time, it was time to face my fears head on and say yes. So I did.
I set about reviewing past courses I’d taken on creating presentation,. Rifled through old speaking notes and called the host of the event with specific questions about his company,. I also interviewed one of their team members to ensure I had something relevant in the presentation relate to, and then began writing.
After writing began the hours of practicing. Five days prior to the event I received the agenda with the other speakers names. I Googled them to see what they were all about, and promptly had the most massive sense of panic you can image.
Imposter syndrome showed up like a massive hulking giant.
Who did I think I was? I had not spoken in public in over 3 years and even then that was only at Toastmasters events. They were all doing power point presentations, I wasn’t. Was it too late to back out of this?
I knew I needed an emergency coaching session, so I promptly called up my own coach.
She talked me down from the edge and reminded me of my capabilities and about the need to share my coaching message with others. My self confidence returned and I got back to the job of working on my presentation.
The day of the presentation finally arrived.
I had not slept well the two previous nights.
I was still nervous but knew I just had to do it, I had committed and my integrity said, “You gotta see this through girl. “ Besides, I had busted my ass over the weekend practicing it a hundred times.
I am pleased to say that the stories I created for myself never materialized. The venue was comfortable and not to large. There were only 80 people not 160. The other coach who was presenting was very nice and made me feel welcome and relaxed. The energy of the people there was warm and welcoming.
The other presenters were certainly more experienced. And funnily enough all 3 of them had problems with their technical equipment. I had chosen to not do Power Point for that exact reason.
All 3 spoke to different things than I but luckily enough the coach who spoke before me dovetailed her presentation nicely right into mine. (not on purpose, it just worked out that way.)
Did I make some mistakes? Yes, two small ones. But it worked out ok.
My goal with my coach was that if 3 people complimented me afterwards I would have done a great job and it would have been worth it. I actually had 7 people approach me afterwards and either share a compliment or say thank you.
I shared this story with you because the skill of courage is so necessary in our lives. Many of my clients are not able to find theirs because they struggle to believe in themselves. Courage is needed for them to face their fears and do something different, to learn what they are capable of. To have them feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, to help grow their confidence. And it is a life skill that no school, and often many parents, do not teach their children.
Integrity is one of my top values. So for me to be in my integrity it means I must be doing the same thing I ask of my clients.
Was this experience hard for me? Damn right.
Do I regret it? No. I’m proud I faced my fear and got through it.
It was my coach who helped me get back to believing in myself and that is what I help my clients do. Because just like my own coach knew about me, I was capable. I wanted what I was going after, I just needed that extra bit of support to find my courage.
How are you doing with yours?