Today I stepped up to a microphone and gave not one but two presentations during orientation at the second largest college in the country. You can imagine there were a few people there starring at me and writing down my every word.
I don't consider myself an overly brave person, but people are always telling me they would never do some of the things that seem like fun to me. Maybe they just mean I'm crazy, who knows. Let's blame it on the former dancer and theater nerd in me, the years of improv, the travel to third world countries in college or the years as a high school teacher in inner city LA. Maybe it's my faith. Who knows why, but I enjoy a little adventure and I am starting to realize I actually am brave.
Exhibit A: standing near the world's most deadly snake. Truthfully, this one made me want to vomit...
Exhibit B: driving an ATV through the jungle. I would like to point out that I was the only female driving my own vehicle and not sitting on the back of their Euro husbands'. Go me.
Exhibit C: flying through the air on a wire in the rain in a country without federally regulated safety measures. Like that helmet's going to do anything if my hand-attached hook goes faulty.
Exhibit D: dirty and happy.
Well... public speaking never seems like FUN until I'm actually doing it and then the best part of it is when I get to walk away from the mic. Whether I'm brave or not, speaking at this event in front of a huge crowd had me shaking in my pumps and doubting myself all week.
I was really nervous but before my presentations one of my co-workers said to me "dude, public speaking is the number one greatest fear for the majority of humans, even over death. You get props for just standing up there. Doing a good job on top of it is just impressive." That made me feel better. :)
After my presentations I had several parents and students come up to me with super positive reactions. One asked me how long I had worked here and when I said 2 months he looked at me kind of dumbfounded and said "I would have never guessed that, you seem like such an expert; You were so knowledgeable and put together and I feel so informed now." Seriously, that made all of my week's jitters worth it.
I know you don't get that home run every time you swing a bat, and trust me, I have struck out in big presentations before and it is awful. But after feeling so insecure leading up to these presentations and then succeeding just reminded me that my decision to go for it with confidence was what made it a success. Feeling brave and capable today was definitely a boost I needed in my life right now.
More than public speaking, I think it is really our every day actions that make us brave. Giving your life to someone else, sharing your opinion, going for your dreams, smiling in the face of injustice, trying to be a better person every day... None of those are small actions and I think we really should remind ourselves of how amazing we are more often.
Sometimes stepping up to the mic and doing the best you can is really the only way to realize you are more than you think you are.
I think you're amazing. Happy weekend!