“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
This quote describes the journey that I have embarked on this year. It all started with applying to the Lagos Business School Masters in Business Administration program. Now, I am on the right track to overcoming my fears and doing the things I thought that I could not. I hope to share My MBA Chronicles consistently over the course of the program.
For my gist today – Overcoming My Greatest Fear – Public Speaking
Yesterday, at my Management Communications Class, Eugene Ohu, our facilitator asked us to pitch a publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to Investors for 60 seconds. When it got to my turn, my heart started palpitating, throat tightening, knees wobbling, and cold sweat breaking on my forehead. I began to speak, and then I blanked out – It was as though my brain had been reset, and all memories wiped out.
Now, this was not an impromptu presentation. I had prepped thoroughly for it. I went through my notes and did my best to align my pitch with what we had been taught – My intent was crystal, my facts were checked and airtight, I had a plan for my delivery. All that was left was to get my vocal cords working. haha.
I tried again and eventually, found my voice and the courage to start and finish my presentation. The applause brought me back to earth. Wait, hold up! I did it! I pitched to a room full of people and did not die? The ground didn’t swallow me and I am on my way to Overcoming my Greatest Fear.
See, I am a salesperson. A terrific one at that; my numbers and clients can attest to my claim. I am confident; I can hold a conversation anywhere with anyone but when it came down to public speaking, to a group, I would want to vanish. After 5 years in Entrepreneurship, 8 years as an employee, one would think that I should have gotten used to it but the truth is, in all these years, I found interesting and creative ways to avoid it. 13 years later, here I am. It is now inevitable.
I know that if I allow this fear to persist, it will hinder my career, business, and personal growth, which is why as I proceed in my MBA, I am taking the bull by the horn and jumping right in, head first. I am prepared to get vulnerable, make mistakes, learn from my peers and facilitators. I am actually really excited about the future and what it holds for me after this MBA program, which is why overcoming this fear is no longer just about keeping my grades up.
Watch out World! #EMBA27