“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 LBS MBA program. Now I am facing my fears and and doing the things I think I can not.
Actually, It’s the one thing, especially for the purpose of my gist today – It’s Public Speaking.
Yesterday,at my Management Communications Class, Mrs Eugene Ohu, our facilitator asked us to pitch a publicly quoted company on NSE to Investors for 60 secs. When it got to my turn, my heart started palpitating, throat tightening, knees wobbling, cold sweat breaking on my forehead. I began, then I blanked out – It was as though my brain has been reset to factory setting and all memories wiped out.
Now, this was not an impromptu presentation. I had prepped thoroughly for it. Went through my notes and did my best to align it with what we had been taught about pitching – My intent was clear. My facts where checked and airtight. I had a plan for my delivery. All that was left was to get my vocal cords to work.
I tried again and eventually, found my voice and the courage to finish. The applause brought me back to earth. Wait, hold up! I did it! I pitched to a room full of people and didn’t die? The ground didn’t swallow me?
See, I am a sales person. A terrific one at that, my numbers and my clients can attest to that. I am confident and can hold a conversation anywhere with anyone but when it comes to public speaking, to a group… I want to fade. 5 years in Entrepreneurship, 8 years as an employee, one would think that I should have gotten used to it but truth is, all these years, I have found interesting and creative ways to avoid it.
I know that If I allow this fear to persist, it will hinder my career and personal growth, which is why as I proceed in my MBA, I am taking the bull by the horn and jumping right in. I am prepared to get vulnerable, make mistakes, learn from my peers and facilitators not just to keep my grades up but to get to the next level in my career.
Watch out world!