Thanks to my fabulous sponsor Skinfix, I recently attended the first-ever Western Canadian blog conference: BlogWest 2012. I knew almost immediately upon my return that one post wouldn’t be appropriate for sharing the event, since for me the event had three major highlights. I’ve decided to cover each one of them in a separate post; my first post is about my experience speaking on the Monetization Panel.
When I was given the opportunity to speak on the Monetization Panel at BlogWest 2012, I was completely thrilled. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started blogging and I was so excited about being able to share some of them so that other bloggers could benefit. I was also nervous, but I dealt with that by just pushing it out of my mind.
And that worked absolutely perfectly until the morning of our panel. That’s when the nervousness really hit hard. Fear sat in the bottom of my stomach like a lead weight. I took some deep breaths and forced myself to look calm and confident. I smiled a lot, talked about how excited I was and did everything I could to ensure my nervousness was known only to me. When I sat down moments before the panel started, I had already decided that I would contribute as much as I could because I really didn’t want to appear silenced by fear.
So the panel began. I didn’t stutter. My voice didn’t shake. I was told afterwords that I had looked and sounded confident and professional. I said most of the things I wanted to say and forgot a few points that I wish I had remembered. But overall, I’m pretty sure I did a darn good job.
And then the panel ended. And I waited for the flood of relief to hit me now that the panel was over….
And it never came.
Instead, I think I actually felt worse. That lead weight in my stomach was even heavier. Because it was done now. And if I had said anything people didn’t like or didn’t agree with, there was nothing I could do. It was over. That was that.
I gradually did fight away that “after-nervousness.” And when it had finally retreated and I was feeling like my usual chipper and outspoken self again, I asked myself, “Will I do this again? I know if I do it long enough, I’ll become comfortable with it. But is it worth the agony and insecurity I’ll feel in the meantime every time I stand up to speak?”
And part of me screamed, “NO!! Absolutely not! You proved your point! You NEVER, EVER have to do it again!”
But after that first reaction, I thought back to when I was afraid to be videotaped, and how completely natural and comfortable I am on video now. I thought back further to when I first started blogging and I was so uncertain about it that I considered just posting other people’s buttons so that I could get bonus giveaway entries without actually ever having to write anything myself. I thought back even further, to a time when I was so shy that I was scared to even reply to somebody if they said, “Hello.”
And I thought about how I conquered all those fears. I didn’t do it by thinking about that voice screaming, “No!” in my head. I didn’t do it by thinking at all.
I did it by blindly leaping into anything that I had decided was interesting. I did it by shutting off my brain and blocking out the doubts, insecurities and fears that were running rampant inside my head. I did it by doing, I did it by pretending that I loved doing it, and I did it again and again and again until I actually felt as comfortable as I looked whether I was meeting a new person or shooting a promotional video.
And I’ll be darned if I’m not going to do it with public speaking too. So when the opportunity presents itself, I WILL dive in again and I will do it until I have mastered it; until I am as comfortable on a stage as I am in the audience.
Having made this decision, I know I have some uncomfortable days ahead of me. But will it be worth it?
There’s not a doubt in my mind.