A memory just popped up on my Facebook feed reminding me that two years ago, on 8th September 2020, I smashed through a personal barrier! I delivered an online speech live in front of many professional speakers. No pressure to perform well at all!
It was the Professional Speaking Association's South East (PSA) Regional Speaker Factor competition and four of us had stepped up to the occasion and delivered our very best five minute speeches.
Do you know how hard it is to write a five minute speech? Let me tell you it’s really hard! Give me an hour to talk on a topic, that’s easy! Five minutes though is really tough!
I spent hours crafting my Script, thinking about the Delivery and the Stagecraft elements however the majority of marks involved Bookability so I had to think about my target audience and who would book me to talk about my chosen topic!
Going into the competition I already felt like a winner though as it had involved a massive amount of personal courage and confidence for me to step out of my comfort zone just to show up.
So how did my speech go? I won! Hence the celebratory photo with a glass of fizz above! I went through to the finals in October 2020 at the PSA National Annual Conference where I was the representative for my region. You can check out my talk here!
I competed but didn’t come first in the final however my success can be measured in other ways. I was subsequently elected to be the Vice-President for the region in 2021 and this year I am the Regional President. I get asked to speak at various events about purpose and podcasting. I don't feel discomfort any more as I now love speaking.
This week as Regional President, I was emcee of the South East regional monthly event and the next day I delivered a keynote about Podcasting on a Global Stage at the East Midlands region.
In my talk, I shared that I had first heard about the PSA after being recommended to join the organisation by Sam Rathling in her book Linked Inbound back in February 2020! Sam is a member of the East Midlands region, the very region that two and a half years later after reading her book, I was invited to speak. Absolute serendipity.
Driving home after the event I reflected on how much I had pushed through various degrees of discomfort and fear and how much I had grown in just two years. I am always looking at ways that I can push myself, grow, improve and challenge myself. Speaking has played a big part in my journey. I continue to develop this skill and now I feel comfortable speaking.
Moral of my story. Focus on WHY. Push yourself firmly outside of your comfort zone to share your passion with others! It’s a winning combination!
Focus on Discomfort!