A few weeks ago, I was asked by an executive to give a “motivational” talk to her direct reports. She had first seen me two years ago as I gave a talk on ‘why Change Management is important in organisations’ at one of their company year-end events. Our account executive in my previous job had asked if I could volunteer to do this talk as it would assist with stakeholder relations and assist us in maintaining and gaining more business. So, I agreed and thought it would just be a quick talk. Little did I know that post that event, I had touched a few people’s heart. This same executive, called me last year and asked if I could give a talk to a group of managers. I got the call again this year and by the look of things, the demand for this has increased as the managers insisted that I should also give the talk to their employees and not only keep it at the management level.
Why am I sharing all this? Reality is; if it were up to me, I would not do public speaking. I get super nervous and often feel inadequate, but a lesson I have learnt is that, it’s not about me. It’s about releasing what’s inside of me for the betterment of humanity.
For some odd reason, few days before this year’s talk, I was extremely nervous. The executive only gave me a three-day notice and because of my work deadlines I didn’t have much time to prepare. But the afternoon before, I found a space, put on my music and started attempting to put a message together. I always tell the people I address that, I am not a motivational speaker but rather I consider myself a vessel who shares insights. So, I prayed to God and asked that he would speak through me. Ideas started flowing as I began to put together the presentation. The day finally came; as I drove there I was praying and did heavy breathing exercises to calm my nerves down.
I arrived at the meeting, they called my name and as soon as I stepped onto that stage, it just felt like wisdom began to pour out of me effortlessly. After the talk, everyone was so amazed and some provided such great comments. All I could think about was ‘if only they knew how nervous I was and how inadequate I felt before stepping onto the stage’. I did what needed to be done, who knows perhaps some of the words I shared made someone’s life better and to think I wanted to cancel because I didn’t “feel” confident and felt that there are much better people than me who can do an even better job.
But we must realize that our feelings and thoughts are not always a true reflection. I’ve grown more in spaces where I felt inadequate. If you don’t get into the habit of editing your feelings; you are not going to achieve anything significant. What do I mean by edited feelings? Just because you feel nervous about doing something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that thing. Get to the root cause and don’t miss opportunities because of how you “feel” and “think”. Talk back to how your feel, if you feel scared and nervous it’s okay, it’s part of being human. But talk back to those feelings and do the absolute opposite of what you feel, especially if the thing you need to do is necessary for improving society.