One of the things in life that will really bring you happiness and satisfaction is to make yourself proud. I know this in some cases is really hard to do and also challenging, but this is the catch. The more effort you put in, the better the feeling is in the end.
Last week I was lecturing at some HR conference and it was something I really wanted to do once in my life, but I was also very afraid and sure that this is something I will not be able to do. On the one hand because I thought I don’t have anything significant to say and on the other hand, because I thought I would go up on stage and freeze. As I wrote before here, we should not be afraid in advance of all the things that might happen, because usually they don’t. Here it was the same.
Few years ago I was a head project manager of some student marketing conference and this was the first opportunity for me to meet with the stage. It was a horrifying experience.
My task was to go on the stage and say few welcoming words to around 400 people, about how glad we are that they came and shortly on why we even did this conference. You know the boring intro speeches before each conference.
Well, I thought I would die! I was so nervous at that time, even in advance, but when I went up on the stage, my legs were becoming a jelly and I thought I would fall, I was holding microphone very tight, so tight that my knuckles turned totally white. I managed to tell my speech mostly as I wanted and quickly went down off the stage. Others told me that it was a good speech and that they couldn’t see my jelly legs trembling, but at that moment I was saying to myself, I will never be able to be a speaker on conferences, this is just too stressful for me.
Few years went by and now I usually don’t have problems presenting, especially because we are mostly doing them via online conferences with only screen sharing – which is much easier. The opportunity came that I have to be the one having a 20 min lecture at the HR congress, representing my company. WHAT?!? Ok, if they think I can do it, then probably I can, I said to myself when my colleagues and managers told me this news.
But when the preparations started and I started preparing the summary and my short CV, the nerves started to rise.
What I needed to do, was really to prepare myself very good for this presentation, because any way, I knew I will talk in front of quite some people who are HR managers. So I knew I needed to tell something useful and new, I knew I needed to give them something they can take home and use in their own companies. I didn’t want to be the lamest speaker at the conference. We all know there is always one like that.
So I went and prepared my presentation and my speech, only few days before the conference unfortunately, but this last minute working habit I have is for another story. So I prepared the speech and tested it in front of my office colleagues and my boyfriend and it went well, but already with those small presentations I was very nervous and afraid of what will happen when there will be not 5 people listening, but 200+ people. But then I practiced, practiced, practiced and learned and practiced a bit more on the last day before my big stage moment, until I was at least that confident that I will be able to tell the basic story.
Next day, on the day of the conference, I went through the speech a couple of times more and then it was show time.
I was really nervous, driving to the venue and especially when I came to the hall. Wow, there were so many people there, fear and nerves were becoming stronger and stronger, I really needed to sit down. Luckily I was there a bit ahead of my speech time so I was able to acclimatize. When I was looking at other speakers, I managed to calm myself down a little, telling myself that I can do it. This was important thing, to get used to the venue, to see others and convince myself that this is nothing to worry about, that I have a good speech and I can do it.
I went on the stage after they called me and I was still nervous, less then I thought, but still. Started my presentation and on the second and third slide I got my jelly legs from few years ago back. What an awful moment it was. So I said to myself: Will you really be nervous now? Will you destroy your presentation because of your nervousness, when you know you started good and you know that your presentation is good and that people are interested and listening carefully? In that moment, my jelly legs went away and I did my presentation even better then I hoped.
After I finished, I was so happy, so happy and thrilled no words can describe and most importantly, I was so proud of myself, proud that I did something I thought I would never ever be able to do.
At least half an hour my smile was so big, thankfully we have ears, otherwise my smile would just go around and around my head. I got a drive, motivation and thrill to do more things like this, to make myself proud more often!
This was the point when I realised the power of the moment and achievement when you make yourself proud. Not others, but yourself! Definitely lesson learned: Don’t be afraid and always no matter what, you have to make yourself proud first! You can always try to make others proud; parents, teachers, colleagues, friends, but the moment when you make yourself proud, will give you drive, happiness and motivation to go and do more. So make yourself proud!