Over the course of 10 years of running my business, I have learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable by constantly putting myself out there, be it going after dream clients, dealing with challenging client situations, or discussing money with confidence, to name a few.
The one thing that I have yet to get comfortable with however is public speaking. I have often thought that I would rather run a marathon (and I have) than speak on stage to a group.
I recently spoke at the Creative Freelancer Conference during the happy hour presentations (my largest public speaking crowd to date). When Ilise had asked in advance for participants, I eagerly responded with a "Yes!" because I knew that doing this very act of public speaking that makes me so uncomfortable is the only way to get more comfortable with it.
However, as the time drew closer I began to wonder what I was thinking when I volunteered, especially when I found out how large the crowd would be.
Despite my usual nervousness leading up to it, I was surprised at how, once I got on stage, all that nervousness disappeared and was replaced with a happy excitement. It turned out to be a truly enjoyable experience and I received a lot of positive feedback afterward.
While I don't know if my discomfort regarding public speaking will ever fully disappear, this experience was indicative of many other situations where I put myself out there in an uncomfortable way:
1) The more I do it the easier it gets;
2) Once I get to the uncomfortable part, I realize there was really nothing to worry about after all; and
3) The more effort you put into it, the more reward you get out of it. There were connections and opportunities that came about from this act of public speaking that probably wouldn't have occurred otherwise.
I never thought I'd say this but I can't wait for my next opportunity to do more public speaking!
Jenn won't have to wait too long. This activity at CFC went over so well we're expanding it for CFC 2013. The focus of the presentations will be on how you run your business and we're soliciting presenters. If you haven't already, send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.