Have you ever been offered the chance of a lifetime, something that you have only ever dreamt of doing, that you can’t possible not do, but when you get the opportunity you just want to run and hide?
Well if that has happened to you then you will understand how I felt when I was asked to do a TEDx talk – 18 minutes of talking all by myself on stage in front of loads of people with no notes!
My response, “Of course I’ll do it”, “Absolutely let me at it”, “What a fantastic opportunity, I can’t wait to do it” – that’s what I said. But what was I thinking? “Oh, crap how will I ever manage that”, “Who the hell do I think I am”, “What have I got to say that is of any interest”. They’re just a few examples of the sort of thinking I was doing. Behind my excitement, my smile and my enthusiasm I was a total bag of nerves.
To be honest I think it’s natural to be nervous heading into something new, something way, way out of my comfort zone. But nerves can be good right? In my experience nerves are a force for good. They can be transformed into excitement and harnessed to create motivation and action. The problem comes when nerves stop you moving forward and prevent you from saying yes to amazing opportunities.
I very quickly decided to harness my nerves and to grab this incredible opportunity with both hands and hold on tight. I did this by asking myself two simple but powerful questions:
- How will I feel if I do this?
- And, how will I feel if I don’t?
I knew that not doing it just wasn’t an option – it would make me feel awful, I would be disappointed in myself, I would always regret my decision and it would impact on my ability to take on new and exciting things in the future. I would be letting myself down if I didn’t give it a go and I knew it.
I decided instead to focus on how I would feel once I’d done it – I would be immensely proud of myself and happy that I’d tried something new and given it a go. I’d be confident in my ability to take on the difficult stuff, and make it happen for myself.
So, I did it, I overcame my nerves and stood up in front of a room full of people and spoke from the heart. I couldn’t be prouder of myself, I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I can now confidently take on any opportunity.
I’d love to know, what have you done that stretched you out of your comfort zone, when have you overcome your nerves and let yourself shine?
Just in case you’re now intrigued as to how I did you can watch me in action here - Enjoy!