The presentation to 50 colleagues, a job interview, holidaying alone for the first time, sitting an exam – all of these can be daunting. It is perfectly okay to feel nervous about stepping into unknown territory. I would have thought each of us become a little wobbly at times – it may not appear so to outsiders but the feelings are certainly there! Personally I believe a little nervousness helps to keep us on our toes. How easy it would be for one to grow arrogant if they did not experience fear or apprehension from time to time.
I remember watching a film in which the storyline focused on a publisher and speaker. Just before he entered the doors to the large conference room, he took a deep breath, got his thoughts together all with a rather fixed and worried face. As he entered the conference room he instantly beamed from ear to ear whilst looking left to right at his audience – I expect this gave him an element of confidence. Looking directly at your audience, connecting with them even before you present.
The first time I was due to give an exhortation at church, I felt nervous. I prepared beforehand and read through my notes again and again. On the morning I led praise and worship with my fellow worship team as usual but felt anxious about giving the exhortation. As I was called forward my stomach did somersaults – actual somersaults. The exhortation was not as painful as I first thought – sure I could have looked at my audience a little more as well as slowed down my speech but I survived. I have improved on my public speaking since then by taking up opportunities that come my way.
I tell myself what is the worst that could happen? It helps to put life into perspective. Choosing NOT to step out would have a far more detrimental effect on my life, my progression and the way in which I view myself. I refuse to allow my insecurities and sometimes irrational thoughts to hinder me from doing what I know I should be.
Do you put yourself forward for opportunities?
Do you allow your fears to hold you back?
What advice would you offer someone who struggles to step out of the boat?