This post is from a personal experience that I hope helps your decision-making process and mindset in life when you’re faced with an uncomfortable but potentially rewarding opportunity.
Last night, April 14, this girl I know reached out to me to speak for 30 to 45 minutes in front of two sorority chapters on Monday, April 20. The focus of my presentation, should I accept, will be on careers after college and how to prepare for them.
Initially, I felt excited and honored to present my knowledge in front of college students. Although I’m internally confident in the vision of www.TakeYourSuccess.com, when my website is externally validated, like it was in a way by getting invited to speak, I feel really good.
So, my first reaction was let’s do this thing! It will be an amazing opportunity and experience. There’s nothing to lose!
Then, the second-guessing demons started to take over because I’ve never taken the mic for that long and spoken publicly about my website. I began to fear completely flopping the presentation and looking like an idiot in front of all these girls. I also dreaded boring the audience the entire time.
Based on these primary fears, the secondary fears flooded in, too. I worried that six days isn’t enough time to prepare an effective speech. My fear started to persuade me that I would need at least two weeks. Also, this doubt made me think that there is no way I would have valuable content for 30 to 45 minutes. I thought that was way too long.
In a matter of minutes, fear took my initial joy about this speaking opportunity and turned it into anxiety that I would fail.
Decision And Reasoning
Fortunately, I didn’t give in to that fearful mindset because I knew that if I passed up this opportunity, then I would make a bad habit of turning down awesome opportunities. I personally believe that I want to be as successful as I can be by not self-limiting my potential. I also know from reading Talent Is Overrated that the road to success requires a commitment of repeated, uncomfortable activities that stretch you mentally.
Once I broke free from the fear of failure, other good reasons to speak came back. For example, presenting allows me the opportunity to practice pitching the purpose of my website, improve my public speaking skills, and make a PowerPoint that can be reused for other future speaking opportunities (if you’re interested in me speaking, email email@example.com).
In summary, by looking at one of my core beliefs—that I want to be as successful as I can be—I refreshed my mind to do what I knew I wanted to from the start: to take the speaking opportunity and grow from it. So, I did accept and I’m speaking in front of two sororities in six days.
Application To You
This application does involve decision-making, but the point is to go beyond that.
I hope my real-life example inspires you to invest time in your self-development. I want you to be an optimist when presented with a difficult but potentially rewarding opportunity. Take the perspective that you might not know how to complete the task right now, and that’s ok because you’re going to learn from it and figure it out.
Quicker than you can realize, you’ll start developing this belief that if you want something then you’re going to go get it, no excuses. Don’t listen to the pessimists around you who think if they can’t do something themselves, then you can’t do it. That’s a lie. Your life is what you make it.
Readers comment below on: What are times when you had an idea of doing something, but then you talked yourself out of it? Do you fear public speaking? Why? How do you tackle the fear of failure?