“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaȉs Nin

Reading this quote this morning had me thinking, I have often said that courage is not the absence of fear, courage is when you are scared and you do something anyway.

I feel courageous when I step in front of a group of people to speak.  I’ve read that public speaking is many people’s greatest fear.  

My first experience of public speaking was years ago when I used to manage an office of 60+ real estate agents and I directed the meetings each month.

Our conference room was upstairs.   So I would walk up those stairs, full of nerves, trying to guess how many people were going to be in the room.  Usually, the room was packed. I would sit in my chair dreading that moment when I had to stand in front and address the room.

When the time came for me to speak I would chant in my head or try some sort of pep talk.  Something like “Fake it Till you Make it.”  I could pretend confidence in my head hoping it somehow become true.

Those first few meetings my voice would shake with nerves and I would feel so embarrassed.

But after a while that started to change.  With each meeting, I grew more comfortable.  After a few months, I didn’t need that inner pep talk anymore.  I was relaxed and cracking jokes with everyone.

Some of the agents were very successful making lots of money and had years of experience (at that time I wasn’t an agent yet)  and I felt intimidated.  Who was I to tell these people anything?  I’ve always felt some insecurity in situations like this.

What’s crazy is those meetings weren’t life-changing situations for me.  The information I was speaking on was simply the day to day goings on of a thriving real estate and loan business.

Flash forward to today.  I have had many more opportunities to speak publicly yet I still get nervous.  The reason for the nerves now is totally different though.  I get nervous because what I’m speaking about is SO very very important to me personally.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin

I love that quote because now when I need courage, the reason for the need is almost always something that is expanding my life in a positive way.  

At each Impact Club Event, I say a few words before the presentation.  I am always nervous.

Now instead of facing a room full of real estate agents to talk about office procedures, I’m standing in front of a room of givers.  People who have committed to giving $100 in support of a local charity. People I admire and respect, many of whom are Impact Club members because I asked them if I could count on them.  So when I’m speaking to them about why we’re gathered together and what we are building together, for me, it is a life-expanding experience.  Courage is required. These are the moments where I grow.

I invite you to ponder this quote with me.  What are the life-expanding moments in your life that require courage?

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