“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?