Last weekend, I achieved something. I stood up to my (previously) crippling fear of public speaking, and I gave a paper at my MA conference in front of my peers. Before then, I had been a nervous wreck when forced to speak publicly (which was seldom anyway, seeing as I avoided it at all costs), I would shake and sweat and my voice and hands would tremble incredibly visibly. So, I did not have a great basis on which to feel confident for my paper in the weeks before I was due to give it.
I wrote my paper, I produced my handouts, and then I tried desperately to forget about the conference altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to hear my fellow students’ papers, and I was looking forward to visiting the beautiful manor house at Gregynog where our conference was held, but that was it. I hate being away from home, especially overnight, I hate being away from my partner, and I hate public speaking. But, despite all that, I forced myself to go. I forced myself to put myself entirely out of my comfort zone and do something that I knew would be good for me.
And I was right. Not only was it a fantastically fun weekend, but I proved a hell of a lot to myself. The atmosphere and the students (scrap that, friends) that I had around me made me feel safe and capable. They enabled me to step up to the lectern without a single fear of being ridiculed or whatever other catastrophic consequences I had envisaged on previous public speaking forays. I delivered my paper, I made people laugh, and I made myself proud. I sat back down after my Q and A session and I could not believe what I had achieved. I was so grateful to everybody present for helping me to feel comfortable and able, and I overcame something that I was sure would trouble me for the rest of my life.
Therefore, I felt it only natural to write a post about one of my favourite and most inspiring songs about self-confidence. There have been relatively few times when I have been able to use this song to boost an existing sense of achievement, rather than to try and muster belief in myself in order to achieve something forthcoming, but this week, I can. There were numerous obstacles that I could have put in my way to prevent myself from needing to deliver that paper, but I didn’t. I was brave enough to do the scary thing, and it was the best decision I could have made.
I shall definitely think twice before letting myself, or anyone else, rain on my parade in the future!