isabelle thye

The Power of Fear

I happily signed up for a speaking gig a couple months ago with Mindvalley, thinking it could be fun to share about coffee.

Who cares that I had no experience in public speaking, I had two months to prepare for it. This was what I thought when I said yes to the organiser.

60 days passed in a blink and came the week of my coffee talk. Was I prepared as I thought I would be? Hell no.

It was funny how you come face to face with fear and have nowhere to hide. It was like a gigantic wave coming right at you and you either ride on it or sink.

On the day of my presentation, I kept myself occupied with all sorts of tasks except preparing for the contents. I had been thinking about what to share and I knew I had everything in my head. It was just a matter of how well I convey the stories.

I was scared, nervous; I felt butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t focus on my morning meditation. I couldn’t focus on anything else that day.

I kept procrastinating because of fear.

I was hiding until the very last minute. The minimalist slide was completed 2 hours before the talk and rehearsed through visusalisation in my head.

I kept reminding myself that I love coffee, I’m gonna talk about coffee, and it will be FUN. My audience are a bunch of awesome people and they don’t bite.

I didn’t even know how, but it was over before I knew it!

Here is what I learnt from this conquering-the-world-despite-nerve-wrecking experience:

1. Having some alcohol before a presentation calm your nerve (at least a bit)

2. If you are passionate about your topic, or an expert in your field, you will be in control because you know your stuff

3. Ask questions throughout your talk, lots of them. The audiences’ response will help you smoothen or connect the points

4. Look at your audience – the nods will be reassuring. Ask questions when you see perplexed faces.

5. Be so grateful and feel so loved that you are spreading what you believe in. It will somehow replace fear.

6. Sign up for the first gig and you will get better and better the next time. Just start.

I missed out some points and added in some unplanned info but that was fine. I stuttered a bit and spoke a bit fast at some points and that was fine too.

It felt great to answer questions and debunking coffee myth after the talk. I felt like I rule the world.

Am I a good speaker now? No, no, far from that actually. The point is, I just expanded my comfort zone by a little and it means the world.

It is a baby step, but it’s also a start. I am glad I said yes in the first place and never quit in the face of fear.

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