This is a short story from a recently qualified Transformational Coach who is trying to make the first steps towards “out there”…
The experience I want to talk about is not directly related to the coaching process, but I know this is something which a lot of coaches will consider doing. I am talking about PUBLIC SPEAKING.
And the reason why I think it’s worth sharing my experience with fellow coaches is that I am 100% sure that you will go through the exact (or very similar) spectrum of emotions when it will be your time to prepare your talk. And then, in the darkest moment, when you will be asking yourself this question “Who am I to give this talk?” you will think of me and you will know that you’re not alone in this struggle.
I had three months to prepare this talk and I considered it to be “plenty of time”. The subject of my talk was “Self-Love”, simply because self-love and self-acceptance had been something I had struggled with all my life, up until around four years ago when I actually recognised that I, indeed, didn’t love myself at all because I truly believed that I was not enough.
One day I got to the point where I was SO tired of “not being good enough” and realised I had to change. To cut the story short, for the past four years I have been walking this long and winding road of self-acceptance and I accumulated so much knowledge which I felt ready to share with the world.
The plan was to finish writing the talk at least a month before the event, which would leave plenty of rehearsal time, right?
Let’s just say things didn’t go according to the plan. In reality, I only started to write my talk just a week in advance and had only finished it 24 hours before the event. I had just over a day to rehearse the whole thing!
So what was going with me during the run-up to this talk?
I started getting on my own back pretty harshly. My self-talk was like this:
“Yanina, you, again, you are always doing things at the last minute, and then you rush! Do you understand how risky this is? What if you don’t have time to finish it and what if it’s not perfect! you be won’t achieving your best!”
I was like a nervous, unprepared student waiting for my final examination…
Basically, I started to tell myself that I was not good enough because I was a person who slacks off until the last minute. The story of my life. Back here again! I was always blaming myself for this.
But, who said that you can’t be successful if you do things at the last minute?
What if, when you do things at the last minute, you just mobilise all your forces into one big ball of energy and you have a sort of big bang which gives birth to this thing you’re creating?
I noticed this negative chatter and I told to myself “Yanina! You are going to give a talk on self-love and what you’re doing now is that you are not loving yourself at all! Can you please stop doing this to yourself?”
And so I did.
Bless my self-awareness
The next thing I did was to rehearse it in front of the mirror and to record my voice. When I started to listen to the recording, I wanted to cry. I didn’t like the tone of my voice, it sounded flat, the words I was using were too basic in my opinion and I also spotted some grammar mistakes which I did in my speech despite the fact that I have been living in the UK for ten years.
And also done something silly, I dared to compare my talk, more precisely the first rehearsal of my first public talk ever, with one of the late Dr Wayne Dyer’s talks, which I had watched the day before. How kind it is to myself to compare my first talk with the work of Wayne Dyer which he did at the end of his career which spanned for 45 years!
As a matter of fact, how mean it is to do this thing to myself! Again my self-awareness took over and I bought myself back in balance.
That day I rehearsed the talk so many times that I couldn’t bear to see myself in the mirror anymore.
In the epilogue I want to say this: my talk went very well. Yes, I made grammar mistakes, I moved things around, some things I just forgot to say, but I was speaking from my heart and the audience felt it. People came to me after the talk and said that I inspired them and that it was exactly what they needed to hear at the moment. They told me that I needed to continue bringing this message to the world because it was important.
My main message to those who are planning to do their first talk – speak from your heart and be vulnerable and truly believe that what you have to say is important and needs to be shared with the world. People who are ready to hear your words will magically be drawn to you. Allow yourself to feel the fear, but then do it anyway.
Check out Yanina’s talk here: Self-Love Talk 101- Hosted by Yanina Nikitina Transformational Coach
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