Back in December 2016, I gave one of the most memorable speeches of my life when I anchored for my school's annual function in front of hundreds of people, which gave me the push I needed to allow myself to change and break out of my shell.
I know for some of you it might not sound like a big deal, but for an asocial introvert in a new school, it was one hell of a challenge. I was selected among around thirty other people and I still remember how I was hesitating about whether or not should I participate and audition.
"Fuck it! Let's give it a shot and see what happens", I said to myself.
I know it's hard for people to imagine an introvert as a show host or a public speaker, but I think the reason why I was able to do it is because I have always loved the idea of sharing your message to the world and letting them know what's there in your heart.
It was a moment of pure awe for me when I first stepped on the stage holding the mic firmly in my hands, with a pinch of anxiety building up in my chest as I saw the spotlights and the cameras point directly at me, with a huge screen on each side of the stage where I could see myself being recorded and displayed live.
"Holy shit! I better not screw this up", I said to myself.
I know how for some people it feels impossible to stand up in front of a big crowd, let alone speak continuously, but if you are willing enough and stubborn enough to not let your fear make your decisions for you, then there's nothing that can hold you back.
Accept Your Fear
The first thing you have to do in order to overcome your fear of public speaking is admit the simple fact that you, indeed, are scared. It's perfectly fine to be scared and afraid, but what's not fine is letting that fear control your actions and limit your potential.
You might be scared of what others may think of you if you mess up a certain part, or what they might be talking behind your back if you made a joke and nobody laughed, but let me remind you that if you were courageous enough to front that crowd, you are already way above them.
It's okay to be scared, especially when you are about to do something which you have never done before. In my case, even though I was scared to my very core, my love for making a new memory was far greater than my fear of embarrassment.
I knew that if I mess it up, I won't ever be selected or called up for public speaking again and I would lose all of my future opportunities too. But as I said, you can't let you fear make your decisions for you. You just have to take the risk, and only then, will you get the reward.
See It As An Opportunity
I know this sounds super cliche, but if you want to see yourself develop and grow as a person, you have to step out of that tiny little comfort zone of yours. Most people don't ever truly leave their comfort zone, and that's exactly the reason why they are stuck in mediocrity.
Greatness doesn't need perfection, it needs courage; courage to take initiative and willingly participate in difficult yet opportunistic situations and learn whatever the experience can teach you.
Failing at public speaking sure brings a lot of disappointment and bad memories, but what brings even more regret later in life is realizing that you could have won if only you gave yourself a chance.
Just standing up in front of a big crowd, not giving up even if you are panicking, being able to hold yourself straight up, and speaking even if you are hesitating, is an achievement all in itself.
It's an achievement that you should keep reminding yourself about every time you fear to get back on that stage. You did it before and you shouldn't be afraid to do it again if you are ever given a second chance.
To be honest, public speaking, in most cases, isn't really for the public. It's for your own good. It gives you a platform where you can either make an achievement, or let failure teach you an important lesson.
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