Jumping In

Today I delivered the second of my WhiteBag sessions on NoSQL in work and it was a great feeling. To understand fully why I need to go back a bit to my school days. On one occasion I remember my French teacher giving off that I was too timid to turn the page in my book in case I did it at the wrong time. I was that shy. I hated having everyone’s attention on me and the thought of getting something wrong and embarrassing myself in front of people meant I avoided offering an answer. To be honest it didn’t hold me back too much at school but in recent times I’ve really felt it is affecting me reaching my true potential.

I’ve been determined to overcome this fear of public speaking by putting myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable again and again until I desensitise myself. Trying to speak up more through my blog and offering to talk when I get the chance.

What’s the point of this post well I just want to say take every chance you get in work to put yourself in situations outside of your comfort zone because those are often the ones where you learn the most. The company is not going to put you in a role that they don’t believe you can succeed in. What benefit is it to them to set you up to fail? None. They maybe just have a little more believe in you than you do yourself.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t wait for the perfect moment when you feel like a complete expert. A bit like being ready to be a parent it often never happens. Sometimes you just have to jump in. You’ll be surprised how well you cope.

People will have opinions and they won’t be afraid to express them but it’s all in how you take things. Filter out the negative unproductive ones but be open to the ones that help you learn and develop. For example prior to giving my WhiteBag the only person who had heard my presentation was me. Hearing people’s questions after the first run through with a real audience gave me a real sense of what I had explained well and what I needed to make more clear. After a few tweaks I was much happier with my second run through and I am sure if I did it again it would be better.

I’ve got a lot out of the WhiteBag experience. It is a real confidence boost being able to present for that length of time to a group of my peers on a topic that I find so interesting. Hopefully the guys attending got some benefit too.