This is hard to admit – I am a hypocrite.
When it comes to people I care about, I always encourage them to step out of their comfort zone, to live a more meaningful life. And I try to practice what I preach. I take work trips to exciting places. I am expanding my vegetable repertoire. I’ve taken up yoga after merely thinking about doing it for a decade.
But when I received an invitation two days ago to really push my comfort limits, I choked. The University of Calgary and the Writers Guild of Alberta are hosting a night of lectures next month geared toward creative people. Someone remembered an article I had written last year on income taxes for writers and asked me to speak on the topic. I have an accounting degree and the topic is one I am familiar with; it’s the thought of public speaking that has me terrified.
I’ve done zero public speaking in my 37 years and, although I am now a mostly former stutterer, the thought of opening my mouth in front of a group of strangers has me panicking. And I am not a panicker by nature. But the opportunity is too great to turn down. Not just for networking and exposure but, even more importantly for me, to do what I encourage others to do and step out of their box.
I will accept the invitation and prepare as much in advance as I can, cursing myself all the while for not joining Toastmasters as I always intended to do. And I will be able to hold my head high and know I am no longer a hypocrite.