Blog by Toby Welch

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Comfort Zone

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.