There’s a group of people where I work that get together every other Friday to practice public speaking. The group leader emails out a couple of topics at the beginning of the week, and each person who would like to speak has 5 minutes to present their topic. It’s a great opportunity to regularly practice speaking in front of a group.
Although I love the creative process of getting a topic, thinking about what I want to communicate, and crafting my presentation, at some point during the process I briefly think, “I don’t have to talk this week. I could just pass this time, then I wouldn’t have to do all this work to prepare.” That’s the voice of fear that thinks it’s easier not to put yourself out there, to play it safe, and not to take chances.
I don’t listen to that voice. Instead, I double-down on my preparation efforts.
Every time I finish a presentation, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at having prepared and delivered a good speech. If I’d have listened to that voice, I would have missed that feeling, as well as the experience that came with it.
We all have that voice, the one that urges us to hold back and play it safe. And we all have the same freedom: to succumb to that voice’s false warning or to ignore it and press on.
I wonder how much joy, satisfaction, accomplishment, encouragement, innovation, experiences, personal growth, and love in the world is lost every day, because people listen to this voice.
The next time you hear this voice calling you to hold back and play it safe, tune it out, and instead press on and do great things.