Fear is a liar. I have a shirt displaying these words and some days I believe the quote and others, well, I'd rather curl up in a ball and hide under the covers.
On March 2, 2019, I walked through a door, onto a stage with a spotlight focused on yours truly. It's the most terrifying stage I'd been on in all my life.
I'm a professional speaker and the weeks leading up to this event, TEDxCalvin, I'd spoken to hundreds of people from a women's retreat, a church service, and a women's giving circle but there was one big difference.
With the three events, I mentioned I had notes. I don't read from them, but they are a guide to keep me on track, and within the timeframe, I'd been given.
TEDxCalvin, there were no notes, no PowerPoint, just my memory.
I'd spent months and months rehearsing. Sometimes I recited the talk perfectly, and other times I blanked. I mean to the point I couldn't remember anything. No words flowed from my mouth.
Blanking was my biggest fear.
What would I do if I started my talk and all of a sudden, poof, my talk was gone. I'd make an incredible fool of myself in front of hundreds of people. Strangers.
Do you want to know what happened? I confidently walked out onto that stage and gave a flawless performance. I'd done something that I almost let fear kill. Speaking on the TEDx stage was a big dream of mine. It's a hurdle I needed to jump to grow as a speaker and expand my audience.
Why do I share all of this? Because I know there is something you want to do. Right now with the pandemic fear is floating around everywhere. Some for good reason, and other for not.
What's your TEDx? What's the thing you've been putting off that's going to take your personal or professional life to the next level?
Author and pastor Chris Hodges writes, "Courage is the condition of your heart that allows you to believe you'll succeed without knowing how you'll succeed."
When I applied for a TEDx talk, I didn't know how I was going to succeed. I honestly didn't think about the stage. I just had the courage to apply.
Applying wasn't scary. Well, okay, maybe a little. But if I didn't apply, I'd never be able to speak on the stage.
I'm guessing that's how your BIG dream is. The end result is scary; that's why you haven't taken steps to pursue it. But usually, the first step and sometimes the subsequent steps aren't that bad.
The worst part of TEDx was the final step, but I knew I'd put in the hard work. I'd left nothing to chance. I put in hours of hours of rehearsals. I had lots of people praying for me. I truly prayed and believed that God had given me the opportunity, that he'd laid a path for me and all I had to do was walk through the door. Have a little faith and trust that everything was going to be okay.
And you know what, if I would have completely bombed on the stage, I'd at least gone down having the courage to succeed instead of wondering if I had what it took to grace the stage, constantly living in regret, wondering if my speaking career was staying steady because I hadn't been a daring woman to take a leap of courage.
My friend, you only have one life to live. Will you live in fear or courage? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"