Standing in front others and talking has always been a difficult task for me. I think it stems from the fact that I am a lot more of an introvert and than an extrovert. Combine this with the fact that I lean heavily toward the shy side, I guess it is little wonder that I am always major nervous when it comes to public speaking.
Running is not exactly a sport that requires a lot of public speaking, and working with software, well, some of the biggest introverts in the world have found a home writing software.
Then, there was is the old saying “better people think you are stupid, than opening your mouth and proving that you are stupid”. I guess I just take this one to heart way too much.
I remember a couple of speeches that I gave during high school: one in FFA and the other was in English class. For the FFA, I had to stand in front of these FFA organization officials and talk for 10 minutes about any topic of their choosing. I remember words coming out of my mouth, but I don’t recall if they really made any sense. I can only assume so. I got a passing grade for it. I certainly didn’t win the competition.
Then, there was my English class speech. I don’t even recall the topic of my speech. I just remember how nervous that I was to be standing in front of my peers and hoping what I said made sense. It is funny when I think about it now. I remember my English teacher Mrs. Wallace asking for volunteers. No hands went up so I slowly raised my hand. I figured better to go first and have done than follow someone else and be held to their standards. Truer words have never been spoken. Holly Sandell followed me with her speech and talked about solving the problems of the world. I am impressed and still remember some of her speech to today. I was also glad that I wasn’t Rod because he went next and had a tough act to follow.
This all brings me to an email early last week from Meredith. She asked if I was willing to speak to the Country Day Cross Country team about running.
Now, I have passion for running, and probably second only to this passion is talking about running. So even thou, I still get nervous standing in front of others, I still agreed.
Once on the hook, I then spent the next 5 day making bullet points of the topics that I wanted to cover. I certainly didn’t want to talk off the cuff.
It was a good thing that I didn’t have to shake too many hands before talking. My palms were pretty sweating. I believe there was some sweat popping out on my forehead.
Meredith introduced me, and I started my talk. I had been over my bullet point list so many times that it was practically imprinted on my brain. I still think I was talking too fast, but I made sure to do all of the right things. I slowed down, look at the people around me, and remembered to breathe. LOL.
I talked about my first days of running and talked about the day that I started my current running streak. I talked about the determination, focus, and commitment that it takes to be successful. I talked about days when running felt easy and the days when it doesn’t. I talked about pushing through the pain that is soreness and know when it is something more. I talked about learning to “race” and learning how to “race”. I talked about pre and post workout routines. I finished off the speech with a Q&A session.
Afterwards, I stayed to answer any questions that they might have. I know what it means to ask a question in front of a group, and I felt people needed an opportunity to ask their questions one on one.
Did I do a good job with my talk? Well, I give myself a “C” for it, but I did it and I am glad that I did do it.
It is far too easy to live our lives inside a shell. We all need from time to time to crack open our shells and push through our fears. Fear far too often stands in our way. We let it hold us back from becoming the person that we are capable of being.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner