As long as it makes for a story, do it!

Sometimes, we are presented with a plethora of opportunities. Sometimes, none at all. But whenever we try to grab an opportunity and work towards it, we fear too much about the failure and embarrassment. We either don’t perform to the best of our abilities or don’t perform at all. More often than not, I fell into both the categories.

I have been part of the SAP SpeakToLead Toastmasters fraternity (a forum to improve public speaking and leadership abilities — http://bit.ly/2dlVdER) since June, 2015. I have proactively taken up all the roles from Timer to Evaluator except the table topic speaker. Every single time, when the table topic session (impromptu speaking) starts, I would become anxious and terrified. I would pray that nobody calls out my name as I was awfully scared that I would never be able to talk impromptu. This continued for a year until the club level table topics contest was announced in 2016. But this time, I mustered up courage and contested. I practiced on few general topics and geared up for the D-day. But to my dismay, I stuttered, stammered and mumbled on the topic in front of a large crowd in a large auditorium. After a minute, I even forgot the topic and came back to my seat with utter humiliation.

Then, a week later, I was able to talk about it to people joyfully. This got me into thinking. Whenever you are going to give a speech, take an exam, sit for an interview, or be it anything that you are afraid of, only two things are going to happen. Either you will come out with flying colors and find your strong suit or you will fail, learn and have a fun story to talk about in dinner conversations. But you are definitely not going to lose anything.

One best thing that happened with the contest was that I never had the fear of table topic sessions after failing big and started volunteering for the table topics readily in the weekly meetings.

So, do not overthink about the repercussions and just take the plunge as you will always have a story to talk about.