Photography? Obviously, I can do that. Writing? I do ok in that department too.
But public speaking? Gulp. I've never been particularly good at that. Mind you, it's not for lack of trying - you're looking at one of the best D.A.R.E. Program Graduation speakers in my 5th grade class. And yet, even now the thought of standing in front of a crowd sends my heart rate sky rocketing.
So when Lori suggested to me that I could (and should) create a presentation about my 365 project, I think I outright laughed in her face. I didn't feel qualified or that I even had something people would be interested in hearing about.
Somehow though, (I'm pretty sure there was arm twisting involved), I said yes to sharing a short presentation for the Focus NY Convention. 10 minutes in front of a small crowd wouldn't be too bad, right?
Was I NUTS?! The story I was about to share was deeply personal. Every single time I practiced it out loud, I cried. I was going to be a massive failure. Who cries in front of an audience?! Me, that's who.
So because it was too late to back out, I cried in front of a group of photographers from all over New York State. Speaking what was in my heart out loud, was easily one of the scariest things I think I've ever done.
But as I began to speak/cry the most amazing thing happened. Through the fog of fear, I heard the group supporting me and pushing me to keep going. So I gathered myself and did just that. My confidence grew just enough to get through it.
Here's the thing I hadn't thought of. Everyone in the room that night, had their own story that in some way related to what I was talking about - the passing of time, how fast it goes, and the value of life and love.
As photographers, we often get so caught up in learning the technical aspects of running our businesses, we can sometimes forget why we do it at all.
I want to thank Lori and everyone who listened to me rattle off my nerves and convinced me I could do it. And also everyone who I spoke to afterwards at the convention. I hugged so many friends, old and new, that I came home with a fun new cold virus - but it was worth it. In the end, the whole thing was actually a little therapeutic - because I realized, we're all in this together. The good and the bad.
So yes, it was only 10 minutes, which to some in the world of public speaking, isn't significant. But for me it was an unforgettable 10 minutes. It was a big step outside of my comfort zone and a toe in the water of possibilities.
Until next time,
PS - Lori also presented, and has some thoughts to share about our state convention. Keep an eye out for her interpretation of the weekend!