Posted by: Kennedy | November 3, 2011

Do something once a day that scares you

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

I first heard this quote in my Professional Skills class, a particularly awesome class I just finished that focused on public speaking.

Like many people, I’ve always had a lot of anxiety about speaking in public. And though I was dreading the class, it turned out to be one of my favourite courses at IHN. During the course I did:

- a 3 minute speech about my foam roller

- a “one minute stand,” where I literally stood in front of the class in silence for 60 seconds (awkward, but really great, exercise)

- a 4 minute speech about replacing New Year’s resolutions with ‘‘

- a 5 minute speech about how the birth control pill affects our nutrient status

- a passage reading of my choosing (I chose to read  I wrote about my struggles with binge eating)

- a 10 minute food demonstration (I made a modified version of )

By the end of the course, I felt a noticeable improvement in my level of nervousness as well as my dependency on note cards. It’s true that the more you do something, the more comfortable you become doing it. But even more significant for me was realizing along the way that my nerves actually stem from a fear of failure, not a fear of public speaking itself.

It’s no secret that I am a bit of a perfectionist, another manifestation of fear of failure. I want to be accepted by the audience, and in my mind, unless I give a flawless presentation I won’t earn that acceptance. I was working myself up, asking: “What if I’m not funny?” “What if I’m boring?” “What if I stumble?” “What if I have a panic attack?” Damn those “What Ifs”! 

But through class discussions and exercises led by our very inspirational instructor, I realized something: No one, except me, expected me to be perfect. It seems like such a simple and obvious statement, doesn’t it? But it completely shifted my approach to the speeches. I stopped worrying about whether I said everything exactly “right.” I got over myself and just did it. 

That said… we started a new class today and the first thing we had to do was take turns walking to the front of the room, where the teacher asked us questions on the spot, such as “What is your gift in life?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And my stomach jumped into my throat. 

But hey – it’s practice. And practice makes perfect does wonders for the nerves.

And now, for your viewing pleasure… scenes from our 3 delicious days of food demonstrations! 

My classmates have got some mad culinary skills, yo. Can’t wait to make some of these!

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Responses

  1. Wow, great looking food!!!
    I used to get soooo nervous playing piano in front of people. Then one day it occurred to me that everyone in the room wanted me to do well, and were not there to criticize…just as i would be encouraging of anyone who was brave enough to play the piano in front of an audience. I decided i should have more faith in the audience, that they were not going to think any less of me if i made a few mistakes……..it really took the pressure off me so i can relax and just enjoy playing. Same as you getting more comfortable getting up in front of people…..great advice Ken……we should all just get over ourselves and stop taking ourselves so seriously!!


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