I went to Toronto earlier this month and got to hang out with my beloved Collective Evolution team. Since moving from Toronto last March to Victoria, I have been working remotely for CE and rarely get to see everyone. It was a much-needed visit and time to reconnect with everyone on the Eastside.
While there, on my last day in town actually, I was on my way to have lunch with a friend at my favourite restaurant, Fresh, when I received a text message from Joe, CE’s founder: “Can you speak at the Meeting of the Minds event on behalf of CE for me tonight? I’m not feeling well.” Initially, I was thinking, Pfff… yah right. Me? Speak in public, at an event? Are you kidding? I recalled the last time I tried to speak in public, at another CE related event back in 2014; I got up there in front of only eight or so people, started talking, and then completely froze. I thought I could just get up there and start speaking, but the words wouldn’t come to my mouth. I was mortified and cried for hours after — how humiliating!
But as much as my initial reaction was heeeeeelll no, there was also a feeling of intrigue and excitement. I thought to myself how far I’ve come since that initial mortifying experience with public speaking. Part of me was also flattered that I was even asked, and trusted to take over, and the more I thought about it, the more I recognized that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, and that if I did, I would regret it. I also believe that everything happens for a reason, so despite my fear and my initial reaction, I knew that it was something I had to do.
I had to do this for a few reasons. One was the obvious — to face the fear. The second has to do with authenticity. I talk about this kind of stuff all the time; if you have read any of my articles, you may recall how I often talk about being the change, stepping outside your comfort zone, facing your fears, being bold, etc. So how could I not follow my own instruction?
Another reason was that Kalee, another fellow CE team member, had to speak at a CE event we had while I was there, and she was nervous, but I was instructing her to just breathe, and go for it, and she would be fine, so how could I then not take my own advice? The thing is, we have to walk the talk. This is so important. I can’t just run around giving out advice all the time and then not taking it. Walking the talk is a really important factor in not only personal power, but speaking with integrity, being authentic, and ultimately, changing the world. Here was this opportunity lying in front of me, so how could I say no?
So I decided to do it. My friend Cam and I had a delicious lunch and then we went and bought some cue cards from a store and I started preparing my speech that I had very little time to prepare for. The theme of the speech was the importance of conscious media. I decided that I wanted to share my story, about who I am and how I am connected to Collective Evolution, what brought me to the team in the first place, why conscious media is important for me, why conscious media is important for the world, etc. I also wanted to share with everyone that I was nervous, and that I had fear, but that I was deciding to face it
I had to be at the venue at 9 p.m., as I was supposed to speak at 9:30, and I got there just in time. My friend and co-worker Giovanni was just finishing up his speech. I was so excited to get it done and over with and I was feeling nervous, but I just kept reminding myself to breathe, which helped tremendously. I was ready. But then, I waited. Other speakers ended up going before me and taking quite a while. By the time it was my turn it was 11 p.m. and I had to be up at 6 a.m. for my flight back home to Victoria. I wasn’t even nervous anymore, just ready to get it done.
So I went up and began my speech. And you know what? I did really well. I got some laughs, people were engaged, my friends were impressed. I only forgot one part of my speech and at the end everyone clapped and some people even cheered. People were coming up to me to tell me that they couldn’t believe that I hadn’t spoken in public before, and they thought I did really well. I was so relieved, and I wondered, What was I so afraid of?
What if I hadn’t gone through with it? I would have continued telling myself the same story — that I wasn’t capable, that I didn’t know what to say, that no one cares about what I have to say in the first place, and so on. But I did it, and now, I no longer have those feelings about myself. I know I’m capable because I did it, and now the only thing I’m thinking is, What’s next? I feel like I’ve up-levelled myself and I’m wondering what else I am capable of. They say public speaking is one of the biggest fears, and now I’ve worked through it, and it wasn’t even that bad. Are our fears really fears? Or just mind traps that are designed to keep our ego minds safe?
Are you letting your fears hold you back in life? I’m hoping my story inspires you to face those fears. Anxiety is just excitement without the breath. Are you even afraid or are you really just excited because you know it’s something you should be doing? If I can do it, so can you. Be bold, take action, face your fears, and be the change! It’s time. What are you waiting for?
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