On Taking Chances

Last weekend I gave the commencement speech at School of Advertising Art in Dayton. With fifty-five graduates, family and friends, instructors and staff from the school, the audience was a total of about 500 people. To be honest, when they first asked me I was petrified and about to say no, but Catherine talked me into it.

What an incredible experience! Feeling completely unprepared for what I had just agreed to, I spent two weeks of intense work with a speech coach. He helped me develop topics, write a speech and practice, practice, practice. It was hard, stressful, frustrating…yes, at one point there was a meltdown over how I was going to deliver the opening line.

But I’d do it all over again. By pushing myself to do something I was absolutely not comfortable with, I learned a lot about the process and myself. Now I’m much more confident anytime someone asks me to speak. I know how to organize a topic, structure a speech and work on the delivery. More than anything, I know I can do it. And confidence is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Believing that you can do something is half the battle.

I seem to do something about once a year that I feel absolutely afraid of, overwhelmed by, or unqualified for. And it always turns out to be an amazing experience! I encourage you to try something completely outside of your comfort zone. The reward and thrill of accomplishing your goal is absolutely worth it.