A major event that made me who I am now, or at least instilled the confidence in me, was happening two years ago right now. I can't believe it has been two years since the Vancouver 2010 games and I can't believe it has been two years since I was offered a chance to present at a Rotary Club.
The story of this event was my 2nd blog post of all time and it is a fitting place for my blog to begin because that presentation marked a major event in my life that I can't deny. You see, up to that point in time I had given only one presentation in my normal PowerPoint format and about a dozen police presentations. I knew I could present in the right arena, but that's all I thought I could do. However, after a series of events led to a vacancy for a speaker at the Vancouver Arbutus Rotary Club I was offered the chance to speak.
If it had been up to me I never would have "expanded Kansas" so to speak. What I mean by that is that I would have been perfectly happy to have my 60 minute parent presentation and my 60 minute police presentation without any deviance or change. However, at that Rotary Club, I had 15 minutes and no PowerPoint. For a split second I wanted to say no because, in my mind, who was I and what did I have to offer? The deciding factor was the simple fact that I, if I spoke there, could consider myself an, "international speaker."
Once I said yes I panicked because I had no idea what to say or in what order. Having a PowerPoint is great but it can lead to a presentation that is on rails. Because of this I had to narrow down everything I knew and decide what should make the cut and what should be left out. This doesn't sound like anything major, but back then I was rigid on everything having to be said in specific order.
As much as I wanted to talk the afternoon to the group that just wasn't the case. What I feared though; what I feared and what I thought would be my speaking downfall turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Yes, because I had to look at my presentations and stories and because I had to think on my feet while speaking something changed within me. It was on this day that, for the first time, I was not thinking about what I was saying. And, it was the first time that my humor came through unforced.
Forever I will be grateful for my chance to speak there. If not for that experience I don't know how flexible I would be in presenting. I think I am fairly versatile now, but had I never been forced just a little bit out of my comfort zone I may still only have the same stories and be afraid of trying anything new. It was only 15 minutes on that cloudy February 26th, and the crowd wasn't that big that day, but I will never forget that day as I went from just a speaker to a dynamic presenter.