Going outside your comfort zone can be overwhelming. Even if the step you are taking is a tiny one, it can still cause quite a bit of anxiety.
I was asked to give a four-minute talk at a networking event called Sparks. It is a similar format as the TED Talks with two four-minute presenters and a ten-minute presenter. The talks are focused on ideas worth sharing – not about promoting your business.
This would not seem like a problem for me, as I am a talker. I love facilitating workshops and speaking so I was thrilled to present. It also let me be creative in what I wanted to talk about. I’m a creative person so again, this shouldn’t have been an issue.
I chose to talk about gratitude and for the metaphors use one thing I love: dogs.
It is all sounding good and I was getting excited.
But here is the thing: I wanted it to be good and what I found was I was running over on my time.
If that were to happen I would immediately be clapped off the stage – so it is a strict four minutes.
Now the anxiety started creeping in, it was getting out of my comfort zone because I was not able to control all the factors.
Do I trim the talk to make it fit but loose some of the punch?
Do I start over thinking of a new angle but loose the excitement of what I want to use?
Do I adjust my talking speed in the middle to account for the timing?
I realized that there is no way that I could really say what I wanted, in the format and flow that I wanted in a “normal” way in four minutes so what I needed to do what use one of my other talents – the ability to talk really fast.
If I sped up in the middle of my talk the cadence would throw people off and possibly loose them. But if I started and stayed at high speed it would be consistent and just might work.
People can listen to fast talking and get what is said.
The result – about an eight minute talk in four minutes that was very well received. Oh sure, the speed talking was entertaining, but people also got the message; they heard it, they understood it and hopefully someone got it.
This experience reminded me of a line of thinking that I believe my dad instilled in me: use what you’ve got.
I was a short kid, a skinny kid and a girl. I was also a tomboy so all the prior qualities were kind of detriments to that. But he taught me to use what I’ve got to do what I want. No excuses, just alternatives.
Instead of looking at a problem or goal and thinking about how you cannot accomplish it because you lack certain things, he taught me to look at it and figure out how I am going to succeed based on what I have or know.
Whether you are stuck in a situation, take a step back and think about using what you’ve got to solve the problem. You may not have the education that a company is looking for in hiring for a position, but maybe you have the experience or life skills that compensate or outshine that diploma. Use what you’ve got.
And use it to your advantage.
Here is a link to the video of the talk, I hope you enjoy it.
I think my dad would have, but he certainly would not have been surprised by the speed talking. He got used to that many years ago.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer