A few months ago I was contacted by a good mate of mine who I’d known for many years. We’d done Army cadets together and he had also joined the Army, a few years before I did. He was now a Warrant Officer and posted to a transport unit in Townsville.
‘Bill’ decided to get in contact with me after he’d watched a couple of videos I’d released about mindset training and wondered if I’d like to fly up to Townsville and give a mindset seminar to his unit.
I jumped at the chance. However, I was a little nervous as it was out of my comfort zone. Yes, I’d done many talks before, particularly with my previous company, but the attendees always came to us and it was a more aggressive and ‘in your face’ style event.
This seminar talk would be different. It would be 200 soldiers seated in a hall with myself front and centre, talking mindset techniques and strategies for over an hour. I definitely had a little anxiety.
The talk almost never happened. Bill and myself had a slight miscommunication; I had double booked that particular day and I almost cancelled. But I knew that this talk was important for a number of reasons…
- It would be good for business.
- I could help some soldiers and give back to an organisation that had given me so much.
- It would give me a chance to get out of my comfort zone, develop as a speaker, learn some new things and test myself.
I moved some things around and confirmed with Bill that I was able to deliver the seminar. I did, however, have some work to do. I wanted to deliver a great seminar and bring my teaching points across as well as I could.
So what did I do?
I decided to learn some presenting skills and Googled: “How to give a presentation.” My search found this guy whose company is called “Rule The Room Public Speaking.” I enrolled in one of his online courses, which taught me everything I needed to know about giving a killer presentation. I did exactly what I was taught. I wrote out my speech, memorised my opener, as well as every new topic explanation and practiced in real-time my entire speech – 3 times through.
It worked great. I flew up to Townsville, prepared well, conducted some breathing exercises immediately before I presented and was able to deliver a great presentation for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 251 soldiers. From the feedback I received, the soldiers got a lot from my talk and the Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major were suitably impressed with the seminar.
That’s the beauty of getting out of your comfort zone and pushing some boundaries… it helps you to improve and grow as a person, learn new things and put into practice coping mechanisms to help with stress and anxiety.
When you do get the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, take it, but be prepared. Don’t simply jump into a stressful situation blinded. Do your research, prepare yourself adequately, learn from subject matter experts and kick arse!
You’ll build your confidence, fill your bag with new tricks and learn from any mistakes to improve and develop professionally and emotionally.