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On public speaking & facing fears

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”
– Mark Twain

During GPP2015, I met Nitin, a member of EPyC (one of the biggest photography clubs in Dubai) through a mutual friend. Nitin saw my work and invited me to give a talk during one of the club’s Creative Sparks sessions.
My first instinct was to say no.
And I remember it so clearly because I was standing in the auditorium with a bunch of friends, and Lindsay Adler was there and we were chatting for a while. So Nitin said something like “I have a question for you”. So I turned to look at Lindsay but she was talking to someone else and I said “OH, me?”. And he said yes, and asked me if I would give a talk. I said something like “uhhh.. public speaking is not my thing”.
Public speaking has always been one of my biggest fears. I’m not even going to get into how nervous and panicky it makes me. I told him I would think about it, and a week later, we were emailing back and forth about it and preparing.
I’m not sure why I said yes in the end. But I’m pretty sure that pride might have had something to do with it. There were so many people around when he asked me, and I just didn’t want to look weak I guess. I also didn’t want to let my friends down, they all said I should do it. And I’m glad I did, I remember after it was over I thought “wow, that was not as bad as I thought it would be. I would so do it again!”
And now that I think about it, I also wanted to prove to myself that I can do it.

I also realized that fear can be such an amazing motivator. I love a good challenge. This might make me sound like a rebel (I’m really not, I’m such a goody two-shoes) but when I’m told I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more. When I told myself that I shouldn’t do a talk because what if I fall what if they laugh do I really have anything to say what do I have to offer they’ll just get bored I have a funny accent I have a weird voice I can’t do this I was just like hoooold up.. so what?! So what if I make a fool of myself, it’ll just give them something to laugh at, and maybe even remember me by.
Everyone’s always saying “do one thing everyday that scares you”. There are a billion quotes on fear and how to conquer it. But SO many of us rarely ever do something to face our fears. I can tell you that when you do face a fear and conquer it, it feels amazing. I wouldn’t say I completely conquered my fear of public speaking, I do believe that requires practice. But I did walk out of there thinking “bring on more challenges!”
Now I want to be a Ted speaker (go big or go home, right?).

Here is the first half of the talk. The second half was the live editing but unfortunately, because I had my camera on a tripod, that part doesn’t really show so I cut it out (but if that’s something you guys are interested in seeing, let me know and I might start doing tutorials!)

I know that someday, I’m going to look back at this and cringe. So many um’s, so many awkward pauses, and SO many grammar mistakes. I got so nervous. But this is where I say, hey English isn’t my first language! Haha.

3 Comments

  1. Hello Amani! After my absence is very nice to come here at your blog and be able to talk to you again and see you overcome your fears. I have not seen the video until the end, only the first four minutes. But from what I’ve seen, you’ve been great. And I have no doubt that when I see the rest of the video, later, you will maintain the level. You’re a winner Amani! Stay well! *

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Look Back On 2015 | Amani AlShaali

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