Friday, February 25, 2011

The annoying thing...

...about trying to overcome something you are afraid of is that it is hard. On some days things go well, and on others you stumble and fall. It seems that there is never a lack of opportunities to give up and consign yourself to your "fate" or the notion that you just can't cut it. The opportunities well up frequently as "butterflies in the stomach" as soon as you are faced with what you are trying to overcome.

I'm very familiar with the sensation. I felt it the first time I played lacrosse. I felt it every time I took to the pitch for a rugby match. I felt it the first time I stepped into the boxing ring, when I went skydiving, and when I interviewed with BCG.

Nowadays, I feel it when it comes to public speaking. I was doing well trying to address it during my first year at Kellogg, when I took Managerial Communications and jumped on a lot of opportunities to practice, but this year I've had far less opportunities (and I've taken my eyes off the prize), so I've noticed myself regressing toward the mean. It's annoying. And it's frustrating.

The first 10 minutes of the Sneak Peek panel I was on today did not go well. I felt the dread creeping up over me as my turn to introduce myself approached. I knew it was going to be messy, and it was. Fortunately, after those 10 minutes, I settled down and started enjoying the experience, but man...those first 10 minutes were intense.

Pretty much every time I take on anything that involves public speaking, I know that there is a 70/30 chance that I'll feel that surge of dread, but it's a risk that I have to take because otherwise I'd just have to give up...and that's not how I roll. And sometimes the cards don't work in my favor, and I wind up embarrassed, but sometimes, things go my way and I see the potential that awaits if I just keep trying.

I know this was a self-serving post, but I needed to get it out of me. It's times like today that I'm grateful to be one stubborn fellow, because no matter how many times I fall off the horse, I'm going to get right back on.

Now, let's wrap this up with an inspirational song! Expletive yeah!


  1. Hi Orlando,

    I love your attitude :)

    I've read your entire blog and I must say it helps a lot especially when I was trying to decide among schools. Thanks so much for blogging - the information is really valuable!

    I can't wait to go to Kellogg this AUG :)

  2. If you need any more chances to practice, there is always the Kellogg public speaking club...

  3. @Anonymous - Thanks a lot! I'm really glad to hear that you found the blog useful in choosing schools. I had the same experience when I was choosing one, and that's what made me start this one. The wait until Aug is going to be rough, but you'll have an amazing once you get here. Lots of excitement in the air with the new dean and potential going forward.

    @Shobhit - Thanks man! I actually got on the clubs website to see when the next meeting was. I didn't see one this week, but I plan on being there for the next one.

  4. Practice definitely helps..but why the dread? You are a Kellogg MBA, ie you're in a top 5 MBA Program in the shouldn't feel the dread that you're somehow inferior to your audience in front of whom you're speaking.

  5. That's what I'm counting on.

    I wish I knew the source of the dread. I don't really consider myself superior or inferior to anyone, and I've never had a problem in small groups or informal settings, it's just those dang, formal public speaking things get to me....


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