I was reminded this week that I have changed quite significantly over the past few years. The memory that surfaced was some ten or fifteen years back. It was of my husband around the time of New Years taking a day for reflection. He quite faithfully would think about the year that had passed and set goals for the upcoming one. Not me. Not back then anyway. I recall really hating the idea and being firmly rooted in the notion that I was more of an “in the moment” person. Perhaps the resistance was more to do with not being disappointed by the past year and not setting myself up for failure in the upcoming one than it was about being in the moment.
This is not a blog post about new years resolutions. It’s more about self-reflection, about living on purpose and about the work that a sense of who we are and where we’re going does in our lives.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at an International Women’s Day Event. If you know anything about my journey, you’ll know that just 18 months ago I was terrified of public speaking – ice in my veins, no thoughts in my head kind of terrified. So why would I say yes to speaking in front of 200 people for half an hour? The decision had everything to do with knowing what I value and having a clear sense of my life purpose. These things didn’t make the decision easy, but they made it crystal clear. The process of preparing for the event itself – writing the speech, rehearsing, imagining myself in front of all those people – was challenging. What I kept going back to was this – the things I was honouring by saying yes to doing the speech. What surprised me the most, was being at the location the day before the event. I imagined, as I saw all the tables being set up for the following day, that fear would begin to take hold. What I found instead, was some butterflies, but also a deep sense of joy and of living on purpose. Knowing what I value, what my purpose is, makes a difference in how I cope in real-life, challenging situations – like giving a speech in front of 200 people. What I traded by being clear on what matters to me, was paralyzing fear for butterflies, joy and a deep sense of purpose.
By the way, Toastmasters is an excellent program for helping you practise getting over the fear of public speaking. Connect with me if you want to know more about that, or if you want to come as a guest to the club I attend. If you’d like to do some work on defining your own life purpose and values, I’d love to have a conversation with you about coaching.