Alicia Pepito- Hatch’s Front Desk Supervisor and Marketing Specialist
I recently spoke on a panel for a local university, and although it was to encourage students and answer their questions about the career I previously pursued, I couldn’t help but be nervous. Crazy right? Why am I nervous to tell my story and explain why I chose my studied field? There isn’t technically a wrong answer, so why was I getting all worked up? As far as I have been told from my boss, I am good at what I do! This should be a cake walk… Oh, but my nerves told a completely different story.
I guess I should start by saying that I am a terrified public speaker. The panel was optional, and I could have easily opted out of it. So why didn’t I decline the invitation when I was approached by the university? Let me explain my few reasons why.
- Comfort zones are your secret enemy. Sure, they are a soft blanket that protects us from our own insecurities, but they are detrimental to our personal and professional growth. I knew speaking on the panel was not something I was prepared for and most definitely not something I would have sought out on my own but absolutely something I needed to conquer as it was a personal fear. The outcome wasn’t terribly awful either.
- Someone thought that I would be a great value to this panel for their students and I could provide something insightful in the advice I had to give. That alone was an encouraging thought. Someone cares about what I think and who was I to tell them they have the wrong person? Which leads me to my last reason.
- Believe in your worth. During the panel I was asked for my advice for students struggling to find jobs after college. My response was reactionary but simple: apply for everything and anything that is of interest to you! I never worried about whether the job description said three to five years of experience required, because I knew I could sell myself to the company as long as they were willing to take my attitude over a year or two of additional experience. Confidence was key to my success and I was my own salesperson. All I had to do was prove to them that I was the right person for the job!
Ultimately, there is a great amount of truth behind the phrase “little risk, little reward.” Had I not taken the panel invitation, I never would have put myself out there and done it. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I enjoyed it, but I am 100% more comfortable speaking in public than I was before. I proved to myself and others that what I have to say matters and does in fact hold value. And I spoke with confidence! Risks do equal reward because of the growth you can gain as a result. Even if you fail, there is a lesson to learn from your experiences and as a result, you are growing. Now if you fail, don’t let the fear of doing it again prevent you from getting right back on the horse and trying again. Hardly anyone gets it right the first time. So, go ahead! Go try new things! What are you afraid of?