Yup, I’m human (even though I can do things on the pole that make me seem like a superhero!). I have fears and things in life that I’m too scared to do. So today I want to tell you about how I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something I thought I’d never be able to do…
I spent a few days in London last week at an event called ‘Mega Training’, which is not a rock ‘n’ roll event as the name might suggest, but it is the world’s number one conference for fitness business leaders. Sounds pretty heavy going right? And it was, but awesome!
I’ve had an amazing year growing the Irish Pole Dance Academy from a small pole fitness studio, in an abandoned Dublin warehouse, into one of the best pole studios in the world, and expanding with our sister studio in Galway, Studio 53. We’ve also grown our team from myself, Lauren and Kathleen to a team of 10 ladies! We welcomed Kelly, Jillian, Leanne, Olga, Sarah, Ariel, Racheal and Taryn to the team. I count myself very lucky to be surrounded my a team of such awesome ladies!
In order to grow over the past year I’ve had to push myself out of my comfort zone, many times, and the greatest of all happened during the last week at Mega Training. I conquered my (irrational) fear of public speaking!
I was selected as a ‘Member of the Year’ in the business development group that I am a member of. This was in recognition of the growth of Irish Pole Dance Academy over the past 12 months (yay!). Being nominated for this title, meant that I had to make a presentation about the company in front of my peer group and some of the world’s top fitness business leaders at the conference.
You might be thinking at this point, ‘But Arlene, you dance around a pole half-naked in front of very large crowds, and you do Burlesque, why would you be scared of public speaking?’. It’s an irrational fear that I cannot explain. Surveys show that for a lot of adults, their fear of public speaking is far worse than their fear of death! We all have irrational fears, and that’s ok. But letting the fear dictate our choices in life is not ok.
I was sweating profusely and could feel my heart beating out of my chest as I walked on that stage to make my presentation to a crowded room of around 200 people. But once I stepped on the stage and got the first few words out of the way, my fears just melted away. All of the hours I had spent fretting and scared about the presentation had been a massive waste of time! I enjoyed telling all of my fellow fitness entrepreneurs my story about how I created IPDA and how we have overcome challenges to become one of the best studios in the world. I may have dropped a few errant f-bombs (in true Arlene style), but in spite of that I had a blast on stage and everyone enjoyed my presentation! Boom!
I wouldn’t have gotten up on that stage unless my awesome business coach, Chris, set me the challenge. When I got selected for the ‘Member of the Year’ award, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t let him down by making a mess of the presentation, or by simply backing out. But then I realized that I needed to do this for myself; to push past my fear and to not be held back by it! The easy option would have been to decline and not bother getting on the stage. But I knew I needed to put my ‘big girl pants’ on!
Taking charge of my fear and getting up on that stage was a truly liberating experience for me. While I may not have won the award for ‘Member of the Year’ (big shout out to the deserving winner Josh Rylatt!), I feel like I won a personal battle with my emotions and I now know that I can easily get up on stage for another public speaking gig!
They say that “fear is one of the greatest illusions that prevents many of us from achieving greatness”. You have to do the scary things; the things that make you feel scared to death, or want to cry or turn into a babbling mess. Facing your fears is one of the most rewarding things that you can do.
Now, here’s my challenge to you. Which fear is preventing you from achieving greatness? And what will you do to overcome it?
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