From a very early age, I was always the person you would see but not hear. I always hid if any opportunity to speak arose. I started realising that I was missing out on opportunities because of my fear for public speaking. I realised that sometimes silence can be mistaken for incompetence.
I decided that I needed to start taking part in activities that would allow me to step out. At the beginning of 2015, I made a decision to start learning a new skill every year. So in 2015, at the age of 30 something, I went and faced my fear of water which came about as a result of a near drowning when I was a child. So I went and learnt how to swim. In 2016, I started learning how to play the piano. In 2017, I started running half marathons.
In 2018, I started doing research into programs that would teach me how to speak. There was nothing I wanted more than to get over my fear of public speaking. After trying all sorts of impersonal online courses, in October 2018, I joined Resolve Toastmasters.
It totally exceeded my expectations because over and above having people in my club that encouraged me, I also found that I got an opportunity to be a leader. The first step was the ice breaker. After practicing my speech over and over again, I presented it to fellow members whose sole purpose was to support me through my journey. After that first step I realised that I had it in me.
It has been an interesting journey of learning and self-development. I am excited about the road ahead.