Thursday, 31 January 2013

I beat F.E.A.R with all I had

Some people say FEAR means Forget Everything And Run.
This was exactly how I felt, as I stood, representing my group, in front of the Head of Risk Management and other members of the panel.
We were the most ill-prepared group in the entire training school.
We started preparations early, but due to one thing or the other, we were not ready.
That morning, while others polished their presenting skills, we were preparing (not even editing) our slides.
We hadn't finished when we were told to go to our classes, for the presentation.
We started zooming through the slides.
Suddenly, the guy in charge of the overall presentation came to our group and told us to use another financial data, which meant we had to discard the ones we had prepared several days ago.
Due to being pressed for time, we couldn't go through it, to check for completeness. If we had, we would have seen that the current year's data wasn't filled, and stuck to ours.
We went into the class, while some of us went to print copies of the slides, as stipulated, and got embarrassed by the man in charge, as others had done theirs much earlier.
There was still a bulky form to submit, and we hadn't filled a thing; neither had we gone through the new financial data, which we had just been instructed to include in our slides.
Like these weren't bad enough, we were yet to select the two members that would present, on behalf of the group.

Then the panel members entered.
Fortunately, we were going to be the 3rd to present.
While others were presenting/listening, we were hiding behind others to talk in hushed tones and pass notes on our plans.

It was a horrible experience!

My group members wanted another group member and me, to present. I acquiesced.
I then started going through the printed copies of the slides, when I realized that the financial data of the year being examined, was incomplete.
I lost my confidence immediately.
I told my group members I wasn't going to present anymore (I was the one to present the financial data) as standing before a crowd wasn't my cup of tea, then to now have to present incomplete financial data, which would make me appear clueless, would simply bowl me over.
The group before us were already presenting, so we had to decide fast.
My colleagues encouraged me to still go ahead.

I quickly scanned through the data, chose to be proactive about the missing data, by telling them that I'll have to use the previous year's data, as the current year's unavailable, and prepped myself up, to be ready.

Our turn had come!
With uncountable butterflies in my tummy, I got up, alongside my colleagues, and walked to the front.
When it was my turn to present, I stepped out and continued from where my Co-presenter stopped.
At a point during my presentation, F.E.A.R descended upon me, and I took a look at the door.
I kept talking, while thinking about how good it would be to just bolt out the door, and forget the presentation, but I carried on.
At the end, the financial data I was scared of was not faulted, since I had been proactive about it, instead of reacting to a complaint.
My group members and other colleagues kept congratulating me and telling me I did a fabulous job.
They said I looked so confident and well put-together, like I had been used to presenting.
When I told one of them about the FEAR situation, he found it hard to believe.

The results were announced soon after, and we came second!  
I was shocked!
Before the presentation, I expected our group to come last, but God helped us to beat the circumstances we were in, as well as the poor preparation, and we came second.
Incidentally, the group I had expected to come first, and seriously envied, based on their early preparation, team members with specialised skills, and eloquent presenters, came last.
I had learnt a great lesson.

  • It's been proven that most times, what we worry about never comes to actualisation, so shelve worry on the shelf.
There's a quote I read in a novel, and have held on to, for close to 2 decades; it goes thus "trying beats not trying". Better to try, fail and learn, than never to have tried at all. Take a step today.
  • If you're shaky when facing a crowd, never mind. The important thing is for you to have mastered the art of keeping a calm exterior. A lot of accomplished orators/speakers still get experience stage fright, but they've learnt to keep it hidden, while maintaining a calm, confidence exterior.
  • Believe in yourself. You can succeed. Instead of envying the gifts and blessings of others, sharpen and fully utilize yours and you will end up surpassing your self-expectations.
  • Put aside unhealthy comparison. Focus at being better than who you were, yesterday. Even the bible says that a wise man doesn't compare himself with others.
  • Be proactive, rather than reactive. If I hadn't explained the missing data, we would have been marked down, as I'll be questioned on it, and anything I would say thereon would seem to be mere excuses.
  • Never lie! There's no point. Asides the fact that it alienates you from God, who detests lying.
  • Never forget that with you holding on to God, you can never fall without rising.
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