I realized two things today:
1) Facing fears and stepping up to the plate = success
2) seeking appreciation from others is futile. People will either recognize you for what you are – the good, the bad, the heart and soul of intentions and actions – or they won’t. It’s your responsibility to take it one step further and to do good anyway, for the sake of Goodness itself.
On the first point: I received a call this morning from the chair of my youth network, asking if I could give a speech on my experience with the network and the things I’ve learned/gained. The keynote speaker had been unable to attend last minute and they needed back up. My immediate thought, bred from pure impulse, was to say “no thank you” and hang up. Reason being simple: I have been, for as long as I can remember, completely terrified of public speaking. Even if ‘the public’ consisted only of a handful of people – the results are equally disastrous: words get stuck in my throat, my voice takes on unfavorable changes in pitch, and in what feels like flurry of inexplicable panic, I sometimes lose complete track of what I’m trying to say. Needless to say, I have always known my strengths… and I’ve always known that public speaking wasn’t one of them. But something happened differently today. To my complete shock, I found myself saying “sure, I’d love to” instead of the habitual no. only after I hung up did I realize what I’d gotten myself into: coming up with something intelligent and significant to say to the council and our guests (which included upper management) in little under an hour. in retrospect though, this is what did it. Once I realized that there was no turning back, the fear began to become insignificant. I had promised, and now I had to deliver, whether I was terrified or not. They say that the first step is always the hardest – I guess that this proves true in cases like this. knowing there is no way out helps push you past the irrational fear and face the challenge head on.
With an hour to prep, I jotted down a few points I wanted to cover and, at the risk of sounding cliché, just went for it. No second guessing, no over thinking it, and i realized how this helped reduce the anxiety I usually would be feeling. often over preparing and forcing yourself to stick to a predetermined flow can have adverse consequences and just make you more nervous.
Right before it was my turn to go up, the familiar panic came knocking on my door, right on cue, and that’s when I realized – the only way past this is to speak from the heart. Know your topic well and be passionate about it. So I took that monumental deep breath and dove in. I spoke with conviction because I really believed in what I was saying – in my network, my organization, and the work we had been doing. The people I worked with, from my peers to our upper management that had made all of this possible. A voice for the youth. A necessary platform for innovation in the public sector.
When I was done, I wasn’t sure how it had gone – but I was glad. so glad that I’d forced myself to do this, and to my relief, it seemed like I hadn’t made a complete fool of myself. People were clapping, smiling and nodding.
It wasn’t until later, when I went around greeting and saying hello, that one by one, I was complimented on my “amazing speech”, on how well I had spoken and my strong delivery – all of which caught me by complete surprise. It was my turn to smile.
Lesson of this story: step up to the plate, face your fears, and exercise pure intentions. Speak from the heart and nothing can go wrong.
On the second point – they say there is no point crying over spilled milk. But who hasn’t ? We’ve all sat around pondering on why ifs, working ourselves up about things that went wrong, mistakes that we made, opportunities missed. But what I’ve also managed to do after this initial mourning period, is to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Fixing, mending, salvaging what can be salvaged. Making the best of the situation. helping heal wounded hearts. Learning from the mistakes of the past so they do not become regrets of the future. What I learned today is that there is no guarantee of reward or due recognition in any of this. There is no one at the end of the line waiting to say ‘good job’ or even ‘thank you’ for your efforts. for your sacrifices. for all you intentions, which albeit did not fix what was broken, were carried out with goodness. worst yet, you will probably get treated with the same negativity as if you had neglected to do any of those things – but do them anyway.often, while we’re busy reacting to the hurt and injustices we’ve experienced, we’re failing the greater test- our reaction to these challenges. Do you let your heart harden? Step away from your inherent goodness? This is where I feel humanity lacks.
Do right only for the sake of God (or goodness, or karma, whatever you want to call it). Do good for the sake of your own soul. Be kind for the sake of who you want to be, not who you want others to be to you. Letting go of that outter personna we all emanate is the first step. It’s the only way to maintain sanity in the face of a world that rarely dispenses credit where credit is due. I know this is harder said than done, and often we’re left craving to hear someone say that we did good – that our efforts, although they have fallen short, are recognized for what they were – good intentions. turn away from the need for such worldly comforts and instead embrace the calm that comes from a heart that beats purely for the sake of service to others which ultimately, is service to your creator.
vaseye kesi bemir ke vasat tab kone