People always seem impressed that I go on my random trips… sleep in my car, go to hostels, blah blah blah.
But to be honest, it isn’t that big of a deal to me.
I really love to learn… and putting myself in those situations helps me do that. Even sleeping in my car, I get to listen to the conversations of passer-bys as I sit in my car. The stuff you hear in a Wal-Mart parking lot can bequite fascinating.
Actually, Eben Pagan said in the Altitude DVDs that every once in a while, he’ll just drive to the local Wal-Mart and sit in the parking lot for a few hours… just to kind of get back to “reality”. I mean, the guy runs a multi-million dollar business… he’s not exactly “normal”. And to be able to still appeal to his customer avatar, he can’t lose touch.
So anyway – I think sleeping in the car is a good thing. And constantly putting myself in new situations can only help my writing.
Because of this, not much scares me.
Except for public speaking.
I don’t know why, I think it’s because when I used to be much heavier, I hated the attention on me.
One-on-one with one or two people, I’m fine. Ask me to talk in front of a group though, and I am NOT a fan. Even in my masterminds with friends… I’ll email everyone ideas until the cows come home, but I don’t want to be talking.
So in the spirit of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I joined Toastmaster’s. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a nonprofit club where people go and learn how to publicly speak better.
Every meeting, there are 4 people who have a prepared speech. Once they deliver it, they get on-the-spot feedback from every single member, as well as an established evaluator who really goes into extra detail.
If you’re not doing a prepared speech, you have to do extemporaneous speaking. You’ll randomly be called on and have to talk, off the cuff, for a full 1-3 minutes on ANY kind of topic. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you.
I kid you not – the first time I had to do this, I had tears in my eyes. I was freaking out. I don’t think anyone knew what I was talking about. I don’t think *I* did.
Even when I got back to my seat, my hands were shaking for at least another 10 minutes.
(Side note: they say more people are afraid of public speaking than death.)
But anyway, I went back a few times…and although I’m still nervous to speak, I’m 437643x more confident than that first time.
It’s really quite awesome. I originally went there just to push my comfort level, but there are so many side benefits. Learning how to speak succinctly, improve communication, leadership, confidence…
And even though I have a love/hate relationship with it, Toastmaster’s is the best night of my week, hands down. I have more fun there than when I do belly dancing, core fusion, or even if I go out with friends. It’s just such an INCREDIBLE experience. The adrenaline that comes with doing something that scares me and conquering it… I love it.
So anyway… I have my first prepared speech next week, and I’m psyched. :)