I’m cheating a little by combining these two ‘new experiences’ but they are sort of related, so I figured why not?! One blog for the price of two and all that.
I started having some coaching sessions earlier this year to try and unravel my direction in life – did I still want to be an entrepreneur? Was I even happy running my business? Or was it just the start of a path onto a bigger, better and more exciting journey? Through fortnightly calls, questions, digging really deep and some serious soul searching I discovered it was a case of no, no and yes.
I also discovered that whilst casually doing a few Facebook Lives on my Love Your Life group page, I actually really, really enjoyed the public speaking / motivating / inspiring side and BOOM! a lightbulb not only went off, but also exploded into my tiny, little brain like the world’s biggest firework. This is my future. This is what I’m destined to do. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Just an Average Jo – Motivational Speaker was born. I was beyond giddy.
So, whilst I have a loyal, albeit small, army of people following me on the various social media channels, I discussed with my coach how I could reach a wider, unknown audience. I want my voice to be heard, my story to reach more people and the opportunity to practice, practice, practice.
When she suggested starting my own YouTube Channel, I paled instantly and felt a little bit of sick come up in my mouth. Really? Isn’t YouTube for people who either know what they’re doing and add bells, whistles and flashing images to their videos or for the complete nerds who could make watching paint dry look interesting?
Obviously, I do use YouTube, but usually only to find a funny clip of a dog water-skiing or someone falling over on black ice. I’ve certainly never looked for motivational speakers on there. But once I logged on to the site and had a poke around, it became obvious you can post anything and everything on YouTube – without the bells and whistles. Feeling a bit more confident, I realized that is really is an avenue to explore and started to feel a bit more excited.
Two hours of poking, prodding, pressing and deleting later – I had set up my very own YouTube Channel. Wahhhh!
Just an Average Jo is live, out there in the virtual world, and ready to start recording videos. Watch. This. Space!
Weirdly, the day after I spoke to my coach about this crazy idea of being a motivational speaker, I saw an event pop up on Facebook where the organizer was asking for someone to host a workshop, do a talk or demonstration. I read it again and before I knew it, I’d sent her a message and pitched myself as a motivational speaker. Wahhh!
Four weeks later, and after a week of no voice and horrific bronchitis, I found myself on Saturday, June 30, ready to speak at my first ever public speaking gig. What the actual? How did little old me get here? Surely the was just a pipe dream, an idea only for my imagination? But no, I was set up, cough sweets on hand, PowerPoint ready and music playing….and I was petrified!
I’ve spent my entire working career speaking in front of people and it really has never bothered me. Whether I was talking about an island tour in Tenerife; guiding a coach full of drunken 18- to 30-year-olds in Corfu or training hairy-arsed security staff at Wimbledon, I love holding court and imparting my knowledge, sharing experiences and motivating people to say yes.
But talking as an actual public speaker? Now that’s a whole different ball game. Yes, I’d practiced. Yes, I had notes. Yes, I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to flow through my story. But I was still scared. My mouth was dry, my lips were sticking to my teeth and my plans were sweaty. Oh god, what have I done?
Being scared, like being excited, is just an emotion of course. I could control it if I tried really hard. I could knock the voice of self-doubt out of the park if I chose to. So, a few minutes before I was due to start, with my audience of ten waiting patiently, I chose exactly that – to be excited and giddy and embrace this moment.
And you know what? I bloody loved it! The audience (made up of friends, my Dad and one token stranger) smiled in the right places, nodded at each other in agreement and even clapped at the end. I was humbled, high on adrenaline, full of gratitude – and 110% positive I was on the right path to continue my quest to be a motivational speaker.
Comfort zone well and truly smashed; voice of self-doubt kicked into touch and confidence soaring: ‘Just an Average Jo’ has well and truly arrived!