Facing fear

Columnist gets the courage to approach people through her membership in Toastmasters

Each of us have experienced fear. For most people, this is a daily occurence. Maybe you’ve been wanting to ask that neighbour of yours out for coffee.

Then two days later, when you bump into her, your familiar “friend fear” creeps in again and you stop yourself. Perhaps you long to bring up a business idea to your boss, but you feel afraid and stay silent instead.

I once struggled with confidence issues. I still do now and then, but lately, for the most part, I feel empowered.

One of the reasons is that over the past year, I have been able to start my own small business.

I’ve gained the courage to approach business owners which has resulted in three Victoria stores carrying my product. I make and sell greeting cards from recycled materials.

A few years ago, not only was I neglecting my creative side, but the thought of businesses selling my work was unheard of to me.

My personal growth and confidence building came first.

Following this, it felt easy and natural to put myself out there.

It helps immensely to put yourself in situations where you are practising confidence-boosting skills.

Next time you feel compelled to tell someone you find them intriguing, do it. You will feel scared initially but it will get increasingly easier. By the time you’ve done it three or four times, you will feel so proud of yourself that it will be hard to feel anything but empowered. Next time you have a meeting with your boss or co-workers, voice your new idea. Don’t be hard on yourself if you feel a bit shaky the first time, this is why practice is a vital component of any form of communication. This is how we grow.

One of the main ways in which I have cultivated courage has been through my involvement in Toastmasters International. I wouldn’t have launched my small business without the confidence I have gained from being a member of my club. I’m not suggesting that this is the only way to attain courage or confidence.

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Tasha Waite is a member of Thunderbird Toastmasters Victoria. The club can be reached through its website at thunderbirdtoastmasters.org.