By nature, I’m shy. At parties or gatherings, I’m the one standing in the corner, keeping to myself especially if I don’t know anyone and sometimes even if I do. You know the type, never speaking unless spoken too. Crowds make me anxious and public speaking? Forget about it. Barely passing speech class in college, my fears let me believe for a long time that public speaking wasn’t something I could do. Fear of public speaking or simply being in front of a crowd paralyzed me.
Several years ago, I was taking a Pilates class, I love group classes. Mainly because their motivating and after a while you become like family encouraging one another and checking up on each other. Why am I telling you this? Because in that class was where I decided I wanted to teach group fitness, in particular yoga and pilates. At that time, that seemed about as doable for me as flapping my arms to fly. Even my family and friends were a bit shocked. “You want to do what?” They would say. But I wanted it more than I was afraid of it. I had no idea how I was going to get up in front of people, let alone lead a class. But I knew I had never let fear stop me before so I was determined to find a way.
I already had a full-time office job. But I took a part-time job. Doing what you ask? Selling jewelry, you know the type where you go to people’s homes and host parties. This was completely out of character for me and definitely out of my comfort zone. I knew this would force me to get up in front of people and speak. It terrified me, I was sick to my stomach with nerves on many occasions even while preparing to get up in front of friends. I knew that if I could do this, if I could step outside of my comfort zone I would be one step closer to something that I really wanted. At no time, was this easy for me. It was a struggle mentally and physically. I may have poured sweat, chucked a few dinners and even been on the verge of passing out on more than one occasion. But I did it!
At some point during my stint of selling jewelry, I realized that my dream of teaching was getting closer. My fear of being in front of people had not gone away entirely but it was more manageable. So I then begin my research and ventured into the fitness realm. Obtaining fitness certifications and gaining teaching experiencing was also challenging and took several months to begin teaching. It wasn’t easy getting my foot in the door but I went wherever I could find an opening and I showed up and I tried and I prepared and I did the very best I knew how. The nerves were still there and I still got sick on occasion especially at first but I kept going.
Now, I teach yoga 3-5 times a week. I still get nervous in front of the class sometimes but nothing like what I use too. I love that I stepped outside of my comfort zone to do what was once unthinkable to me. My friend looked at me just the other day and said, “It still surprises me that you teach yoga.” I looked at her and smiled because it still surprises me too.
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Go after opportunities. “Fear is nothing more than an obstacle that stands in the way of progress. In overcoming our fears, we can move forward, stronger and wiser within ourselves.”
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