Category Archives: Comfort Zone


The One at the Podium is the Expert – It Could be You!

Speaker-PodiumMost ambitious people enjoy attending educational presentations where they can learn a new skill or be introduced to a concept or story that will help move them forward. Usually speakers are chosen because they have knowledge about a particular topic that the meeting organizer felt would be of value to the attendees. Because the speaker was chosen and people made the decision to attend the event, the person at the podium is automatically the expert. Did you know that everyone is an expert at something? I believe this to be true. Even people like me who have worked in many different industries in various positions have something they know a lot about. All one has to do is think about the common thread that has appeared everywhere. What is it that comes easy to you? What you think is simple to understand or do is probably a topic that alludes many. You might even think about what topic you often get asked to help others with or that people mention when you are together. Where do you often feel you are able to give advice easily. Trust me everyone has a message. It may not even be business related, it could be a personal challenge you overcame or a hobby that you have spent years mastering.

Personally, I don’t get to leave my office very much, but when I do, I try to attend live speaking events for my own personal development. I have seen some great speakers over the past 8 years that I have attended the MA Conference for Women in Boston and one of my goals is to someday speak there. With that goal in mind, the first thing I needed to do was start speaking at smaller venues to get my feet wet. First I started doing Google Hangouts and Conference/Training Calls. This was a great way to start crafting my message and get experience with that important part of the process. Since they were usually short, 30-45 minutes in length, the presentation got right to the point and stayed on topic. The other advantage to starting this way is that I could read my notes, because I was not standing in front of a live audience.

corporate speakingIt was not long after I started doing these types of events I was asked to speak at a conference. My presentation was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, it was my first one! I was able to keep my audience engaged as they listened to a topic that I am passionate about and I inspired some of them to take my advice and use it in their businesses. I have gotten more interest in my coaching services since I spoke at that conference than I could of imagined and my presentation was not about the value of coaching.

If you set your sights on inspiring others or helping them solve a problem that they are struggling with, you can not go wrong. If your only intention for speaking is to get new clients you will ultimately be less successful. Remember you are the expert, use your power for good and your audience will follow you anywhere.

Stepping out of the comfort zone, the story of my pressure cooker

learning curve pressure cookerI bought a pressure cooker about 7 years ago, against my mother’s advice. She tried to convince me that I was too busy to can vegetables and didn’t need one. I always maintained that she was worried I would blow up my house. So of course I went ahead and after opening the box and reading the instructions learned I couldn’t use it on my glass top stove. Instead of returning it, I put it back into the box and stored it. When we moved to our current house a couple years ago I took it out of the box and put it in one of my kitchen cabinets, but have yet to find time for a garden, hence no need to can vegetables. Long story, short, today I was compelled to pull out the scary pressure cooker and make a beef stew. I had planned on making a beef stew for dinner, but forgot to put it in the crock pot earlier in the day. When I got home from visiting my mother (hmmmm, seeing the connection?) I did not have the 3 hours I needed to make a proper beef stew on the stove. So, I got up the courage to first find the pressure cooker, then search the web for instructions, which is quicker than trying to locate the instruction manual in my house.

I quickly read the instructions jumping from safety precautions to beef stew recipe and back and forth and jumped in. I cannot remember the last time I was so stressed out! I turned on the stove and stood about 10 feet away from it all tensed up, looking for steam escaping, rereading the instructions and FAQs. I called my mother and father while it was “jiggling” away and my father told me there was no way it would “blow up”. So I relaxed a bit. After 15 minutes I cooled it down, opened it and added the veggies. This time when I turned it back on I was like an old pro. I only stood back 5 feet but actually took my eyes off it after the first minute.

When my stew was done the meat was so tender and the vegetables perfect, the broth was a bit lacking in flavor though. I have found a new way to cook meals faster and more energy efficiently and it only took me 7 years to get up the nerve to try it. I couldn’t help but relate this to learning new things in business or stepping out of my comfort zone to speak with people I don’t know yet. Once I do something for the first time, I wonder why it took me so long to do it. So from now on, let’s stop letting fear keep us from advancing. Let’s take our rightful place among the brave and start stretching our comfort zone!