I was painfully shy as a child. I remember the moments when my school reports would be delivered to my house

“I was painfully shy as a child. I remember the moments when my school reports would be delivered to my house. I always did very well in my subjects but every year in the comment box it was always the same; my teachers encouraged me to not be as shy in the classroom. It’s not that I didn’t want to engage more, I really did, it was just that I was petrified of public speaking. It really frightened me but I didn’t want to be like that. When I got to university, there was an opportunity to run for class rep. The person had to deliver a speech at the top of the lecture theatre to hundreds of students. It was my worst nightmare, but oddly enough I decided to run. Something clicked with me that I was fearful of the unknown, so how could I possibly make a judgement about something I hadn’t fully grappled with? I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t going to get out of it any other way, and I decided to use that opportunity there and then. I got up and delivered a speech against a few others. It actually went well, and I won, but most bizarrely was that I enjoyed it. So after that, I got involved with the debating team and other public speaking opportunities. Before I knew it I was winning competitions and was being invited to speak at events across the world. Last October, I delivered a speech to the United Nations. I never thought I’d be offered such an opportunity. Great things don’t come from comfort zones, you have to push yourself and keep on trying. You’ll get there and you’ll thank yourself for it.”

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