In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Phobia, Shmobia.”
Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?
Public Speaking. I was terrified of public speaking but in my last job as a manager at a major non-profit I was forced to overcome that fear when the Executive Vice President told me that I was going to give a presentation regarding a proprietary software our company had developed to the city agency that was funding the project. Actually it was a presentation and training in one. When she told me about the presentation of course I said yes and smiled because she was my boss but inside I was quaking like a volcano ready to explode. At first I was thinking of ways to get out of the task then I realized that would not bode well for my career so I buckled down, made a study of the software which was a social services database, created training materials, and dived right in.
When the day of reckoning came I did so well that the higher ups at the city agency came up to me, complimented me and one even said he wished I was working for his city agency! Wow!! Way to go me! A few years later after deciding to return to college for my Bachelor’s degree I had to take a Public Speaking class. Even though it was my job to give in-house and external software trainings the class still made me nervous. However the professor did her best to put everyone at ease and when she saw you had did your homework and were giving the speeches your best she would work with you. I received a B grade in this class.
Now in my current job as a security guard at an art museum I deal with the public every day. No I don’t give speeches but this position has enabled me to step up my communications and customer service skills. Not only must I know the layout of the building and where everything can be found patrons often expect security officers to know something about the art also. In some cases I can provide them with information on the various artworks but if I don’t know I can suggest they take one of the many Free Tours the museum offers. You really have to think on your feet because you deal with visitors from all parts of the world and many different cultures. In fact if giving museum tours were a Paid Union job as opposed to a volunteer position done by docents, I would gladly jump on the bandwagon because I know nearly as much if not more than many of the tour guides. Even though I majored in English I really enjoy art and am constantly trying to self-educate myself on different art genres and styles either by reading books or watching videos about the world’s great artists.
So I’ve come a long way from that petrified young woman who thought she was going to faint in front of an audience. Now I’m a mature self-confident older woman who is happy to help people by sharing knowledge and insight on subjects I love.