Overcoming My Fear of Public Speaking, and More About My Job

Thank the good Lord for growth, y’all. Last week I hit a milestone of overcoming my fear of public speaking. You should know that I didn’t even realize I had this fear until I tackled it head-on. I have always considered myself to be pretty comfortable in conversation with others. However, I’ve historically found it challenging to address large groups or people I don’t yet know personally. I was never afraid of school presentations or speeches, but rarely – if ever – did they come easily to me.

both photos by Carrie Joy Photography from the Making Things Happen Intensive

Fast-forward to this past January when I started a job in higher education that challenged any prior shyness I had. I quickly found myself with the option to either crumble beneath any self-doubt or insecurity I was carrying, or press into the challenge and grow from it. I chose the second option and it has changed me for the better!

Every day at work, I speak to dozens of people I’ve never met before. I have the opportunity to establish dynamic interactions with them and spur them on to do what they want most in life. It’s a rather high-volume position in a large University. This sometimes makes me feel like I blend into the sea of cubicles. Compounded with the fact that most of my job is done over the phone, this level of ‘blending in’ could easily lead to complacency if it weren’t for the dynamic company culture. It is impossible to go unnoticed here for a job well done.

Even though I dream of having my own creative business in the future, I know that I have been placed here in this season for a reason. As a result, I come to work every day and try to pour my heart into the work I do and the people I serve. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

Earlier this month, I was both blessed and surprised to be recognized for the work I’ve been doing. Our leadership team was touched by a particular student story that I’d had the privilege to be part of this spring. For that reason, I was asked to speak at our quarterly awards ceremony last week. We had the choice to opt out if we were uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups. I hesitated to say yes when I realized I would be speaking to 200 people. However, I decided to be brave and go for it because growth rarely happens within our comfort zone.

As I prepared to share my student’s story with my department, I struggled with how I would deliver my message. I toyed with the idea of writing it out and referencing note cards throughout the delivery. In considering that, I realized it might have diluted my message and made it seem flat.

In a moment of unexpected courage, I decided to speak from my heart instead. I applied a prior tip I had stored away in high school to move around and be dynamic during my presentation. Rather than speak into the stationary mic at the podium, I held it and stood comfortably beside it instead. Y’all, while it was a little scary at first, the words flowed so naturally as I continued! By the end of my presentation, I felt comfortable, confident, and wholly genuine in the words I’d spoken.

Moral of the story: be brave. Anytime you are presented with an opportunity to stretch your comfort zone and grow, go for it! These are the very experiences that mature, shape, grow, and develop us. Believe in yourself, take a deep breath, and try!

Do you have a fear of public speaking? Share an opportunity you might take to overcome it below!


Strawberry Pretzel Salad, the South, and My Job

I cannot even tell you how happy it makes my heart when someone asks if I’m from the South. I’ve been born and raised in New Hampshire but it’s no secret that I consider myself a Southerner at heart. Some people claim to have a spirit animal, or a celebrity they identify with. In place of those things, I have an entire region. I am enchanted by the culture, the tradition, the hospitality, the style, the food, and the warmth of the South.

via Deer Pearl Flowers

That being said, this morning I saw a recipe for strawberry pretzel salad on my News Feed as I ate breakfast. Southern Living had posted the recipe as a video, calling it a Southern classic. I had never had it before, but it sounded delicious! Fast-forward to work today, when one of my coworkers walked by my desk with a plate of that very dessert. Another team at work had a potluck today, and a girl from Virginia had contributed strawberry pretzel salad to the party. There was enough leftover to share, so I grabbed a little for myself and relished in the Southern goodness. Moral of the story: I should watch more Southern Living cooking videos before work.

If y’all are intrigued, click here to try the recipe. Happy Friday!

Cubicle Decorating Ideas for Adding Color and Cheer

Fun fact, y’all: I’ve been working in a cubicle for the past several weeks. I can hardly believe I’m typing those words because never before did I think I would consider such a thing, but I’ve been making it work! I dream of someday working creatively in a sun-strewn office. But in this season of laying a responsible foundation for marriage, I have been called to a different job for now. In additional to having a steady income, I am also growing professionally and becoming more adaptable. This time has been stretching for me, and it’s incredible to look back at the growth that has occurred through it.

With this job came the new experience of working in a cubicle instead of in my workspace at home. From the start, I have purposed to infuse as much joy and cheer into this experience as possible. Because I know I’m not alone in being stretched by the cubicle life, I want to share my ideas with those in similar situations! I’ve pulled together some of my favorite sources and products to help you take whatever workspace you’ve been given and add some color and cheer to it. Enjoy!

cubicle decorating ideas for adding color and cheer - kyla mary

lettered mug / desk calendar / desk cards

gold garland / polished binder / chalkboards

mouse pad / bright washi tape / monogram mug

cozy throw / document holder / metal sign

I am so thankful that God saw fit for me to have a job right now that allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I come to work every day and get to have meaningful conversations with people who have big goals and dreams for their life, and I get to cheer them on as they make them happen. How fun is that?!

How do you personalize your workspace? Share your ideas in the comments below!