I'm pretty outgoing. I welcome opportunities that get me out of my comfort zone, love learning new skills and am fine with being a beginner. That's why I was surprised by my level of anxiety that has crept up the night before I am to give a presentation to doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Now, I am a seasoned presenter, and present often on childhood trauma, and equine therapies, but this is the first time I will present best practices for patient education in person to doctors. As the anxiety got more obvious, I questioned why this time is any different. Part of it is the worry that I know the material well enough and it will flow, but the bigger part is that I am presenting to people who have much higher credentials than I do. Isn't that interesting?
I think a lot of us do this, we categorize people as important, or better than, based on experience or letters behind their name, but this doesn't take away from our value. Who better to teach on patient education of preeclampsia than the Director of Education at the Preeclampsia Foundation?
We all have these inevitable moments of self-doubt. Whether it's on a job interview, serving on a committee, entering a new class, starting a new job, or public speaking, you bring valuable skills, knowledge and experience to the table. Being confident in what you do bring is critical. Lot's of people minimize their knowledge, skills and experience setting the tone for others to take you less seriously. It's ok to be honest about your ability or experience level, but don't discount your value. This is the pep talk I give myself before walking up to the podium.
In this particular situation I am advocating on behalf of women, who call me daily and say nobody ever told them about preeclampsia. So I have a duty to deliver this message. I find if I can connect the thing that is uncomfortable to a cause, I can take myself out of it. This is the least I can do to not only advocate for women, but to lead by example and show others they can dare to show up, and effect the change we want to see.