Posts Tagged ‘Confidence’

TEDx Humber College

You may remember me mentioning that back in June 2011, I did my very first TEDx talk. The topic was ‘Finding Your Voice’ and in the early hours of this morning, it has finally been put up online.

It’s quite an emotional thing seeing this thing through to the end. To watch myself speaking on stage is bizarre enough in itself but the fact that I’m also confessing my fears and speaking entirely from the heart, make this a bit terrifying.

But this is how I felt nine months ago and after watching it, it’s not so different than how I feel now. I think these fears are pretty universal so please watch and if you like, share.

Here’s my TEDx talk.


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Before I left school in Toronto, I remember a good friend mentioning to me that he had considered making the move to London when he graduated but had decided that it was better to start out in Toronto as a big fish in a small pond (more or less) than to go to such a big city where you’re a complete unknown. At the time, I told him casually that the idea didn’t bother me and my heart was set on the UK. I barely thought twice about the comment.

The other day, I thought about this conversation again and came to the realization that I actually love being a small fish in a big pond. I always have and I’ve always thrived in that position. I love the challenge of being the new person. I love making first impressions and meeting new people. And I love learning. I’ve always been happiest in a company where everyone else knew more than me. I look up to everyone and trust everyone. I’ve ashamedly acted impatient and cranky in positions where there were newer people who knew less.

I’ve been here in London for only two and a half months and have just been hired into my third position. And although I’ve technically been moving up the ladder in terms of permanence and responsibility, I’ve actually just moved departments each time. I’m still sitting in the most junior position in my new job. I’m happy with the situation but I do wonder what this contentment means. Now that I’ve noticed my small-fish-big-pond preference, how will this affect my career as I get older? Will I move up into management roles? Am I built to lead? Frankly, the idea scares me at the moment.

I may tell myself that being the new person is a challenge but maybe I’m just avoiding the real challenge of expectation and responsibility. I did feel like there were expectations of me in Toronto. There were none of me here. I met a lot of incredible people last year who said a lot of kind things about my potential. I told myself that moving half way across the world was taking a big risk but maybe the real risk would have been sticking around and trying to live up to those expectations. Maybe I’ve just been playing it safe.

Perhaps being a small fish is less about being humble and more about a lack of confidence. I’m hoping I’m just the kind of person who takes a while to get comfortable and confident enough to be the big fish, but that eventually, I’ll get there. I’ve always thought that may be the case but have never really been anywhere long enough to test the theory.

What kind of fish are you most comfortable being?

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Time to announce I’ll be a speaker at TEDxHumber on June 1st. I’m pretty nervous but excited too and I have a lot of writing and practicing to do over the next few weeks. I will be speaking about the insecurities and fears that come with emerging from the student world into the workplace and finding your voice.


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This evening, I had the privilege of sitting down and speaking with someone that I greatly admire. I had grandiose visions of how this meeting would go. I felt this person would most certainly hold the key to unlocking at least half the mysteries in life. He’d teach me to lead, to speak, to inspire, all in a few hours. Perfectly realistic, right?

What happened instead, to my delight, was that I got to know an actual person. He wasn’t perfect, he didn’t hold all the answers, he even made a few questionable jokes, but he was real. I ended up learning things that I didn’t expect, and even better, I found that I actually already know more than I give myself credit for.

Perhaps the most reassuring thing you can learn is that the people you want to be, are actually not that different than who you are now.

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