This blog post is related to speaking at New Stars of Data. If you read the title, this post is for the professionals who wish to become the speaker but the self doubt is pulling them back from taking that first step.
I totally get that feeling. I was in the same situation two years ago. Self doubt was not just creeping in from time to time but it was part of who I was back then. I was going through depression due to the harassment I faced from my previous company for years in a row. I have no self esteem and lost self confidence bit by bit as each year passed through harassment. While I was in the darkest dungeon of my life, I finally decided to standup for my self. I know no one will come to rescue me and it is me who needs to walk towards the light from that darkness. I know it takes time but it is not impossible. But how? Where should I get the strength and energy to move a step forward when I have every reason to feel like a victim of abuse and harassment and be right in the same place? I was tired of blaming my fate for the situations I was in and I remembered I always can make a choice in any situation life throws at me.
I then decided there should be a challenge that I need to take that can build my self confidence back.
In the process of searching for a challenge, I opened twitter account only to follow BrentOzar and his new blog post news. I saw a tweet which said something like “If you are looking to speak at the event for the first time, New Stars of Data is the conference you can look into”. When I first read this tweet, I never thought I would submit for this conference. For the next couple of days, I couldn’t able to sleep properly as this tweet keep popping up in my head. Those thoughts screaming at me “what if this was the challenge you are looking for? Speaking can get back your self confidence, think about it! If you miss this chance, you may not get another chance”. These thoughts were consistent for couple of days. I know in my heart that I was not ready and I will never will. I just cant relax and wait for the perfect time to start doing the things that are right for me to do.
I decided to take the first step in the faith and submitted my abstract for the New Stars of Data 1. I then prayed to God from bottom of my heart that my session should not be selected. I was that scared and had that big self doubt. God went against my will and selected my session 🙂 It was a blessing in disguise. I know I put myself in a uncomfortable situation only to test myself if I can face the challenge. If I can, I know it is only for my self growth.
At the time of my abstract submission, I didn’t know that I will be supported by a Mentor by New Stars of Data conference organizing team (NSOD). Ben Weissman and William Durkin are the Organizers for NSOD conference. I was blessed to have Deborah Melkin as my Mentor. Her smile almost always calmed my tensed nerves. Deborah and I had weekly meetings to prepare my presentation. Deborah was very patient with me during the process. She helped me build my presentation and Andy Yun also helped me in giving a proper flow to the presentation. Both Deborah and Andy helped me build the presentation, reviewed it and had dry run before the NSOD presentation. That rehearsal session actually helped in fine tuning the presentation.
During my big day of NSOD, Deborah was moderating my session. Thanks to Ben and William for thinking above and beyond about the comfort of the new speakers without us even asking for it. As Deborah was a familiar person to me and as she was my mentor, I was super comfortable in delivering my presentation for the first time. My presentation went well, at least not terrible I believe, lol. After I completed my presentation, attendees were asked to provide the feedback. Please look at the feedback provided by the attendees below. It was such a great honor to be able to present at NSOD and to receive such encouraging feedback.
This feedback has helped me to take another step and present this session and another sessions at different events and conferences within United states and at different international conferences across the globe.
Since then, I have spoken at different user groups, SQL Saturdays, local and international conferences. I have presented more and more to get my self confidence back. I believe it is a continuous process and I am still in the process. Healing from the trauma takes time. I have presented at more than 200 events till date. I did it like I was obsessed with speaking because the more I present, the more I gained inner peace. The more peace I had in my heart, the more confident I felt. I had mention this at many events but would like to mention it here again.
“At the darkest moments in my life, I have chosen Speaking as a way out. Speaking has become a therapy to me. It will be a therapy to me for the rest of my life!” -Deepthi Goguri
To all the professionals who are reading this and are interested in becoming a speaker for the first time, I would highly suggest you to submit your sessions to New Stars of Data 5. NSOD has changed my life and I am sure it will change your life for good as well.
Though you think you are not ready yet, believe you will never be ready until you take the step and put the things into action. Remember, experience will never come if you wish and dream of a better future. Experience will only come with action. Go ahead and take the first step in faith. Do NOT self reject.
After reading this blog post, I am confident that you will be motivated enough to submit the sessions. With the same confidence, I would like to wish you all the best and Good luck on your submissions!
Thanks so much for reading!