Marietta Mehanni

Pushing your own personal boundaries

Written by Marietta

August 8, 2016

In fitness we understand this concept. You have to push past your comfort zone to get the benefits of the training. Whether it be weight training, cardio, endurance or flexibility, it is about how much more you can do today to see an improvement. For some people this is easier than it is for others, ourselves within the industry included. For some, the feeling of that level of discomfort is gratifying and carries a sense of empowerment. Yep, we understand that! But… how about when it applies to your career? How often do you take a risk that makes you nervous, uncomfortable or even fearful? Now, this is a completely different topic right? Or is it?

Recently I gave my first key note speech at the AUSTSWIM conference in New Zealand. It is something that I have desired to do for a long time, having attended many key notes at conferences and watched countless TED talks. I always admired people who were able to get up and present with passion, emotion and get a point across so clearly that it continues to resonate with me long after the presentation is over. It always wowed me, just like the way I felt when I went to aerobics (before I became an instructor) and when I attended workshops (before I became a presenter). I have always fantasized about one day doing my own key note. So when I was asked to do the conference in NZ, I initially jumped with excitement and then the realisation of the task ahead freaked me out. Having enjoyed so many brilliant key notes, now I needed to step up to the task of how I was going to accomplish something that I was truly proud of.

The preparation started in February shortly after accepting the opportunity, but coming up with the concept required consultation. I was in NZ for workshops and I turned to two trusted friends – Broni McSweeny and Kris Tynan to assist me with what I was going to talk about. You see, doing a presentation on pelvic floor or Gymstick is not as difficult, as you are imparting knowledge and hopefully in an engaging in an effective way. Also, once people get moving, the workshop presentation gets easier because people like moving and learn through doing that. A key note is different – well in my mind it was. The audience is sitting down watching your every move and it is not education that you are trying to impart, but inspiration. And how do you do that: inspire? Such an intangible concept.

This opportunity pushed me in a way, more challenging that anything else I’ve done in a long time. I really wanted it to go well. Finding the right topic was the first hurdle. Something personal, yet something that everyone could identify with. Then it was how to practice. My goodness I needed some help and I found it in a perfect book – the official guide to TED talks by Chris Anderson. It was in there I realised that I needed to type the whole thing out and memorise it. Holy Cow Batman! 45 minutes of memorising! I had new found respect for actors and those speakers at the TED talks. It reminded me of my new instructors in the group exercise course and how they found it difficult to memorise the learning curves, which were so obvious to me. Now I was in the hot seat. I must have typed it out and edited it at least 25 times and then rehearsed it every walk with my dog Russell, every time I was in the car for over 30 minutes, every shower and while I was getting ready every morning – anytime and anywhere, I was practicing. AHHHHRRRRR it was the only thing on my mind. Should I pause here? Should I use that slide? Should I emphasise that point? Oh my goodness, it was incessant.

So how did it go? The best it could for my first time. There are definitely things that I would like to improve and I look forward to having more opportunities, but it was an interesting experience to observe myself having. It really challenged me in ways that I have not experienced before and now I have developed new systems to present my other workshops, that will improve everything overall.

If all you endeavour is to ‘challenge’ yourself in ways that you are familiar with, you actually don’t grow as much as you think you will. It is like climbing a ladder with the rungs really close together. The real challenge that is truly exhilarating, is when you leap up to that rung that is just a little out of your reach and you get there!

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