I’m regularly tempted to submit talks to conferences, of varying sizes. But I’m still yet to actually do it. I’m not quite sure why the temptation lingers, or indeed where it came from; it might just be an unconscious desire for ultimate validation, or just that it seems to be the natural direction to go in. Whatever the reason, and despite my best efforts to tell myself that it would never work anyway, it won’t go away.
The first hurdle is convincing myself that I am indeed qualified to stand up in front of people and talk about the subject matter at hand. While I’m as bad as anyone at succumbing to impostor syndrome, ultimately I know that relatively speaking, I’m pretty good at what I do, and it only takes sitting in the audience of other people’s talks to realise that from a knowledge perspective, there’s absolutely no reason why I couldn’t be up there delivering the same information.
(That’s actually a lie – the real first hurdle is dealing with self-reinforced ideas of being an introvert, and persuading myself that actually, it’s really not that big a deal!)
The biggest problem, however, is passion. I’ve been told on numerous occasions, by people I respect a great deal, and are fantastic public speakers, that the key to delivering a good speech is to cover something you’re passionate about. There are several things I thought I was passionate about in my life — about which I could rattle on about for hours, if I were just given the chance — but every time I sit down to write a proposal, I cannot even begin to express the emotions I thought I had somewhere. At least, I’m sure I had at one point, but maybe I didn’t.
I’d like to blame it on my colleagues, because not only are they incredibly good at what they do, but they all care so much about it. I’m not aware of another company (of a comparable size) where every single employee, across the board — from finances to engineering to HR, all the way up to the directors — is so dedicated to their role. Honestly, it makes me feel like an enormous fraud a lot of the time; it plays fantastically into my depressive (depressing?!) personality!
But I can’t really do that. I’ve had the honour and pleasure of always being around passionate people — through university all the way to now — so it’s not like things have changed particularly! I do have a choice, however: I can either wallow in my self pity, complaining to myself about how life just isn’t fair, or I can damn well find the fucking passion again!