When at a convention, it's natural to aspire for a place on the stage. Oh, to make others feel the way those speakers make us feel! Year after year I dreamt of being that person, sharing something (but what!?!?), inspiring the audience and making an impact on others.
My dream to be a Idea Health and Fitness Association Presenter began 7 years ago. 3 years later it came true.
My journey began in 2006 as a volunteer in the Idea San Diego headquarters. I earned free admission to the annual World Convention for several years by assisting the staff with various tasks in the home office. I made phone calls, organized spreadsheets, assembled packets, analyzed evaluations and labeled inventory for sales at the trade show.
I learned a lot about what happens behind the scenes. It should have made me more comfortable to take the next step, but it had the opposite effect. I was intimidated!
The deadline passed me by again and again...
One summer, I was home visiting my parents and decided to go for it. I’m not sure what finally sparked the motivation. Perhaps it was the need for something productive to do during an otherwise relaxing week of summer vacation. Or, that my mom was eager to help me overcome the challenge. She's always been my biggest fan (just check my social media pages and you'll see).
Along with her support - I had the skills, the credentials and even the experience as a teacher.
But, I also had a fear. Of being rejected.
It's competitive applying to present for any convention. But, what do you really have to lose?
We looked over the application forms and started with the basics.
*Session title, HELP!!!!
I perused the schedules from years past, looking for gaps in the content. Overwhelm set in. It all became a blur. The session names all sounded the same. What more could I possibly offer?
Sometimes, you just have to start writing. As a professional writer, this is something I've found to be a blog saver over the years. The art of writing is re-writing. So, I wrote and we both edited. My mom corrected grammar and wording (she was an English teacher). We enjoyed the time spent together working on this project. Being the one woman show that I am, it was nice to have a teammate to help me get it done.
Almost 5 months later I got the email, the best news of my life! They picked one of my session ideas! Back to the Basics with Anatomy.
the first presentation
A year later, in 2013 I got to stand on that stage for the very first time. I also got a terrible head cold two days before. Probably because of how nervous I was. Not only was I presenting for the first time, but they were filming my session for a DVD as well. I did my very best and it was a hit! I don't think anyone even knew I was under the weather.
People wanted more. I presented two sessions the year after. My audience asked me if I taught online. So, I created Andy's Online Anatomy Program. It's reached fitness professionals all around the world.
Even though this was my 4th year presenting on anatomy at the Idea World Fitness Convention and Andy’s 3rd year accompanying me (he’s my skeleton side kick) there were new jitters to be had. It was Andy's first time being shipped in a box (I was concerned!) and my first time presenting at 7.5 months pregnant.
I was nervous all over again, knowing my pregnancy could limit me or prevent me from flying. I spent extra time preparing and searching for the perfect outfit. Thank goodness I'm a fitness professional and had the tools I needed to stay in good health.
Obstacles can always stand in your way. That's really the only difference between someone on that stage and someone who isn't. The person on stage overcame the fear. Perhaps there is a presenter in you, just waiting to emerge?
I had the honor of being sponsored by NFPT this year, which brought additional joy and channels of support.
Taking a step in the direction you want to go creates momentum and opportunity.
Being a presenter in the fitness industry is a privilege. Unexpected doors open allowing me to continue pursuing dreams in the writing and education realm. It just took courage and faith (easier said than done - I know).
what about you?
If you aspire to speak for audiences about something you’re passionate about, become a writer or teach workshops, I encourage you to go for it! Let me play the role of “mom” for a moment and tell you to give it a try. You can do it! Write that proposal. Give it a shot.
Take out a piece of paper and brainstorm for 30 minutes. Get a friend or family member to help you. Start now.
Share this post with anyone you know who needs that extra nudge:
If you're still feeling weak in the knees at the thought of applying or don't know where to begin, check out my career guide and get customized support as you take the next step on your journey.