Becoming everything I can be

I've always considered myself to be quite a shy person. That might sound bizarre from someone who has been a naturist for over 20 years, edited British Naturism magazine for four years and has hosted naked quiz nights in front of a room full of unclothed people while nude and body-painted as a tiger (ask me nicely and I'll show you the pictures....).

But I've always tended to keep my light under a bushel, as the saying goes. Even while talking and writing about stroke-education, I can get slightly nervous and I have never considered what I do as inspirational or particularly good, despite having plenty of people tell me that it is.

But I've begun to realise that if I am going to do this stroke-education business properly, I have to get out there and present and project myself better. Thus, as I described here last week, I signed up to attend Brad Burton's Be A Better Speaker day in Birmingham last Friday. As a result, I will never be shy again about public speaking.

It was a remarkable, inspirational (there's that word again) day. My fellow attendees were all extraordinary people with amazing stories to tell and, thanks to Brad and guest speaker Ian Dickson, we all came away having learned plenty about how to maximise our potential as public speakers.

I have some invaluable new assets to help me get my message over and I have finally realised that I am inspirational and I can help so many other people - if I become everything I can be, rather than just some of what I can be. 

I have to thank the extraordinary Jamie Denyer and the truly awesome Taz Thornton, in particular, for helping me realise that, but everyone who was there (you know who you are....) played their part in what should be a life-changing day, if I grasp the opportunities.

The first opportunity comes when I speak at 4Networking's Leicester breakfast group this Friday (August 3) followed quickly by two more engagements at 4N's Worcester evening group next Tuesday and the Leamington evening group on Wednesday. It's going to be a busy time and I will have to be aware of the risks of overdoing it, but being told that I can be a life-changer (a phrase used by one of the people I met on Friday) does make you think.

After all, I firmly believe that having been born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and survived, been diagnosed with epilepsy and survived, suffered a stroke and survived, I am still on this planet for a reason. Now is the time to walk the walk - even if the walk is a little shaky at times.