On the last day of my internship, I called in sick.
I had successfully navigated the technical challenge of a software engineering internship in a major corporation, but I couldn’t stomach what I had to do next.
I had fear, anxiety and loss of breath. The symptoms of my affliction were palpable. What was I so afraid of? An awful performance review? A meeting with the CEO?
Nope. I was afraid of giving a 15-minute presentation in front of 10 people.
My boss asked me to deliver a culminating speech about my time as an intern, but I couldn’t do it due to a crippling fear of public speaking. So, I called in sick.
Maybe your shyness has held you back in your career, or you’ve experienced this visceral, do-anything-to-get-out-of-it fear.
Being famous doesn’t seem to spare anyone, either. Remember Michael Bay’s awkward exit?
That story about calling in sick happened 15 years ago. This year, I was a finalist in a Toastmasters humorous speech contest. How did I go from calling in sick to looking forward to speaking in front of hundreds of people?