I was trying to think of what I would post this morning, and there was nothing. Usually, I have no problem choosing a topic of focus. There is always something that comes up in the realm of our own personal finances that offers good fodder for a blog post. I didn’t know if I’d be able to produce anything this time around, and last night I closed my laptop, having given up. But this morning (it’s 5:09 now), I know why I’m stuck.
Anxiety about public speaking event
My brain is filled with the presentation that I’m going to give at a local public libray in a week and a half – November 7 (thanks to Brian at Debt Discipline for the inspiration!) – and there is no room for anything else. What’s with that? I know what I’m going to say. I’ve been writing about our story of debt reduction for over 4 years. I’ve broken the taboo around money talk multiple times and had countless conversations with colleagues, friends, family, and neighbours about all sorts of things related to it. I’ve spoken publicly at church and for a few classes at the school where I work. Why is this different?
Susan Cain and “stretching”
Well, it actually is quite different. Speaking is different from writing for one thing. Public speaking is different from conversation. And speaking in a familiar place to people you’re at least acquainted with is different from speaking in a room full – or not so full – of strangers. The saying is that variety is the spice of life, but I’m an introvert, and “different” brings on anxiety. I’m more into broth than spice.
Why it’s worthwhile to “stretch” – despite the downside
- I’m preoccupied. I’m not as present for my family or other people in my life.
- As part of my efforts to get news of the event out there, I’ve sent out a general email at work. No problem, right? Just about everyone at work knows I blog about debt-reduction. But it’s left me feeling strangely raw and exposed.
- I’ve found it difficult to carve out blocks of time to prepare for the presentation, so it’s bitten into time for work-outs and time for sleep.
- I’m more inclined to crankiness and/or withdrawal.
- There’s a steady gut churning. Not enough to make me double over, but it’s there.
I’ve experienced all of the above before, and I know it’s not life-threatening. It’s just part of the deal for me when I “stretch”. Cain never says in her book that stretching is easy, but she does say it’s worthwhile. Despite that list of negatives up there, I do think this speaking event is going to be a good thing:
- I am passionate about taking the secret shame and suffering that so many of us have lived with because of debt, and bringing it out into the open. There is hope! And I’m excited about that fact.
- I believe that as a debtor who has experienced financial distress, I am in a better position to address some of the issues surrounding the topic than the experts who typically do.
- DH and I have had success in our efforts to improve our financial health. Our debt-to-income ratio (all debts ÷ take-home pay) has gone from over 350% at our worst (2010 – 2 years before our journey out of debt began) to under 90% now. We have something to share that might help others have success.
- I do get a great personal satisfaction out of conveying and discussing ideas. I’m drawn to the sphere of speaking as well as writing.
So there you have it. Eleven days to go and counting. Sorry if you were hoping to find something here today to help you with prioritizing expenses or with working through a money conflict. My head’s not there for the next eleven days or so, but it will be again : )
Is there an area in your personal finances (or life in general) where you feel like “stretching”? Do you get anxious about public speaking? Your comments are welcome.