For those of you who don’t know, my “day job” consists of providing technical assistance for faculty, staff, and students with our college’s LMS (learning management system). Even though I consider it my “day job”, anyone in an IT or online position will tell you you are always on the clock, 24/7.
Over the last year, our department has been charged with the additional task of faculty and staff professional development for the college. Needless to say, this was a giant responsibility thrown onto our laps. While this really kind of filled up our dance card, I think we all agree this addition was the right and sensible choice considering our roles with faculty and staff already as well as some opportunities to showcase some of the great things we can bring to campus.
So tomorrow, our department (along with Human Resources) is hosting one of two campus-wide bi-annual events called Professional Development Day. This is a day where campus closes and classes are cancelled to allow faculty and staff to engage in a variety of workshops to train, engage, and learn. Over the past three weeks, I and other staff members in our department have been spending a great amount of time putting together a website, mobile app, social media, and other materials for this event. I think we have definitely raised the bar from years past and provided an good benchmark for events to come.
I felt honored when I was asked to conduct a workshop during this event. Granted, it’s the same workshop I’ve taught for the past few years. The only difference is it will be a much larger group and the session time is condensed down by 10%…so I may have to tweak things a bit to make sure I can cover as much as I can in such a short amount of time. It’s funny for me though because not many people know I suffer from some minor speech difficulties. Much of it stemmed from my early childhood years. Much of it centers around a form of stage fright (which I know really isn’t that uncommon). With maturity and improved self-confidence, I have been to overcome most of this fear…but from time-to-time, it rears its ugly head.
“Sometimes, even weeks before a presentation, I would think, “What happens if people think I suck or someone thinks I don’t know what I’m talking about?”
As humans, we’re hardwired to worry about our reputation above almost all things. There are primitive parts of your brain that control your reaction to threats on your reputation, making these reactions extremely difficult to control.
These reactions to threats are precisely what Charles Darwin tested when he visited a snake exhibit at a zoo in London. Darwin tried to remain perfectly calm while putting his face as close to the glass as possible in front of a puff ader snake that was ready to strike.
However, every time the snake would lunge toward him, he would grimace and jump backward. Darwin wrote his findings in his diary,
My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.
He concluded that his response to fear was an ancient reaction that has not been effected by nuances in modern civilization. This response is know as the “fight or flight” syndrome, a natural process that is designed to protect your body from harm.” ~ Mikhael Cho, buffersocial
Now that I feel I have more control over my fear, I feel more empowered to share my teachings with others (although I still tend to prefer one-on-one or small groups anyway). So, I’m looking forward to seeing what the day has to unfold. 🙂