It’s okay to panic… at first — StoryVox Podcast

This happened 16 years ago. But the details are as fresh as yesterday. I was in the second class of Junior Secondary School – what Americans would call 7th grade.

I was ready to represent my class as a lead speaker in a school debate with the 6th grade /JS1 class – our juniors. I cannot remember the topic but I do remember being excited and preparing so hard for it —I researched, gathered and practiced my points with my uncle at home until I felt as ready as anything. Set to beat ‘em all!

But on the D-day, standing before the large audience of students, teachers and the principal, as the lead speaker of my team, my confidence and enthusiasm disappeared instantly, because after the last syllable of my very impressive opening speech, my tongue locked itself.

I froze. Could not get the next word out. No. For several awkward moments, I struggled, my mind racing through the points, unable to voice them out. Everyone watched in anticipation, ostensibly praying that I would find my voice. My teammates must have been boiling furiously.

To be clear, I did not forget what I had to say. It was just that the words got stuck under my tongue. What you would call a stutter. Each second felt like a heavy weight on my chest.

Hmm… I wish I could tell you I recovered. I didn’t.

After a while, I couldn’t bear the audience’s piercing looks and wide mouths any longer. I walked off the stage, and wept sore at the back of the hall. With the lead speaker gone with all the major points, I learned my team lost the competition. Because of me. So it was a shameful loss because everyone expected us to beat the class junior to ours.

The shame was so unbearable that I did not return to school for the rest of the semester.

I vowed to myself —I would never speak in public again.

We all panic.
We all doubt ourselves.
We all have weaknesses.
And we all want to make an impact in our world.

Today on StoryVox, using one of the worst ordeals of my life, I’m sharing why it’s okay to panic. Why it’s okay to doubt yourself —at first.

And why it’s not okay to stop there.

Listen now on your favorite podcast platform.

“And because God gives us the opportunity to panic at first, we must then give God the opportunity to dispel the “I can’t” in our minds and show himself faithful.”

Listen Links

Apple
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Download the .mp3

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It’s available on most podcast platform. Just type StoryVox Podcast.

Author: Toluwanimi

Toluwanimi believes young people can do great things with their lives. “Give them wings; watch them soar,” He always says. He is a physician by training and a budding behavioral scientist with a keen interest in child and adolescent health and development. Having worked with teenagers for over a decade, he loves to study and practice evidenced-based methods of inspiring positive behavioral change. His current project, GrandHeights, aims to provide resources and mentorship connections that inspire and empower young people to realize their life’s full potential despite negative circumstances around them. He plans to develop an establishment that will conduct research, develop effective strategies that will impart hope, empowerment, and refuge for youth and families in at-risk situations. He also believes creativity can be a transformative tool and through his start-up, Missionary Creatives, he helps nonprofits tell their stories and develop strategies to drive growth.

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