From Public Speaking to Tech Startups: How I’ve Faced My Fears and Embraced Bravery in My Career

The year was 2016. I quit my job as an IT consultant to co-found a VR startup. I had no idea what I was doing. What I did know was that we needed money. And one way to get funding to develop our software was to pitch the company. I bought a plane ticket to Beijing, China, on my own dime to meet my co-founders and make the pitch of a lifetime…

When I think of the word brave, I think of soldiers, first responders, and entrepreneurs. I don’t always think of myself. But this exercise in writing about “how are you brave?” for Bloganuary has me thinking about the times people told me I was brave.

  • In college, I flew solo to Madrid, Spain, for a three-month-long internship.
  • I moved from my home in the Midwest to Seattle, Washington, for a job after college that ended up launching my career.
  • I’ve done some questionable things on horseback. 😅

Bravery is the quality of being brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain and showing courage. It is a trait that is often admired and respected and one that can be crucial for success in various endeavors.

In this post, I will share some of my personal experiences with bravery, including instances of tech startups, public speaking, and writing. Through these examples, I hope to illustrate how facing fear and taking risks can lead to personal growth and achievement.

Tech startups are brave

One of the bravest things I’ve ever done professionally was quit my very nice IT consulting job to join a VR startup. There was no paycheck (at first). No promise that we would succeed (what is success anyways?). But there was the promise of adventure, having something all my own, and the opportunity to be in upper management.

Starting a company asks for bravery in so many ways. You have to be brave to have hard conversations, stick to your guns, and believe that the future has something to offer. And you have to be brave enough to be honest when it’s no longer working. I don’t regret any of it. Entrepreneurship isn’t a straightforward path, but it was a lifetime experience for me.

Entrepreneurship is Brave

Public Speaking is Brave

Shortly after joining my startup, I realized I had to get good at public speaking. I joined my local Toastmasters and started applying to calls for speakers. What’s the worst that can happen? I thought to myself. My application was accepted. My very first public speaking engagement would be in Amsterdam. The talk had to be 15 minutes long.

That seemed like an insurmountable amount of time. But soon, 15 minutes became my warmup. I was invited to give an hour-long keynote. Ever since, I’ve made it a goal to give at least one talk per year. It usually ends up being more.

Public speaking is a great way to prove your expertise (even if you think you don’t have anything to say – you do!). Speaking looks great on your resume and opens doors to things you didn’t even know existed.

Be Brave Speaking

Writing is Brave

Every time you write is brave. Especially if you post it. The best writing is opinionated. It poses an argument. It’s that kind of writing that can lead you to your next opportunity. After leaving my startup, I felt lost. I quit to be a better mom to my baby, but I couldn’t turn off my brain. I kept thinking about virtual reality.

I wrote and published on my blog. That lead me to write for Cathy Hackl and eventually work as a metaverse strategist at Journey.

Being a Military Spouse

I always knew my now-husband would join the Army. It’s one thing to fantasize about having a soldier as a husband. It’s another thing to experience what that means. Deployment, month-long “work trips,” and no holidays or weekends means life has to get creative. Military spouses are the backbone of our armed forces, with hardly any of the credit.

To recap, there are lots of ways to be brave. For me, starting companies, public speaking, and writing require bravery. Even though they took me out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. They impacted my personal growth and career in ways I couldn’t imagine. I hope you’re encouraged to be brave too.

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9 responses to “From Public Speaking to Tech Startups: How I’ve Faced My Fears and Embraced Bravery in My Career”

  1. Nice article. I also did the fly solo to Spain for a study abroad experience when I was in college. Congratulations for all you’ve done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Where in Spain were you? Have you been back since?

      Like

      1. I did my studying in Salamanca. Also traveled around a good bit. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t been back. Would love to. I have been to other Spanish speaking places though. My favorite was Ecuador.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, my bestie from college did a study abroad in Ecuador and loved it there.

        Like

  2. Love this! Great article & you are brave! Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you so much Pam. I know you always have my back! Where should I speak at this year? 🤔

      Like

  3. Interesting post. It’s been a while since I did any public speaking in front of strangers but I remember the nerves before and then the buzz when it was finished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can definitely get a speaker’s high! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Like

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