“Hi, are you Munirah from tripletsplusone?”
Above is something I often get lately when people see me with Young Living. Yup, thats me. I know I have been MIA for quite sometime. Things have been crazy hectic on my side, being ‘supirmom’ and everything [nope not complaining :)]
So what made me decide to make a comeback here? Well, first is to answer the above question…secondly, coz i promised myself i owe a blog entry for the 30 minutes life changing experience I had; being one of the speakers for the Young Living Grand Opening of Indonesia. 30 minutes that took over 3 weeks of my life (and probably quite a bit of a few other lives too haha)
It was somewhere in early March while we were having Diamond Leaders meeting when Tai, the President of Regional APAC mentioned casually that i will be speaking for the Grand Opening Indonesia. I wasn’t really paying attention as it was in between conversations and I can’t recall when exactly he mentioned it again, but i think i was complaining on something too much, and i said… okay i’m done, i’m talking too much, bye, in which he replied “You’re practicing for your Indonesia Convention speech so just keep talking! I was like nooo way, not happening.
It ended there untillllll I received a phone call from Pak Anggit, the Country Manager for Indonesia to give me a formal invitation. I was shocked, I paused and said “Hey, he was just joking, I’m not doing it.” I could sense Pak Anggit was a lil confused by what said. I guess he had the instruction to contact me but there I was, dismissing the invitation. His reply to me was “No, it was not a joke. I was told you are good”….and at that very moment, i realised…they were serious…I was scheduled for it! I contacted Tai asking what on earth he was thinking, but he was as cool as cucumber, as though saying “Didn’t I tell you?” I panicked. I have never spoken in front of a huge crowd, what more a proper event. I gave 101 excuses to Tai, but he was so persistent and I would say very, really good at convincing… full of positive words and remarks that I should do it. After much excuses, it came to a point where I realised, this guy wouldn’t take No as an answer and he rationalized things pretty well.
Another reason I couldn’t say yes was because my boys had the KL Tigers International Rugby tournament that weekend, and it’s in Sepang…a lil too far to ask my parents to bring them AND wait there the entire day. I had to wait for Syauqi’s roster to be out. I guess it was meant to be, husband’s roster was out and he was scheduled to work the entire week EXCEPT for Saturday, the day of the event. I took it as a sign that it’s meant to be. I am meant to be one of the speaker. So, I said yes to the invitation. After texting Tai to give him a yes, not more than 5 minutes later Pak Anggit called me. From that minute…my life was all about trying to get my speech done. I bugged so many people, from family to friends to YL staff. I didn’t tell my team though.
I had so many worries. Like, would I disappoint the crowd? What if my context doesn’t meet their expectation? What if my speech is dull, not interesting, I’d bore them and they would leave! What if I get stage fright and words don’t come out of my mouth. And the list goes on and on, the what-if this and that. I received lots of comforting words and motivation from the YL staff. These 3 ladies were among those i bugged the most prior to the speech. From agreeing to it in the first place, to ensuring the content is compliant, to slide presentation, to killing the anxiety n keeping me sane. And i was pretty annoying too,bugging them at work… haha. Oh these ladies are my fashion police too. They were more worried of my attire than my speech haha.And I had Ezlin to be the victim for my morning coffee.
If only i could pack them 3 in my luggage!
When I agreed to be the speaker, I made Tai promise me that he would help with the speech. He did, he promised to sit down and architect the story with me…. but with his busy work schedule that requires him to travel a lot, it wasn’t easy for my timing to coincide with his availability. I wrote up a draft of the text first, using the pointers Tai had texted me (sister n brother helped me with this. I chased after my sister and forced her to sit down with me to go through it), so at least i had something to show him rather than an empty piece of paper. Since we couldn’t meet up, I just sent it to Tai. He replied saying it was good to go (honestly, I wasn’t sure if he read it or not haha). We talked over it and he gave me a few tips on doing public speaking. Just thinking about it, gave me a sudden rush of panic attack. No kidding.
As the event grew nearer, the anxiety got worse. I had so many what-ifs going through my head. The 3 ladies above were my backbone together with my leader Jiey and Shida. Two days before flying out, Jiey called me in the morning while i was in the car doing the kids school drop off. The minute she asked me the details of my flight and event, i started having butterflies in my tummy. It wasn’t just butterflies though, i literally felt nauseous and sick. Reached home and started throwing up. What i thought was just normal butterflies in my tummy (u know, the kind of feeling you get before entering the exam hall during uni days) was more than just that. After throwing up a few times, i then realise…it was actually an anxiety attack. Having experience it (anxiety attack) myself now, i kid you not, it is not something small that you can dismiss. It’s huge (and crazy) and affects your daily life terribly. Seriously. What add on to the hectic-ness was elder 2 had World Book Week Celebration, needed to work with them to get school project done.
A day before my flight, husband noticed how “white” (read : pale) my face was. He tried comforting me, but i remained anxious. I texted Tai to inform him about the crazy situation I am in. He was already in Indonesia then but he replied; Ok. Priority #1 now is: RELAX. Breath, take it easy, honestly – you will see this will be a great experience and the stress leading up to it was unnecessary 😉. What time do you get in today? Let’s set up a time today, you come a rehearse with me, we’ll nail this down and I’ll help you feel really good about it. 👌🏽.
Oh have i ever mentioned before, i’m afraid of taxi rides due to a past experience. So with the anxiety and the fact that i was gonna have to ride a cab to the hotel from the airport just made my anxiety worse. Got on the cab, trying, trying to stay calm..a text came in from Tai, ” You landed on Indonesian soil yet?” Seriously, receiving that message made a whole lot of different. It made me feel that somebody was there (in Jakarta) for me. To be honest, when he said to come rehearse with him… I didn’t put much expectation coz i knew he surely had his hands full with bigger things for the event. Thus, receiving his text to follow up on my arrival was a huge relief. He told me to get settled and ping him when I’m ready to meet at the ballroom and find some empty room to rehearse. Upon arriving at the ballroom, seeing this… i needed the washroom immediately. I’m not exaggerating.
We then went through each slide, he gave me some pointers (which were realllly helpful and helped me survive the stage). Next, we went up to the stage to get some feel of how it would be like. My knees were shaking as i stepped up and walked on the stage. Wanted to try and play my slides but the audio system wasn’t ready for it. Was told to come in early the next morning to give it a go.
That night, was the longest night in my entire life. We grabbed dinner at the mall next door, lucky thing I had Eric, Member Services from YL Malaysia there, he accompanied me for dinner. Tai told me: do not, do not rehearse it anymore. Just once and keep everything away. We finished dinner at about 9pm, obviously i wanted to rehearse it more than once the minute i reached my room. But I received msg from the US YL team and ended up joining them for a drink. That helped kill some anxiety out of me. They’re a great bunch of people. By the time I reached my room, ironed my clothes for next day, get all other things ready, solat and rehearse once (yes, just once) i was so exhausted (haven’t been sleeping well the past 3 weeks). The room given was superb and was able to sleep without waking up too much.
Woke up that morning full of anxiety. Breakfast spread was good but i dare not eat much. Fear of throwing up or having a stomach ache. Couldn’t even enjoy a nice cup of latte. Proceeded to the ballroom, to test run my slideshow. Tai came about the same time as I did. Guess what… I almost fainted when I got to know that they did not have speaker’s view for my slides. They do have a screen for me, but it showed the same screen as what the audience would see. How am i suppose to know what’s my next slide? My keynotes!? I got really really panic then, really. I told Tai, no wayyyy, i need my keynotes! He looked at me and confidently said “u have everything in your head muni, you don’t need them”. I guess he prepped me for the worst case scenario. I was gasping-for-air panic, rehearsing in my heart to see if i really had everything in my head. While i was doing that, I saw Tai approaching the media guy, Country Manager and Sales & Marketing Manager. I rushed to them (to demand for it) but he was already at it, trying to get the speaker’s view fixed for me. I started breathing better when i knew he had my back. Thank god everything was fixed, lucky thing Syauqi packed some additional wires (he really is the best packer :)).
Where I almost fainted, knowing there was no speaker’s view slides for me
I tried calming myself by talking with others. But i think everyone could tell i was anxious and scared. It was just too obvious. I had people offering me oils too 🙂 Receiving 2 drops of valor on my palm was priceless! Those around me witnessed how terrible i was. Never have i gotten hugged that much in a day along with lots of comforting words, “Don’t worry, you will be fine”. But in my head, i was thinking, ‘How would u know? U haven’t heard me talk, how can u be confident I’d be fine?” My family text me too, asking how I am. At this point, victims of my anxiety were YL staff Sathiya, Prasad and Brady. I think i repeated the words “I’m scared” a thousand times to them. and each time I said sop…without fell they kept telling me “you will do fine muni”. My brother’s words were able to make me feel much better; Being nervous is a prerequisite to doing well. Kalau tak nervous, something’s wrong. It was really a strong statement to me, made me feel that it is not wrong to feel the way i was feeling. Bapak texted me too, gave me some tips.
My leaders from Indonesia arrived and i managed to put a smile for the camera! Phewh. My 3 fashion police texted me wishing me good luck and my dear friend Ayu texted me too. Touch One members were there too, Malaysians and Singaporeans comforting me… telling me everything will be okay.
Oh here is a pic of me with Frances Fuller, Leader from Singapore while i was having breakfast. She gave me her bracelet for good luck. See how obvious my face was, very not at ease haha.
There were a few slots before my speech, I lost count of the number of times i went to the washroom while waiting for my turn. Made me wonder how could I pee so much despite not drinking much. Crazy anxiety. While waiting for my turn, Tai texted me his last words of motivation. Again, it really made a lot of different. It felt like we were in this shitty situation together… not just him, putting me in it and leaving me to go figure it out myself. I might have fainted if that was the case haha. Those seated next to me, Jen Lim and Patricia also helped to keep me calm.
I didn’t check with the staff what the cue was for me to go backstage. Suddenly, I realised that my turn was coming up. Just when I was about to look around for the person in charged… I saw her running towards me, asking me to run a little. I was literally running when the MC called my name that the pin on my scarf to secure it to my shoulder fell off while i was running. I requested for mic to be clipped on my shirt, but there was no time. So it wasn’t really a good start to begin with as i was running towards backstage, grabbed the mic n boommm, there i am on that stage…. what an experience it was. The crowd were a bunch of really nice people, they engaged with me during my speech, clapped their hands and murmured the right responses at the right time and i felt a lot better for that. My first few lines were not what I had planned. That was one of the pointers Tai told me the day before. He kept telling me not to look at the keynote, “Once you do that, you will keep on looking at the presenter viewer’s screen”. I managed to gather back my words, and the flow started getting better. However, my first slide didn’t appear when i click on the remote. Damn, just when I was about to get the hang of it, and so i lost the momentum slightly. I saw Tai giving me a signal to wait and stay calm and pointed to the audio guy. So i waited for the audio team to get my slide going.
My request for a rostrum was declined. I wanted to hide behind it, holding the papers containing my speech. “No Munirah, you don’t need it…walk around and engage with the audience. You be fine”.
I survived. Missed few points, but well, who knows right. Crowd played a major role for the success of me surviving it. They engaged with me throughout the 30 minutes talk, they clapped, they laugh (and I got to know later that I had people crying too).
That smile in the photo above, was a smile of relief. It was almost towards the end of my 30 minutes speech. Those 30 minutes on stage have given such an amazing new experience, particularly the anxiety… it was so crazy that it deserves a blog post here 🙂
So what actually was my biggest fear in regards to this talk? The fear of being dismissed. What if people are not interested with my story? What if I appeared to be, like, syok sendiri? Will i see people walking out of the hall during my talk? I told Tai (the man who put me in this spot), what if people get disappointed with me… after 30 minutes of listening , it’s all just about me. Whereas what they want to know, is about oils. It is the Grand Opening of YL afterall, surely people expect to listen about the oils. “No Munirah, this is not about teaching them. It is the Grand Opening. You are here to inspire. Education comes later”, he said.
At the the end of the talk, i received a standing ovation from the COO and Exec Corporate followed by others. MashaaAllah. As i step down from the stage, Tai was there at the side stage and gave me pat on my back and he said “told you the stress was unnecessary”. I took it as I did okay. As I was walking back to my seat… people stopped me and said “That was inspiring”, “Inspirasi bu’ munirah”, “Very inspiring” … Alhamdulillah, I did what i had to do. To inspire.
But will i do it again?
No. The anxiety leading towards it was just too crazyyy. Don’t wish to go through it ever again.
Young Living Independent Distributor