Prior to my surgery my friend Alicia contacted me to see if I was at all interested in speaking at an event the Minneapolis Junior League was presenting on Saturday, February 12.
The Minneapolis Junior League was holding their Leadership and Latte Day: Your Heart, Health and Happiness. The facilitator wanted to bring to the agenda a piece that would cover diet and exercise as preventative medicine for heart disease; presented by either a nutritionist, personal trainer/therapist with fitness focus or combination expert.
I hadn't had any contact with the MJL prior to this event and was a bit apprehensive to accept, simply because this event was out of my comfort zone as I typically speak to running groups. We have the common bond; running. I didn't know what I may have in common with this group. I knew they were a professional group of women who volunteered their time to benefit women and children. I didn't know how I would I would feel 2.5 weeks post surgery, another reason for my apprehension.
I did decide, yes, I would do this. I know that it is good for me to stretch out of my comfort zone and good for me to connect with others. I do enjoy sharing my story.
I was still very apprehensive.
As the week of the presentation neared I learned that I would be part of presentation that consisted of two other speakers. Dr. Joyce Wahr, a cardiac anesthesiologist as well as adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, would be speaking before me relating to the risk factors, gender data and preventative measures of woman's heart disease. After her segment Krista Post, Psychologist, would be speaking. I would be the final speaker. Now I was real apprehensive.
I entered the Excelsior and Grand Clubhouse and introduced myself to many of the women. They were very warm and very welcoming. I learned that 61 women had reserved a seat for the event. I was directed to place my literature upon the table for the members attending. As I reached for the agenda I was shaking with nervousness.
Dr. Joyce Wahr delivered a great presentation. I learned very much from her as she spoke about women and heart disease. We had a break and Krista then spoke about the components of emotional well-being. There was no break between Krista and I. I was introduced "Julie will share with us an inspirational story of how one woman has embraced life-changing habits to lead to a more heart healthy life" and up to the front of the banquet room I went.
I looked into the eyes of the women, I began to deliver my presentation. During my presentations I don't hold any notes, I don't use the projector or power point, I don't use photos. I speak from my heart. Just myself and my audience. I spoke to these women about how I changed my life..one step at a time and how those baby steps led to lifestyle changes. Big lifestyle changes. It is a very personal history and one I enjoy sharing very much.
The women laughed with me, they even cried with me. At the end of my presentation they asked many questions and let me know that I did in fact inspire and motivate them. I was asked if I was willing to speak at upcoming events. I've received phone calls and email to see if I will schedule other speaking engagements.
I enjoyed myself so much. I love to share of myself in this way. To let others know that yes, you can change your behaviors, today, to live a healthier lifestyle. It isn't too late. You do get another chance!
I'm going to run with this, to polish my speaking, to accept these speaking engagements, to share myself with others. It's an offer I don't want to refuse.