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At the Social Media Week in Nairobi, Pushing Boundaries and Letting go of Fear

I was invited to speak on a panel yesterday afternoon for the first ever Social Media Week in Nairobi at the KICC.
When I received their call about a month ago, I was nervous. Public speaking was never my strongest suit. I have given two talks over the past year and both times I was extremely nervous; the whole experience was very daunting. Standing in front of a crowd, my stomach would tie itself in knots, and I had difficulty articulating myself, even when I knew what I needed to say, and had the right answers. So for the longest time, I shied away from engagements of this nature.
One of my biggest fears was rejection. Would I be good enough? Which is ironical since the audience would come to listen to me because they wanted to; so why should I feel rejected anyway? My strongest critic was myself. And really, you cannot control what people say about you. All you have is yourself! However, the more I speak in public, the better I get. I have learnt to embrace this fear of mine and conquer it and not to let nerves get in the way of me achieving my full potential.

I think I did very well yesterday. For the first time, I did not feel a single shred of anxiety. It was such a breeze and literally felt like an afternoon with friends. We talked about what excites us about social media, how social media is changing everyday habits for Kenyan women, looked at the different social media channels and discussed how women contribute to and consume information on these platforms and how women can leverage social media and grow their online businesses and engage with brands and touched a bit on parenting and social media. The conversations were lively and interactive and each of us on the panel built on each other’s points and shared fun anecdotes and summarized by taking questions from the audience.

I concluded my contribution by saying that women should uplift each other on-line, avoid cyber-bullying and pitting other people against each other. Women should speak with intention and not for attention. When it comes to working with brands, I spoke about being true to yourself and to the brands you represent and having a real genuine relationship.

My biggest learning lesson from taking up this challenging experience to speak on a panel, was to keep pushing my boundaries. It’s obviously easy for us to remain in our comfort zone, but in an increasingly competitive world, by limiting ourselves from accepting new challenges, we are missing out not only on professional growth but also on life experiences.

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