Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing.
I can still recall a day from grade 10 when I could not utter a single word in front of the entire class when the teacher asked me to present on a given topic. I could feel my heartbeat increase..lub…dub…lub…dub. I almost fainted. Tears began to roll down on my cheeks. I felt so ashamed and thought the whole world stood against me. However, I did not want to repeat the same situation and made a promise with myself that I would kill my fear of public speaking. Then I started taking part in activities that exposed me in front of people, whether it be a presentation or singing, though I do not have that awesome of a voice. That helped decrease some of my fear. However, due to my reserved nature, situations often pulled me back.
After graduating from college, I secured a job at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal in 2014. The bank had varied workforce diversity with people from different backgrounds. In that crowd, I lost myself. Though I was a good performer, something still felt blank inside of me. Due to my reserved nature, most of the people did not recognize me at work. I realized if I remained inside my shell I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my dream. One fine day, Mani Shrestha, a Toastmaster, approached me and asked me to join the club at Standard Chartered Bank. Without a second thought, I agreed and formally became a member of SCBNL toastmasters club. I served as the SAA in 2018. This role helped build a new version of myself. I have learned leadership skills, giving speeches have filled me with the confidence to speak in front of a larger number of audiences and increased my communication skills. No doubt Toastmasters has changed me.
Almost after 6 months of joining the club, I had a performance review with my boss. And he was so impressed with the changes that had happened in me. He felt so glad seeing the confidence level in me rise and he was assured that I can be a valuable asset at my workplace. I also received a promotion thereafter. I can say proudly that joining Toastmaster turned out to be the best decision of my life and it works as a catalyst for my personal and professional growth.
Prativa Neupane, Standard Chartered Bank Nepal Toastmasters Club