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I Carried the Watermelon!

Okay, so I didn't carry the watermelon, I carried the tree, but if you are a Dirty Dancing fan you got the joke. I have a feeling the tree dragging incident will be a topic of conversation for months (and likely years) to come.

I am so honored to be speaking at the very first Women's Leadership Conference this Friday at Georgia College and my topic is on public speaking and making a lasting impact. I will have the privilege of speaking to college students as well as ladies in the workforce about the best ways to lose the scary vibes and gain the confidence to get up and have a mic drop moment.

I would like to think I'm pretty open and am not easily embarrassed. That has come from years of practice but more so as I have gotten older, had children, and started pageantry. I can remember the very first pageant interview I walked into when I was 16. I was super nervous but my Mama had told me, "They are just people. Be you and let them see how beautiful you are in the inside." I scored 29.7 out of 30 points and took home the interview award....and 1st runner up. Dang. But, they told me I was Miss Georgia quality so that was a great score sheet for my scrapbook.

Fast forward 14 years and I was back in the Interview seat as a Mrs. Sure, I had done lots of public speaking through work and training sessions but I had not sat down with a panel of judges since I was 17. I had practiced over and over again but I had failed to prepare myself for the easy questions, "Why should we select you as Mrs. Georgia?" "Is there anything else you would like to tell us?" The DUH questions and because of that I scored in the 6th seat in Interview. Crap. I was not prepared for the little things and it cost me a crown. Let's face it, even if I had have been in the top 5 for the interview at that pageant, I would have crashed and burned on stage. I didn't know what I was doing and that's okay. I know it now and have obviously corrected my errors, but I was able to do so because I did not give up on it and I kept pursuing my dream.

I like to think that speaking in public is a lot like a pageant. You may crash and burn the first few times but if you keep trying you will better yourself and eventually you will rock the stage like you're a boss. You also need to find your strengths and weaknesses. Are you better speaking to women? Do children flock to you? Start out with the ones that you are most comfortable with and build yourself up.

Remember, be yourself and let whoever you are speaking to see how beautiful you are on the inside and you will succeed. Maybe not the first time, but eventually those little bumble bees in your belly will turn to butterflies and you will be amazing! Never give up on doing the things that make you happy, even if it means you have to carry a tree down the aisle with you!

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