I was giving a short talks at DevXS in Lincoln this weekend based on my Nomadic Web Development article and I was asked “Where did you find the courage to quit your job, leave your flat and just go?”. I mumbled something about not being sure but I am really annoyed with myself for not coming up with a substantially better answer. If asked again I would say “Do the things that scare you. Try anything and you’ll either succeed or fall on your ass and learn some valuable lessons, either way you come out stronger.”. That might be some motivational bull-hockey, but I believe it and you guys should give it a try.

Over the last year I have done so many things that scared the living shit out of me. There was mountains in Golden and Banff that were almost entirely scree all the way to the peak with high wind and huge drops that would certainly lead to death. So many times I considered giving up and heading back down but I pushed myself, got to the top and it was epic. I started kayaking last year and I was petrified of going down waterfalls and dodging rocks in rapids, now I have a BCU 3* which shows that I am now officially “pretty good”.

My most recent attempt to get over things that scare me is public speaking. As a developer we all feel nice and safe behind our screens, usernames and avatars but getting up in front of an audience is a bitch. I have done it before once or twice (EECI2009 and CICON2010) but they were only small-stages and… well I did not feel they went well as I was so new at it. This turned me off accepting talk offers and I’ve been a little ashamed about it for a while, but now I am hitting this on the head and giving it a go.

A month ago I spoke at PHPNE, giving an Introduction to FuelPHP and by all accounts I nailed it. People were ingaged, I spoke slowly and clearly for most of it, I didn’t fall over my words or stare at the screen for the entire talk and people asked interesting questions.

This left me feeling way more comfortable to giving more talks and I already had one in the pipeline for DevXS after being asked by Alex Bilbie. This one went great, but was in a much much bigger venue and while I still felt nervous and missed out some key points in general I was happy with it:

So it’s onwards an upwards from here. I’ll be taking feedback, improving, speaking more and I have a few even bigger events lined up already which I’ll announce as soon as I am allowed: And of course at CICON2012 which is about to release tickets.

In the mean time, if you’d like me to give a talk at your event on any of the subjects I can speak with authority: FuelPHP, PyroCMS, CodeIgniter, Git, etc or even just want me for a little bit of training, get in touch via my contact form and we can makes some plans.