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The story of this photo and how I confronted my fear of public speaking

I can’t speak in public.

I am not the most confident person.

I never attended a class about business.

These were the thoughts that were going through my mind a week before it happened.

And I loved it.

In a strange way.

They added this inexplicable fuel to my fire.

I had been thinking. It’s time to grow. It is time to stop thinking and start doing.

I said yes.

And there I was, a 20-year-old sociology student about to pitch a startup in front of an expert jury to receive investment that was going to be decisive for us.

20,000 Euros to be exact.

By some miracle, I managed to ignore my palms sweating and my brain telling me to run the other way as fast as I could.

I was being taught how to pitch in 4 hours, 48 hours before the pitch.

And all of it went by very quickly.

It was already time…

There I was.

I went into the room with my team and stood in front of the expert jury. All successful in their own fields.

And there I was, not knowing anything about startups just 3 months ago.

I start pitching.

I did not know how the five minutes that was allowed, passed by.

I ended my pitch with the classic “Thank you”.

I looked around.

The jury looked at each other.

Silence.

I was nervous.

Anxious.

What did I say?

Did they understand it?

Did I mention everything?

Did I say something wrong?

Then one of them finally broke the silence.

And it was by telling me how other startups should take an example from the way I pitched.

*Mic drop*

I felt like my heart didn’t fit in my chest anymore.

Excitement. Blood flowing every which way.

Trying to play it cool. Smiling. Face getting redder than a Styrian tomato.

I managed to get out the words “Thank you”.

I look at my team. We leave feeling empowered and accomplished.

I couldn’t wait to tell the rest of the team. We immediately went to WhatsApp and told everyone!

The first question was: “When do we know if we got the investment?”

I said: “In two weeks.”

We must have discussed what could happen about a 100 times within those two weeks.

Trying to focus. We got a lot of work to do.

Two weeks later we get an email…

I did it. We got our pre-seed fund for a social startup that we have been working on for more than a year.

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do actually.

I took a selfie to capture my feelings At that moment to send to my team. It is the most awkward selfie I have ever taken to this date.

It doesn’t even look like me.

But it captures that moment perfectly.

I discover new weaknesses every day.

I am not perfect.

But, I entered that room with fear of what might be, and left it with a level of confidence I had not yet experienced. I left that room as a different person.

I left that room as a PRIME MOVER.

There are special times when you need to be told to ignore what your brain tells you.

Where you feel empowered to go with your heart instead.

This is why I call my team, my family.

Always and forever.

— Greta

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