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… That was the title of my last speech I gave in Munich two weeks ago. It was the final of the Stand up & Speak up Challenge.

Eight of us had qualified. The nervousness of all speakers was evident because we only had 5 minutes to tell our story. 15 seconds over, one would lose points. 31 seconds over, and you’re out. Disqualified. WOW, that’s a challenge.

The event took place in an underground jazz cellar. Amazing atmosphere and yet I felt a little lost in the gloomy darkness.

I was the third to go on stage. Last minute checks. Control breathing. The microphone was installed and I heard the organizer reading my introduction.

My heart was racing. My hands were wet. Seconds later I was called on stage. All eyes were on me. I couldn’t recognize anyone. The spotlight was dazzling me and it was as if I was looking into the void.

With the very first sentence I slipped. My nervousness increased and the next slip was inevitable.

A carousel of feelings swirled over me. Suddenly I saw the red flag and was facing disqualification.

The flag surprised me so much and threw me completely off course. I forgot all my text and just knew I had to finish NOW.

Somehow I finished, relieved and disappointed at the same time. The many hours that I had practised and practised. The helpful coaching tips I had received from Kyle. And now just an emptiness of thoughts where you simply lack the words.

The judges gave me good constructive feedback and I was amazed at how positive they were.

My pulse had recovered and I could relax. Listening to the other speakers was exciting; so many variations on the subject of „roots“.

Incredibly I won 3rd place. Look at the delight in the picture.

It also shows that we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to be ourselves. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Do your thing bravely and be proud.

Many asked me whether the effort was worth it.

At first I had no answer, because the way there had been rocky and so time-consuming. Two weeks have now passed and I have a clear YES. It’s not about the event or the prize. What I learned from it is priceless. I was able to grow enormously again personally and am still processing what this appearance has achieved.

I’m not telling you anything new, you already know it.

If you want to make a change in your life, it will be uncomfortable. This is the only way we can grow beyond our borders and realise our potential.

I am excited about the challenges YOU will take on in the near future and I would be very happy to hear from you.