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  • Paul Fink

Taking the leap into public speaking...

If you noticed or not, I recently started posting photos and videos my recovery in my blog and social media. Why? I have embarked on new career in public speaking.

Any friends or acquaintances know me, I am a doer and it is not my nature to boast or carrying on, so public speaking is little bit foreign for me. It has always made me nervous, and I always tried to avoid it. However, after delivering a number of speeches, in various organisations, I am enjoying it and every time I speak, I am more comfortable, confident and easier to convey my experiences.

Five years ago I was working full time with IT roles and obviously my life has turned upside down after my stroke, so it was a turning point in my career and my life. Currently, my IT career prospects is limited with my disability - especially with my communication, writing, fatigue issues with using computers and screens, however, my IT background is still very beneficial for me and my recovery.

So why public speaking? I remembered my inpatient speech pathologist [Catherine Naismith at Caulfield Hospital] foresaw my career to be a motivational speaker. Two thoughts entered in my mind.

  1. She’s nuts!! Because I was struggling to physically talk!!!; and

  2. ‘I am inspirational because I had a stroke??’. Mmmm Why?? The stroke was a freak thing and beyond my control… Either way, I am lucky (or unlucky - depends your perspective) to suffer a stroke in a young age, because, pre-stroke I was a not an inspiration - I was a normal guy.

In my opinion the inspirational people are the doctors, nurses, allied health workers etc because they are the superheroes that gave me my life back. Basically I was uncomfortable for the term ‘inspiration (or motivation)’. However, I understand Cath’s point now and almost five years after she is possibly right.

Recently I saw a nice quote from an American man [Garrison Redd - pretty inspirational man - Google it if you want] and he said “Your trauma is not your fault but your healing is your responsibility”. Basically Cath was trying to compliment my attitude towards my recovery.

My feedback from previous speeches were very complimentary- in fact I spoke with the Caulfield Hospital Managers and Senior Staff forum two months ago and Cath was in the audience! Aside my nervousness, I delivered the speech and she was very proud.

That’s why I’m starting speaking because it is lots of benefits for me. It is definitely helps my communication - especially practicing out loud - satisfaction with helping people, enjoyment, meeting new people in diverse organisations, and educate people about grit, determination and perseverance, as well as an opportunity to spread the word about stroke prevalence especially in young people. Therefore it is worthwhile task for me to start a public speaking career for businesses, hospitals, schools, non-profit organisations, sports clubs - basically anyone etc.

I know I need to promote myself - even though it is not natural feeling - however I am passionate about helping people to learn that all barriers can be overcome and to never give up. I am very excited for my different path in my career and my speeches, words, and experiences can hopefully help benefit other people.


PS. The new page in my blog for public speaking is here

PPS. Thank you Lauren Fink, Corey Layton (eg 'The Captain'), Allan Goldstein, Aimeé Harel and Candy Hertz for helping me progress my career and to all the people who have already heard me speak, and then took the time to send me messages of encouragement to give me the confidence to take the leap into public speaking, thank you.

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