a woman rock climbing on a sheer cliff face

Just this morning I had a meeting with a client that caused me to throw out essentially all the preparation I’d done for our session next week, and start over from scratch. It’s a bit daunting. But to be honest, I love coming up with new exercises and ideas to put out into the world. That’s why I’m always finding opportunities and occasions to set stuff out into the world.

And this new session is related to lots of stuff I’ve done, will draw on lots of experience I have and trainings I already do, but will be a new output. So for me, it’s a dream come true. Because, as a content creator, trainer and keynote speaker, I have lots of core subject matter areas I work with (storytelling, public speaking, message refinement, confidence building, networking, improvisational creativity), but the output can be quite new. And challenging. And thrilling.

Writing and publishing a children’s book

Just a month ago I actually published a book. No, not The Confident Presenter. This is a book of nursery rhymes, knock-knock jokes and poems for my daughter Arya. A version of it will soon be available for the general public. But this version was just for her. It leveraged lots of skills I’d be working on, especially self-publishing on Amazon, and added a few more. For example, I taught myself a new book formatting software just for this project. I may use it again in the future too, now that I can.

Also of note: I did a bunch of illustrations. Like this crocodile.

crocodile black and white hand-dawn by ryan millar, so it's not very good

I know, not bad right? It also lives in an honest-to-goodness paper book!

As you can see, I’m not much of an illustrator, but that’s what made the act of putting these illustrations together so enjoyable for me. Trying stuff, learning, stretching myself. It was, in the truest sense, a labor of love.

Levelling up the online presentation game

Two weeks ago I created and delivered a presentation on online presenting. That makes sense, as I do a lot of online presenting and I wrote a book called The Confident Presenter. But I realized I didn’t have any content specifically on the topic, so I had to create it. It was just a half hour for a design agency in Denver Colorado, so it had to be all killer, no filler.

Luckily, I also (coincidentally?) had the chance to take a free masterclass with Felippe Nardi and Inside the Show.

It took my online presenting technical settings from “basic” to “intermediate”. Maybe even “upper intermediate”.

Which, if I’m being honest, is a massive jump. I’m now so much more in control of what I present, how it looks and the impression my audience has of me.

But the funny thing is: I didn’t have these skills or knowledge of the programs and hardware before I took the job to deliver this presentation. It’s almost as if the skills I want to acquire are a result of taking on new challenges, not something I do in order to set myself up for new challenges.

Push ahead of your skills and experience rapid growth

So this is the takeaway. At least for me. Take on new challenges just beyond your comfort zone. Push yourself and become the person you want to be. When opportunity knock-knocks, your job is to say, “who’s there?”


knock knock black and white