Is a Great Nurturer of Potential

By Edit Kovacs (*)


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How did it all start

Actually I am a shy person but in the right company I turn into a gregarious and sociable creature, just like anyone else. However, if this person ends up in a certain situation which involves exposure and being in the focus of attention, all those skills vanish and an embarrassed, hesitating, clearly insecure person remains. This issue needed fixing, not only due to my  work place demands but also for personal reasons; in a situation with more than 2 people present, my verbal and non-verbal communication was always terrible.

Eventually, a work colleague suggested stand-up comedy as a joke and as the furthest concept from my shyness.  Self-evidently, I did not take it as a joke but as a crazy idea and as such, something to explore in depth. The more I was entertaining the idea of standing on a stage and making people laugh, the more it felt the right thing.  Making anyone laugh, comes directly from the core of my personality although I could not imagine the rest of it in my right mind.

The next step was to find a comedy course – yes it can be learned like anything in this planet – and to start my seven weeks misery with constant doubts and insecurities. It felt every week like walking through death row but, as if due to some mistake, I have to start it all over again on the next week. Seriously, it is not possible realistically to describe its painfulness, every single week, maybe only to compare it to a hanging event from the middle ages. It was not only down to this certain personality trait but also to the language demands and honestly, the competition set the level high.

As I gradually experienced, writing and presenting puns in English which is my second language is not that simple. Writing jokes is a serious cognitive exercise, even without an added level of difficulty. However, as a surprise to myself during the seven weeks I was getting better and better!

Obviously, I turned out to be useless at improvising and by default, I was scared to death so I still had no idea how to survive the big day. Fortunately 25 of my friends accepted the invitation and the big performance became a social event which meant there was no way back.

Surprisingly, on the last week I reached the phase of understanding and feeling the material and the way of delivery, and the “I nailed it” sentiment gave me some boost of self-confidence. Maybe the time and effort invested in this comedy course finally paid off.  Although I was still incredibly stressed and nervous, I anticipated success!

On the big day, all my friends were supportive, including the ones who could not be physically present.  I spent the day trying to focus on the material that I put together.  When going up to the stage, everything blurred out and not much reached my senses from the chatter, familiar faces, or the lights. The shy, hesitating person went on the stage and delivered her own five minutes of comedy material in her second language and the audience was full of laughter.

When leaving the stage I was still not able to perceive anything from the environment and it took some time for my body to stop shaking and being able to speak.  One of the most significant evenings in my life which made me understand that I am the only one who can deal with my own fear.

And it works. 


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Edit Kovacs comes from Hungary where she used to run an international service desk and is currently a business consultant specializing in Service Management based in England.

She has a Master’s degree (MA) in Sociology, specializing in Business Process Offshoring; which gives significant expertise on intercultural issues.

She is also experienced in Management of Change and is currently studying for a Psychology BSc in the Open University.