Traveling back from a work conference, a conversation with a speaker keeps playing back in my head.
One of my assignments required me to chronicle events for social media and engage online. I had the opportunity to talk to one of our dynamic speakers and complimented him on his session (think condensed TED Talk). This small talk shifted my thinking about performance. Our opening keynote speaker gave a powerful speech about performing under pressure. Those words seemed to stick with one of our speaker. He said he began to hold onto them and think about all the ways he could not perform well under pressure. He had about two hours before he had to take the stage but kept getting more nervous as his session approached.
Facts over Feelings
It doesn't matter how well-rehearsed you are, anything can throw you off. It only takes one small thing to throw you off your game. Is that trigger bigger than the facts? In this instance, this highly regarded member, who has been honored many times over was thrown off by overthinking a failure, one that did not exist. In fact, he had spoken more than most members at the meeting.
Do it with a smile As an audience member and someone capturing sound bytes for social media engagement, I was unaware of what internal struggle happening within him. Outwardly, he was as confident, posed, and charismatic as any recognized and respected orator.
If he was nervous, he gave new meaning to the idiom, "never let 'em see you sweat." I've spoken before about lying how accountability can work together to help you manifest your greatest good. Find that totem to bring you back to earth He went on to talk about how his time to present drew closer and closer. He began to think affirmations and smile. "Think positive thoughts, take the stage, and smile. Think positive thoughts, take the stage, and smile," he said. Then he pulled out his phone, and scrolled to a text from his sister, "think positive thoughts, breathe, take the stage, and smile," almost exhaling as he read it.
Remembering to bring his breath to center, he drew on his purpose. He remembered that he deserved to share his ideas, and most importantly, he remember that someone knew he could do it. His sister, his anchor, and his affirmations helped this speaker get out of his head and onstage to wow the crowd with just 8 minutes.
People are watching, push through for them
I truly believe that his ordeal and the insights he shared onstage happened in a divine order. His vast knowledge of business road mapping inspired hundreds and will go on to touch thousands, but his perseverance through his nerves felt like a personal alarm to push through my own fears. We are too often our own worst enemy and do ourselves a such disservice by diminishing our purpose. I struggle with this like most.
Seeing this amazing advisor and speaker shake himself out of self-doubt fueled my desire to pause, catch my breath, and find my own totem that reminds me that I am not only deserving of a space but a stage.
How many stages will you talk yourself out of because of your fears?
On the other side of fear is unknown and that's because it's your space to tell the story. It's your stage. Whether you fall flat on your face or rouse a standing ovation from the crowd, your voice is meant to be heard.
This stage, whatever it may be for you, is an opportunity to validate the work it took to get to there as well as the fears you thought you could never face.
Take the stage of your life, you are here for a reason.
Leave tickets for your fears at will-call. This is your time.