As I paced the unknown bedroom, my nerves were a bundle of knots. I kept going over the notes for my talk, and my heart wondered, “Why? Why speak? I could do anything else.”
My tummy was upset. My brain was in overdrive, and I doubted if sleep would come, especially since I had no way to play my white noise. (Lesson #1 Always get the WiFi password when a guest).
I couldn’t settle down and my negative thoughts were getting the best of me.
You aren’t ready.
Who do you think you are, coming to share with these moms?
This isn’t going to go well.
As I walked in circles, knowing I needed to sleep, but working myself up even more because I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, I stopped in my tracks when this question came out of my mouth with a laugh and my hands raised in question.
“Who does this? Who chooses this?”
Who says yes to a speaking engagement only to suffer the night before? Who signs up for a tummy in turmoil? Who drives hours for a speaking engagement to only attempt sleep? Who knowingly pursues the hours of prep only to feel like the least qualified to stand before their audience? I didn’t really have an answer as I laid, sleepless, listening to the rain hit the window.
Finally, I was able to get some sleep. Before I knew it I was standing waiting to take my place at the front of the room. My heart was about to explode from my chest. I wasn’t sure how I was going to speak because my mouth was sandpaper. And then I was welcomed up and somehow my feet carried me to the front of the room. No one seemed to notice that my heart was trying to impede my steps and my speech. And then I had the floor.
The first few minutes were rough … I will tell you that.
Letting go of fear
After those first rough minutes, I realized I was having fun. My audience was tracking with me. They were laughing when I thought they might. They were listening. My heart settled into a normal pace. It felt strangely good to be up front sharing my message for moms. I was surprised by this fact. I was comfortable up there because I knew my material well. In the span of 23 minutes the lies that were in my head the previous night were proven false. Afterwards I had the opportunity to chat with moms who thanked me for the words of encouragement.
I got my answer to my questions from the previous night.
Why speak? The reason you sign up for a speaking gig, spend hours prepping, get an upset tummy and lose sleep the night before, and go on the defensive against the lies hurtled at your confidence is because it is what you are meant to do. Getting to the point of holding the microphone will include blood, sweat, and tears. The reason you put yourself out there is because someone needs to hear what you are going to share. Despite your fear, your nerves, or the lies shouted at you, sharing the message that has been given to you is where you should be.
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