So last night, every speaker’s nightmare came true…
Actually, scratch that, last night, every person who fears public speaking’s nightmare came true.
My mind went blank.
I got up on stage, delivered a few lines, got people giggling, then boomph, nothing.
No words, no thoughts, nothing.
Rabbit à la headlights.
I’d get it if I were supposed to be giving a talk about Celtic coins or current SEO trends which I would have had to learn about in advance, but I planned to talk about myself and my experiences – something I talk, write and teach about regularly. It’s my own life FFS, not rocket science!
Well the good news is, I didn’t die.
I think that’s what most people fear about the whole public speaking thing. But I’m still here to tell the tale and I wasn’t swallowed by shame either and this is what I’d like to talk about – sometimes the Universe delivers things to show you how far you’ve come.
Last night, I got up on stage, introduced myself and started telling the tale about growing up with low self-esteem and having no confidence and how that can contribute to things like depression and anxiety. I’m guessing the small vulnerable part inside me was feeling, well, small and vulnerable opening up on this occasion, so my protective saboteur hopped right in and took over the controls of my brain – and that’s what these fuck ups we randomly do are.
Your ego (aka the headcunt) doesn’t like you stepping out of your comfort zone so it gathers the ‘protection’ crew to throw in something like shame to stop you making a tit of yourself and as a result, you either do make a full on tit of yourself, or you go and beat yourself up afterwards. Ego loves that:
“Ha, look at you, getting too big for your boots.”
“You made a right fool of yourself. You’re not going to speak in public again.”
“Everyone was laughing at you.”
Except this time, that didn’t happen.
I’m honestly pleased to say that the biggest ‘negative’ feeling I had was disappointment. I had a chance to tell around 100 people that they’re not alone and share the work I do and I messed up, got in a fluster, all out of breath as my lungs are still recovering from whooping cough.
I did feel a pang of shame, but it went away quickly and so, I actually found this whole experience profoundly healing.
I know I’m a fucker for silver linings and sprinkling positivity everywhere but even this took me by surprise.