So Uncomfortable…

It was only with strangers.  I would feel my stomach knot, my palms sweat.  I could feel the heat rising from my neck and chest, getting red and blotchy.  It was so obvious that I had no confidence.  I was sure people would think that I had nothing smart to say.  I would crumble.

Even asking the question made it happen.  I was in a Sales Training program (feels like a million years ago) but I already knew that this was becoming a major problem for me. 

It was just so embarrassing.  Even when I didn’t think I was nervous, the red face was the worst.  So I asked the question.  What can I do to stop feeling so nervous speaking in front of people.  And what can I do to stop it being so obvious.

The trainer was super-professional.  He looked like he had never had a moment of doubt or nerves in his life.  And the question kind of threw him.  He said that he was a sales trainer, not a speaker trainer and that he didn’t really know the tactics or methodologies for successful speaking.

And then he paused.

He apologized and said, you know I think I can help you.  

I’ll never forget what he said.

You see, he said, I also used to get nervous and suffer from stage fright.  Even if it was a small training group.  And then I realized that I was telling myself really scary stories.

About how the audience knew more than me, that I didn’t have enough experience, that I wasn’t smart enough, that, I would be a disappointment…

And then he continued, and I like most people, have enough evidence, in my past, of people and situations that taught me those stories. But I made a decision.  That I wanted to do this work.  That I love it and I’m good at it.  

And everyday I tell myself this story.  And now I know it’s the truth.

He seemed shy to have suddenly gotten so personal, and then he cleared his throat, smiled and asked for more questions.

It made such a huge difference.  Of course, changing my story didn’t happen overnight.  But it started a new path for me.  One that seriously changed my life.  And helped me become a speaker. 

Actually it was the start of my transformation from severe stage fright to loving the stage more than anything else I do (even though I still get nervous!).

What’s stopping you from speaking up the way you’d like to?
Share your Story here.

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6 comments on “So Uncomfortable…

  1. I got an email from a friend who shared a story today with a potential client – even though she was afraid she might be committing “professional suicide”. The prospect not only responded very positively, but also invited her to a meeting to help visualize new directions.

    Our stories are our connection points with others. Thanks for reminding us, Lisa!

    • Yes so true Sheyenne, sometimes we need to be brave to dare to tell our story! – thanks for your comment! best wishes, Lisa

  2. Hi Lisa. I have had a lifetime of being on stage: as a pianist and ballet dancer in my younger years, in front of corporate audiences including CEOs and VPs during my years as a corporate cog and in front of a group of nurses talking about my book Radiant Survivor after I had my stroke. However, I am panicked now about speaking in front of audiences, mainly because my voice and projection were affected by my stroke and it takes great energy to talk. I would love to be able to speak again. I have signed for the Toastmasters meet-up here in Houston, but I haven’t attended yet. Need to gather my courage and make myself do it. 😊

    • Hi Erica! I am also in Toastmasters and I just wanted to write you a quick comment to encourage you to go to a meeting! I love Toastmasters because it is always a geoup of people looking to improve themselves in some way and everyone there has the common belief in the importance of communication. It is a very supportive atmosphere with people of all levels of experience in speaking. Each member works toward their individual goals and everyone else supports each other offer constructive criticism and experience in ways they can. Anyway, no matter what your story is, I encourage you to try Toastmasters! It’s not as scary as one might think!!

      • Yes Katherine, agreed. Getting feedback in a supportive environment is super helpful. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. Warm wishes, Lisa

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