How to trust yourself when you're giddy with stagefright
"You must train your intuition - you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide." Ingrid Bergman
The scene: Boston, MA preparing for a major nutrition presentation in my home office in the morning of April 6th.
What was I eating? 1 cup of organic coffee and a yogurt parfait with my homemade granola!
What was I doing? Writing flashcards with bullet points on what I was to say in front of 10 people who would determine my destiny for the next 18 months. I was also recalling the events of last year's presentation where my nutrition partner in crime, Abra Pappa and I were speaking in a sweltering boardroom, dressed to the nines in full suits (so I'm already feeling awkward) which then lead to enormous beads of sweat pouring down my face and a colossal knot in the pit of my stomach. We kicked some major booty that day, but prior to that, I honestly didn't think I was going to make it through the synergistic combination of performance anxiety coupled with heat exhaustion. Sort of how I describe the ingredients in a diet coke when I'm in a dramatic mood... (caffeine+aspartame=death by toxicity)
What was I feeling now as I prepare for the second go around? That same knot in the pit of my stomach.
Action steps that lead to the extrication of the knot-
A few weeks prior to our presentation last year I was listening to a life-coaching seminar where our exercise was centered around an upcoming event that was causing us anxiety. We were then to imagine ourselves after the event, as if it had already taken place and was a tremendous success! Whenever a piece of advice sounds corny, I immediately share it with Abra. Deciding we had nothing else to lose, we reluctantly put it into action. It worked right up until the elevator reached the 4th floor, and we walked down the hallway into the boardroom. Reality, (and apparently the thermostat) had set in, and though I prepared long and hard for this, in my mind, I was doomed. In my humble years of studying acting, I've always done better with scripted material, and not impromptu discussions that this presentation called for. (I am also no doubt scarred by a vivid memory of a piano recital in first grade where I played one note and walked off the stage in horror, but that's for another post).
Then right before we began, I quickly channeled one of my "go-to" 1940's film actresses, Ingrid Bergman (who also struggled with stage fright) and decided to trust my intuition and focus on the passion I had for the material I was conveying instead of worrying about how I was coming across. Helping people get healthy is something that invigorates me to no end, so why not focus on the message I'm sending and let that bead of sweat come rolling down my back with pride?! Then as a bonus, I imagined them congratulating us at the end of the talk. It worked!
And it will work this time too. Here's what I'm envisioning:
Upon completion of the presentation, Abra and I are escorted outside for photos & autographs, and are asked out to a fancy dinner where we sign contracts that are in our favor. Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling are also there to present us with flowers. This is of course after my cold shower.
Thanks for letting me share my story. I hope it inspires you to"turn your clumsy into grace" by channeling the inner spirit and wisdom that's already in you.
Everyone has something amazing to offer this world. Just focus on your message, your spirit, and your passion; the rest is a delicious, gluten-free, minimally processed piece of cake!
PS. Our second talk has since happened. Let’s just say there may be some cool announcements coming up ;)
~Woo hooo! Thanks to the fantastic energy of my Nutritious Yogi family.