I’ve just been sitting in the sunshine in our kitchen, eating granola and thinking about an upcoming “Lunch and Learn” I’ll be conducting next week. The topic is “Turning Performance Butterflies into Positive Excitement”. I’m already hearing in my head what I want to say about each point, even hearing the transitions from one point to another. I don’t often have an opportunity to extract one idea from my workshop and focus on it for a whole hour. It’s an exciting project, and I’m enjoying how it’s coming together.
I’m looking back at how I felt three years ago, when a career change into teaching presentation skills was just emerging as an idea. I wasn’t sure if I believed in myself enough to make it work. Would anybody want to hear what I had to share? After all, didn’t everybody already know this stuff? Well, jeez, if it took me a lifetime as a musical and theatrical performer – out there on the front lines – to figure it out, why did I imagine that everybody else would already have done so? Take next week’s presentation. If everybody already knew that management of performance nerves is almost 100% an inside job, would the organizers of the Lunch and Learn have chosen that topic out of the several choices I gave them? Do presenters need to hear that confident speaking is a matter of perspective and attitude, with specific points, one through six? Who doesn’t need to hear this message?
So, here I am three years later, and my Skilltime business is growing steadily. I’m fully confident in the value of what I have to offer and in my ability to deliver it in an engaging manner, in a way that changes people’s lives. It blows me away! (Of course, I’ve worked at it, hard, for those three years.)
What blows me away even more is how lucky I was to meet a corporate trainer who believed in me, right from the start. My stepson had connected us via email, and the first time we “met” was over the phone. It seemed we had hardly exchanged a dozen words before she was talking about the possibility of our doing something together. But I was an entertainer and an educator! What did I know about the world of business? I asked her recently, “How did you DO that? What did you hear?” She replied, “There was a SOMETHING in your voice which went beyond your dramatic ability. Power? Potential power? Ambition (as in seeing possibilities in the future)? Articulation? A handle on what public speaking is really about? Probably it was all of those, and it was contagious.” She heard all that, before I was even sure those qualities were there. Today, Cheryl Crumb and I together present a two-day intensive workshop on business presentations called “On Stage”.
What’s the point of this personal story? Is there a “Tip” somewhere in here about talking? Well, yes, there is. Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Cheryl (and others, among them my dear husband) believed in me when I wasn’t sure I could do it, myself. They helped me keep faith with myself. If you want an audience to believe in you, first you must believe in yourself. If you think you have something valuable to say, then you do. Believe it. If your dreams are inviting you in a certain direction, believe in them. Believe in your ability to follow them. You can do it. You’re worth it.