I watched her back stage talking about the pools of sweat forming in her shoes. I watched her walk onto the stage with pure, unadulterated confidence. Who was this person freaking out behind the scenes, yet cool as a cucumber in front of the audience? Her name is Dr. Becca Whittaker. Dr. Becca is a chiropractor turned functional medicine doctor who is on a mission to heal the world. No level of sweaty shoes will stop her from walking her talk.
Have you ever met a person so full of power and grace that you just know you are in the presence of greatness? That’s who Dr. Becca is to me. She’s a force to be reckoned with – a person with immense talent… and yet, doubts herself so deeply.
When she first came to our SPEAK With Confidence retreat, she came because she heard me speak at a conference for doctors. As soon as I finished my talk on branding, she came up to me and said, “I want to do what you just did.” It wasn’t that she wanted to talk about branding – she decided she wanted to own the room and share her own knowledge the way I was able to share mine.
What I didn’t know at the time was that she had more talent in her little finger than most speakers have in their whole bodies – and yet she wasn’t 100% sure she was going to be great.
The first time I watched her speak, I saw her charisma flowing through her veins into the audience. She held herself so confidently, spoke with ease, and delivered with power. She knew her content. I watched it flow through her and out of her as if it was second nature. She was born for the stage. It made me doubt myself. I almost became unsure of my own ability to train her. Until she walked off stage and said, “was that ok?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? That was INCREDIBLE!
When we worry about what others THINK of us, we doubt ourselves. Our self-doubt is what can keep us from getting on a stage. Our self-doubt can keep us from doing what we’re meant to do.
So, what if we flipped it. What if we asked ourselves “How will this talk impact me?”
In one of my recent posts, I talked about asking yourself about your impact on your audience. It was all about how we want our audience to FEEL. In this one, I want you to ask yourself about the impact on YOU. The feelings YOU will have when you’re done.
Like most of us, Dr. Becca was the only standing between her and what she needed to say. Those little voices inside her head kept telling her that she wasn’t the woman for the job. And yet, she KNEW it was her moment.
What if you started your next talk, webinar, social media post, video, or conference call thinking: “How will this impact me?”
You could answer that you want more clients for your company, more money for your team, more work for you. If any of these is the reason you’re speaking, please stop speaking. Immediately. If you’ve been up on a stage with money in mind, I’ve seen you and you were TERRIBLE. It felt the same way as when I bought my last used car. Gross.
The impact I’m talking about is this: I could give them something they never thought of. I could teach them something that could save their business. I could make them rethink their business model and make more of their own impact. I could help them understand their health. I could be the reason they make the decision to change their outlook. I could be the speaker who changes their fate. I could be the linchpin – the voice that gave them permission to take that next step. I COULD MAKE THEM FEEL.
When you ask yourself about the impact on you, and answer seriously, you realize that it’s not about you. Your nerves will start to dissipate. Because – and let me say this again so you don’t miss it: THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
Takes the pressure off a bit, doesn’t it?
AND – it also makes you answer more truthfully. What WILL you get out of it? How will it impact your life? Your business? Your brand?
It’s NOT about money or fame or status. It’s not about how many clients you’ll get. How will you FEEL when your talk is over?
When you let go of the worry about what others THINK of you, the worry of how many clients you’ll make from that talk, the worry of how much money you’ll make – and start noticing the impact, you find yourself in a new space. The “it’s not about me” space. This helps you move forward, share your impact, and know how it will impact your life as well.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Dr. Becca is now a deeply close friend of mine – a person I want to spend way more time with. She’s one of those true friends who walks with me. I learn from her as much as she learns from me. We build each other up and help each other grow. We’re in this together – creating impact in our own incredible spaces. Fully in our power and confident in who we are as speakers – and humans.
We both know that it’s not about us – AND we understand how we want others to feel from the content we produce, the talks we give, and the love we share with the world.
Now it’s your turn. What do YOU need to do to step out of your way and create the impact you were born to create? It all starts with the impact your own speaking will have on you. The way you will feel when you’re done – not what others will think of you. It’s NOT about YOU.
Because I want this in more people’s hands, I’ve created a FREE training just for you – the same one Dr. Becca started with before she walked out on stage and rocked her talk. Check out How To Write A Stage-Worthy Talk In Under 45 Minutes at stageworthytalk.com and get started writing your most impactful talk.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brené Brown
When I think of Light, I first think of vulnerability. And when I think of vulnerability, I think of Lindsey.
Lindsey and I met in a virtual Numerology class. We were both in the class for the same reason – to understand ourselves better. Every class, we’d see the other one making similar faces to our own – and they were so familiar that we knew we had to be friends. She lived in Portland, I lived in DC. Over the next two years, we became voicemail buddies. We’d leave 3-minute voicemails for each other and go deep. She shared about her divorce, I shared about my tough relationship. We were both entrepreneurs – struggling with similar issues. We felt like sisters.
When we finally met each other in the flesh, we were deep into each others lives. We kept staring at each other with the “I know you” looks. Like we had been sisters in another lifetime. And yet, I know one thing about Lindsey – she’s willing to be vulnerable with anyone who wants it. Some might say it comes from her frequent attendance at Al-Anon meetings (the meetings for those with alcoholic loved ones) where she shares and listens. Or her desire to be a better human to her children, team, and friends by going to a therapist – sharing with others that it’s healthy to talk to someone about your feelings. Others may say it’s just who she is. No matter what, Lindsey is one of those people who will go deep with you – quickly. And she has no fear around it.
When Lindsey and I get busy with life and don’t get a chance to talk for awhile, we end up picking up conversation as quickly as if we talk every day. We go deep – FAST. We share our thoughts, give advice, and never judge. We’re fully vulnerable with each other because it’s who we are as humans. There are no boundaries – other than always coming from a place of love. Even when it’s hard.
Years ago, Lindsey realized she was holding a lot of anger and had been carrying it around with her infecting everything in her life. So, her therapist told her to get a metal folding chair, write her anger on it, and carry it with her for 40 days. She wanted Lindsey to see what her anger looked like physically.
Lindsey left her therapist’s office with an angry laughter telling herself that it was the dumbest idea she’d ever heard. She sat in her car for a moment realizing that everything her therapist said was true – even in how she was reacting. So, she told herself that she’d go to the thrift store on her drive home and IF there was a folding chair, she’d get it. A sweet little light blue folding chair was poised at the back of the store. She gave her money and left with it.
When she got home, she wrote ANGER & RAGE in big black markers all over a light blue chair. And although she had just started her own business, she decided to be REALLY vulnerable and take that chair to all of her meetings. She took it to big corporations for client meetings, to her office, to coffee with friends – it even stood next to her bed so she could see it when she woke up. She carried her anger with her physically – and watched how it banged into things, got in the way, and even became hard for others to avoid.
Lindsey ended up in the newspaper with her story and a local pastor asked her to come share her story with teens at his church. She took that chair and told her story – and brought paper copies of a blue folding chair for the teens. She asked them to write down something that got in their way, something they took everywhere with them – also something they wanted to release. At the end of the conversation with them, they helped her lay her chair on the altar of that church and let it go.
Lindsey told that story and many others on stage at SPEAK With Confidence. She gave everyone in the audience a different view of vulnerability. I still hear to this day from those in attendance that they’ve shared Lindsey’s story with others. Her story has ripple effects she will never see. Her story filled the room with Light – driving out the darkness so others could see that they needed to start looking at themselves more carefully.
By having the courage to share her story, Lindsey shared her Light with others. She gave others permission to see their own faults as works-in-progress. She gave them permission to do something about it.
Lindsey could have told a cleaner version of her story – she could have left out details, been less vulnerable, and given you a picture of her that could almost be untouchable. She could have also told you that her life is perfect now and she has it all figured out. Except that she will clearly tell you that she’s moved on to the next thing she’s working on – because she’s human.
The beauty of our lives is in the mess.
A lot of times we clean up our lives and our stories the same way we clean our houses for dinner guests. We tuck all the messy parts away so they don’t judge us. We hide all the things we don’t want them to see. Except that by cleaning up the stories of our lives, we also clean out the vulnerability.
Courage is hard work. Vulnerability is scary. AND it’s the most incredible tool for connection and growth.
So, I challenge you: If you have a story to tell that could help others, don’t censor it. Don’t clean it up. Don’t keep it to yourself. SHARE IT. Give the gory details. Be courageous and full of light – and know that you are right where you’re supposed to be.
WRITE YOUR STORY: Jump into this FREE training about how to write a stage-worthy talk and get started mapping out your story. You don’t have to become a speaker to share your story – go to: stageworthytalk.com
“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” – Anonymous
What a time to live in the moment. Here we all are wishing this pandemic away – wishing for less isolation & more “normal.” But remember back before this when we all wished we had less “busy” & more time. We wanted more time for the things we enjoy, the people we love, and the life we wanted to lead. We complained because we had too much on our plates. We said no to things we wanted to do because of things we HAD to do.
Before this, if I asked how you were doing, you might say “busy.” EVERYONE was “busy.” We all lived the life of busy looking longingly at our Instagram feeds watching friends who were traipsing around the world living life on vacation. I would be busy creating new slides on an airplane. I’d be taking all sorts of immune boosters while jet-setting to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa landing in rainstorms or blizzards to get in late and wake up early to Keynote a conference. Then I’d turn around and head to the next thing. I was too busy to get prepared ahead of time. Client work, being high-touch with my Rockstars, and answering a million questions were my “busy.”
Last year at our 2020 company planning meeting, we came up with this grand list of things to accomplish this year only to cut most of it out as the year kicked off with a bang. I had so many speaking gigs lined up that everything that wasn’t required got moved to later in the year. My husband and I set plans to move to Western New York for the summer to write our books. Then the world shifted.
We plan. God laughs. (Yiddish proverb)
I could sit here and complain. I could say, “but I had all these plans and all this income – all of that’s gone.” I could take up a new hobby or start cleaning out my house. I could sleep in. I could go to bed early. I could read more. I could pretend I’m retired and just wait it out.
Instead, I’m busy doing the things I WANT to do. I GET to be home doing these things. I GET to put my time into the content so many humans need from me. I GET to spend time making inspiring posts, courses, videos, and images. I GET to play piano more. I GET to inspire humans by sharing my vulnerable self – the good, the bad, and the grown-out puffy hair.
Normally, I feel required to do things – things that take up ALL of my time. Getting talks and slides and content together for people based on their timelines. Giving people feedback based on their deadlines. Giving everyone what they need – because they’re the clients and I want to make them happy. And yet, I know every moment I spend giving my all to everyone else is a moment I take away from giving what my soul tells me to give.
We all have choices about how we spend our time. Sure, we have kids, animals, significant others, friends, family, etc. We were told to work from home, parent from home, school from home, create from home, stay home – AND we have the “eff you” rights to do what we want while we’re home.
My husband has to remind me often that I have “eff you” rights. This means that as adults, we get to say no to anything. (Obviously, that doesn’t mean being an idiot and putting other people in danger, so please don’t fight me on this if you’re doing dumb shit.)
You can step out of the group you’ve been in for years because it doesn’t fit you anymore. You can leave the job that makes you hate Mondays. You can walk out of the relationship that doesn’t serve you anymore. You can stop speaking to people who don’t make you feel good – even those related to you (ok, especially those ones.) You can refuse a client because it doesn’t fit your bigger plan. You can stop reading a book if you’re bored with it. You can change your major in college because it wasn’t what you expected. You can stop doing ANYTHING you want – even if you were the one who chose to do it in the first place.
I’m currently sitting in the middle of a day that NOTHING was other people planned for me. After 6 weeks of being busier than ever, I’m in full creation mode. The things I’ve been busy with outside of speaking webinars is creating my own stuff. I’ve been creating webinars like How To Not Be Weird On Zoom and online courses like Rock Your Videos and blog posts like this one that will turn into chapters of my book.
Today, my creation-mode looks like building out a collaborative course called Rock The Stage with Sandy Sponaugle and Michelle Arnold. Everything speakers need to get ready for the stage, do on stage, and then do after the stage – virtual or in-person. This was the HUGE project we put on hold for later in the year – and were given the time to do it now.
What’s even crazier is that this morning – THIS MORNING – I got a call from one of my Rockstars (now a super close friend), Dr. Becca Whittaker, asking what she should do next with her speaking. She was ready to take on the huge task of getting herself out there in front of the humans who need her. And I was in the middle of my weird full day of creation saying to myself, “Wait, I have nothing to do but create this course?! How is that possible? Let me distract myself with a billion other things.” Her call reminded me that I GET to create this thing. I GET to give this collaborative knowledge to the world through these incredible I’ve collected over the years. Because PEOPLE NEED THIS.
I don’t HAVE to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to do what I am doing right now – I GET to do it. FINALLY. I can say no to anything else that doesn’t feel good – even if that means turning down money I really need. I have “eff you” rights. YOU have “eff you” rights. I give you permission to apply them LIBERALLY.
It’s been almost 2 months since someone called this pandemic situation our #newnormal (I’d like to punch that guy.) But for me, it’s been over 20 years of me deciding what I want to do. Whether I want to do what others tell me to do OR do what I want. Which means nothing has changed during this crazy time – except my perspective. I GET to do this – or I GET to say “eff you.”
Look at the LIFE you’re leading now and ask yourself: Are these my decisions or did someone else make them for me?
Look at your CALENDAR and ask yourself: Did I create this schedule or are others dictating it?
Look at the PEOPLE around you and ask yourself: Did I choose these people or did they just happen to be here?
Look at YOURSELF and ask: Am I who I want to be or do I need to change something?
This is your life. Your choice. As Mark Batterson says, “you’re just one decision away from a totally different life.”
Use your “eff you” rights. Start over. Do something different. Shake it up. Choose a different path. This is your life. You only have one. Do it your way.
“You’re much better in short sprints.” – my trainer on how I kick my ass into gear. Right now, I’m exactly 5 months from turning 40. It’s only been about 8 months since I wore a knockout wedding dress in which I felt like a badass goddess. I had picked a dress that didn’t fit me at the time and wasn’t interested in altering the dress – I knew I could get my body into that dress. I worked my TAIL off because we figured out how I focused best. My trainer, Kyle Brown, figured out that short sprints with big deadlines were my best bet.
The day of my wedding, I walked out to a group of my best girlfriends and heard one say, “That dress was made for your body.” My response: “Nope, my body was made for this dress.”
8 months later, I know I wouldn’t fit in that dress the same way. I just hired a cardio coach to get me back to running and cycling. So, when I got up today, I decided it was time to track my progress. I had my husband take a set of photos of me in a sports bra and shorts. I didn’t think about it until I uploaded them to the training app. A notice came up that said I just had to scroll left to compare. I scrolled over to see pics of me right before the wedding. That wasn’t the best idea. I’m not “overweight” (whatever that means these days) – and based on how my relatives look, I doubt I could gain all that much. I was born to a tall skinny family, weighed way too little in high school because I grew too fast, and stayed pretty lanky through my 20’s into my 30’s. If you saw the pictures, you’d wonder if there was much of a difference. To me? Demoralizing.
You see, I’m sitting in my home on a forced day off after 4 weeks of crushing my job during the COVID-19 quarantine. I’m exhausted, overworked, eating gummy bears by the handful, and sipping martinis as if I am still 25. Although I’ve been handling this pandemic pretty well, the 5lb bag of gummy bears could say otherwise.
I’ve been off synthetic birth control for the last few months. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’m recovering from 20 years of those little pills and an IUD. My body is still trying to acclimate – yet, somehow my mood got right on it. I’ve only been upset twice since that day at the Gynocologist when she took that painful little device out of me and dangled it from forceps near my face. (Yeah, she was horrible.)
My body has basically been on the rebound since. It started craving more sleep, more sugar, and more touch. My skin is so much more sensitive and I’m taking more naps. (By more naps, I just mean naps – I’ve NEVER been a napper.) And like I said, my mood is on point. I’m not sure what I was thinking all those years, but I swore I was naturally moody until I took myself off birth control. Just since meeting my husband, I’ve broken at least 3 doorjambs from slamming our apartment doors. Getting angry for things I later couldn’t understand.
Now, I’m asking myself better questions about how I feel, why I feel that way, and how my boundaries got pushed. THEN responding. It’s a beautiful awareness – and I’m sure it’s more than just a change in hormones, but I’ll attribute most of my generally happy humanity to being myself without additional hormones.
When I was at the gyno’s office, she made a HUGE point of making sure I knew that my body will just change and I’ll have to get used to that. This coming from a 50-something Gynocologist with the body-fat of an Olympic swimmer who says she does Pilates every day. I wasn’t sure whether to take what she said as sarcasm or just general lack of bedside manner. I then heard the same thing from friends over 40. And the way they said it, it sounded as if they should be saying, “tsk tsk.” As if turning 40 was my limit.
When did I stop being a “baby” with everyone telling me everything I need to know because I obviously know nothing to being “too old” and obviously still knowing nothing about my own body? Can we start a conversation about boundaries? A
lso, isn’t it 2020? Isn’t 40 the new 30 or something?
Why do people say shit like that anyway? As if every human body is the same. Grr…
I am not afraid of 40. I’ll do everything it takes to hit my 40’s with a rockin’ bod and healthy lifestyle. I’d much rather go into it with 5 extra pounds and a much happier mental space. So, back to this demoralizing situation – the one where I uploaded photos of myself to this app after 4 weeks of being stuck at home without a gym and with whacky Denver weather (it’s snowing today, btw.)
The thing the photos don’t show is that I’m more mentally stable than I would have been had I stayed on synthetic hormones. I’m an entrepreneur who just lost 100% of my income because all of my business is done in-person. I’m not freaking out about money or paying my team. I’m not worrying about this pandemic causing me to get a job. And I’m also thrilled that I don’t have to travel all that much right now. Sure, I’ve cried a few times from being overwhelmed or worried, but so has every single person who isn’t pretending this isn’t happening.
The best part: my husband has become my workout buddy again. He’s rocking TRX and bodyweight workouts and doing yoga with me in our living room. We’re connecting more. I even told him how I felt about the photos and he said, “You’re sexier than ever and I always want to jump you.”
On top of that, the cardio coach I just hired, she responded to my “I’ve got a new goal for when I turn 40” with “Ooh yeah!! Some of my running friends said when they turned 40 they started having the best running years and being in the best shape of their life.” JUST what a 39yo demoralized woman needed to hear. Thank you, Laura. (If you need a cardio push, check her out: laurasconley.com)
So, what would happen if we all stopped bitching about our bodies and started praising our mental health? What if we learned that our weight wasn’t a sign of health as much as our lack of slamming doors? WHAT IF we started saying nice things about our bodies – and fired anyone who says otherwise? (Gynocologists with no tact included.)
I’m in it. Right now. Feeling every bit of feeling in how my upper belly sits on my lower belly. How my under-boobs sit on my upper belly. And how my love handles are pushing out next to my elbows. All those squishy parts I’m not super psyched about. AND I’m feeling how I don’t want to hit something, punch someone, throw something, or slam something.
I can drink less martinis. I can stop getting a fistful of gummy bears every time I get a craving. I can stop baking cookies. AND I’m grateful I gave myself the space to indulge and take stock in how grateful I am for being able to do those things (even if we’ve finally run out of toilet paper – it’s all a balance, right?) I can remind myself that I loved every sip and every bite. I’m a grown-ass human and I can do whatever I want.
AND I can go to sleep earlier. I can work out. I can run. I can ride my bike. I can make healthy meals. I can focus on what’s good for my body and my mental health. Which means I can also still sip wine when I want.
I have 5 months of sprinting ahead. 5 months of “here comes 40.” And 5 more monthly pictures of me in my shorts and sports bra to show myself that I don’t have to do it perfectly. 5 months of heading toward a goal I’ve set for myself. 5 months to prove to myself that I REALLY want to live a life without limits. 5 months to accepting that perfection is not interesting. 5 more months of not getting mad for no reason.
It was 90+ degrees of hit-you-in-the-face humidity. I’m standing outside with 15 other women doing yoga. We’re halfway around the world in Bali being asked to finish the statement, “I am ____” with whatever phrase we’ve been told about ourselves. I started running through my words: badass, strong, tall, hardcore, busy… until I landed on it. “Too much.” I am TOO MUCH.
Since I was kid, I was told I was too tall, too skinny, too antsy, too talkative, too much. I realized then that “I am too much” was the same as “I am not enough.” It was just spelled differently. It was a label that had been put on me by family, schoolmates, friends, others. One that would now be labeled “extra,” but never had a positive flair in my younger years.
At the end of class, the same teacher asked us to think of the same phrase and fill in the blank with whatever we WANTED to believe about ourselves. I was reminded of a poem a friend sent me that morning.
“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belongs to no man and to no city.” – Roman Payne
I went back to my original list of things others had told me – and saw myself so differently, yet the same. “I am wild and free” came to me and I held onto it with all my might. I looked at the phrase, “I am too much” and noticed how “I am wild and free” was a positive spin on the negativity I’d held onto for so long.
Just two years later at big tech summit, I was asked to be one of their opening keynote speakers. My talk was very much business focused – about branding and storytelling. Yet before I got on stage, I reminded myself that I was speaking to humans. And humans don’t compartmentalize their humanity.
As I stood up to speak, I started with this story of me standing in this yoga class in Bali. As I finished the story, I asked them to stand up with me and think of the thing they’ve been told their whole lives – the thing they wanted to stop believing. As they stood before me with their arms at their sides and their eyes closed, I watched them transform from an audience to humans. I asked them to write down their unwanted phrase and then went on with my talk.
It wasn’t until the end of my talk on brand storytelling that I asked them to stand with me again. I asked them to fill in the “I am ___” with something they WANTED to believe about themselves. The thing that they wanted others to know about them. The brand they wanted to become. I saw tears, smiles, and worry. I asked them to write down this new statement and reminded them that they were already what they hoped to be.
“You told us to say what we WANT to believe about ourselves and I started crying.”
My favorite part of speaking is when I’m done. Sure, I love the speaking part – yet I crave the hugs, the conversation, and the big realizations that come afterward – sometimes weeks later. If they don’t FEEL something, I know I haven’t hit my impact mark.
You see, way before I go up on a stage, I have to first think about the impact I want to make on my audience. I have to know how my talk will make them feel something. It has to cause them to think differently, feel the feelings, or grow in a new direction. It’s not my job to “change their lives.” That’s up to them. It’s my job as a speaker to inspire them to make that change. I am not a god. I cannot change them. Only they can do that.
As I got off that big stage and went to the back where I give away inspirational stickers, I was stopped more times than I’ve ever been stopped before. The conference organizers told me later that the conference speaker coach was taking more notes while watching me than they’d ever seen, yet that wasn’t the impact I was looking to make. Sure, it made my ego soar – but what I was really looking for was bigger than that.
As a quiet line formed in front of me, I saw the faces of the humans I was speaking to – many tear-stained. The impact I had focused on making had happened. Not the tears, but the inspired faces.
I heard whispered stories that day of mothers who said, “I am a good mother” at the beginning. And ended with “I am a great mother.” They told me about being in relationships that needed to end. About deciding to believe they were enough. About getting up the gumption to ask for the job they really wanted. About stopping the cycle of negativity. About learning to love their bodies. Men and women alike. All deciding they wanted to change the “brand” they carried with them – in their personal AND professional lives.
I got pulled into conversations the rest of the day about everything under the sun. All from a talk about brand storytelling. Because I was willing to be vulnerable and share myself – my insecurities – with them.
Business isn’t always about business. We speak to humans. We are not gods – we can’t change lives. And yet, it is up to us, as speakers, to provide the space for them to decide what they want to change. It’s up to us to know the impact we want to make – and then go out there and make it.
Are you ready to make them FEEL? I’m ready to help you make your impact.
It’s not how we react in the easy times. It’s who we are through the hard ones.
I was asked to give a talk to my biggest audience at that time. It was the opening keynote for a Fortune 100 financial institution – the talk that would set the vibe for the rest of their internal conference. I had to teach people in the financial industry how to pitch for what they wanted.
They told me 42,000 employees had been invited to watch live in-person and around the world. I stood backstage repeating my first sentence, “40 million Americans have used online dating.” Knowing that when I walked out there, all I had to do was take a deep breath and say that line, the rest would be easy.
It was! I was in the flow – rocking that stage, making them laugh, and helping them rethink how they ask for what they want. I was fully in my confidence enjoying that time being my engaging self, when something crazy happened. Something I was NOT prepared for.
I’m sharing with the audience all about how to use my methodology, when someone from the front raises their hand and shouts out, “Excuse me! There’s a spider next to your head.”
You don’t know who you are in a crisis until you’re in it. Lots of people say they’re calm under pressure, but then you see them in full panic when anything goes wrong. Other people say that they are totally chill when something surprises them, yet lose their shit when they didn’t plan for it. I like to say that I’m the person you go to when things go south, because I can make fast decisions that keep everyone safe. That day, my theory was tested in front of a LOT of people.
With my brain racing through all possible scenarios (such as – scream, run, freak out, wave my hands in the air, or kill it), I knew I had to do something that showed who I was. I knew in that really fast moment that if I killed it, a lot of people would be mad. If I swatted at it, it would end up on someone and they could freak out. I didn’t want it crawling on my head, so I did what I thought was best in this split-second decision.
I immediately went back to my rural-girl roots.
I said to the spider, “Well, that’s not where you’re supposed to be,” reached high and pinched its silk between my fingers so it wouldn’t have time to run up to my hand, and then walked it calmly over to the wall and said, “there you go.” Brushed off my hands, walked back to the main stage, and said “Now, where was I?”
And guess what they did when I said that? They laughed and gave me a huge round of applause. If I hadn’t earned their trust by that point, I definitely had it now.
As I walked through the halls of their headquarters that day, I would get stopped and told, “Your talk was wonderful, but that spider thing? SO good.”
It WAS a great talk. I got LOTS of great feedback from the speakers who would be sharing their talks the rest of the day. They told me how they were updating their talks as I was teaching – and that they got WAY better feedback than they usually do because of it. I was so grateful for their willingness to share their courageousness with me that day.
And yet, the thing I won’t forget about that talk – as it could have blended into every other talk I’ve ever given – is the moment I had to make a decision that showed who I was on a big stage.
Now it’s YOUR turn. Are you ready to learn how to show up and show off on a stage? Well, I’ve created a free training just for you! Check out How To Write A Stage-Worthy Talk In Under 45 Minutes at stageworthytalk.com and get started writing the talk that will get you into the flow so that not even a SPIDER can pull you out of it.