Drop the Mic

Discovering Confidence is a Lifelong Journey

Last evening I spoke to a small group of about 25. The subject matter was yesterday’s post about an incident with my neighbor and a valuable life lesson I learned. At the end, a friend remarked that I seemed nervous. I asked several others if they thought the same thing. Each agreed.

This troubled me. The reason is because I like talking to this group. I’ve done it dozens of times. They don’t make me nervous. Still, if the audience says I looked nervous, I looked nervous. They are the final arbiter.

On my walk to the coffee shop this morning, two truths struck me.

  1. I was not nervous for the crowd but I feared the material would slip my mind. Perfectionism runs deep in my veins. I wanted to to get it right. It is this anxiety that translated into nervousness.
  2. I had a flashback to watching my father address a group. He spoke frequently. Often he seemed a bit nervous. As a kid, I remember asking him if he was nervous. He said, “Oh no, I’ve given this talk many times.” Yet he appeared uncomfortable. Not at ease in his own skin.

My friend, Sal, always looks like he just walked out of the gym. Naturally ripped. It does not matter if he’s been eating cheeseburgers and watching TV for a solid year. As for me, I’ve got to go three days a week, every week, for even a modicum of bulk.

I’m the same way with speaking. Becoming a polished speaker will take a lifetime for a semblance of mastery. Thankfully I have my friends in Toastmasters to walk beside me.

Update

My friend Justin gave me this advice on last evening’s speech. “Yesterday I felt like you should have let yourself go. Be free with your words. All you need to know is the story but let your soul choose your words. Commit to the flow of the emotions.” Truth.