A dash of doubt, a sprinkle of fear, finished with a sweet relish: One flavoursome MAP launch night.
MAP launch night had arrived. Time for the training wheels to come off.
To take the leap, to challenge myself out of that comfort zone and to articulate my business vision in front of a big crowd.
I felt ready, but I was scared. Scared I might fall flat on my face. Scared I hadn’t spoken to an audience of this size before.
The gruelling MAP interview process was certainly great practice to become comfortable with speaking to an audience. But 1000 people. Woah, this was unfamiliar territory.
Was it really any different? My message was still the same. My execution was the same. But did I mention there were 1000 people in the room?
I bought myself a ticket to one rocky rollercoaster of emotions. The anticipation, the sweaty palms, the tight knot in the stomach, the adrenaline rush. I experienced it all.
The rollercoaster ride started at dress rehearsal. Now, like any rollercoaster ride, where you are seated can determine what kind of experience you have. For those at the front of the carriage, you get to see everything first. You’re the guinea pigs. Then, for those at the back, the experience is different and greatly influenced by seeing the reaction of others in front of them.
Some of us like riding at the front, others like the thrill of the backseat. For some reason on this particular journey, the back seat certainly tested me.
Watching others present before me gave me the opportunity to see the calibre of presentations. And a credit to all the entrepreneurs in my cohort, their pitches were extremely polished. This ignited a great amount of respect and admiration but on the flip slide also fostered a few other emotions: Fear, Self doubt and the imposter syndrome. It all overcame me.
So much so, that when I got up on stage for dress rehearsal, everything that I rehearsed went out the window. I froze. “Hi my name is Jordyn….and” nothing. I had nothing. The crickets were chirping for what seemed like forever.
I had psyched myself out and I had started the comparison game. “Oh I didn’t include that in my presentation”, “Man, that’s a great idea, I wish I had thought of that,” “Oh that business has gained a lot of traction,” “Oh I hope that spice joke isn’t lame.” The mental chatter was real.
I got off the stage disappointed. My execution wasn’t like how I have practiced it the night before with my hairbrush, standing in front of the mirror. These opportunities don’t happen often and I was letting the noise get the better of me.
And this is why a dress rehearsal exists.
A chance to find your feet, understand what works, understand what doesn’t before the actual big performance.
What was working for me in that dress rehearsal? Not much really. I needed to change my state. Deep down I knew I could add that much-needed flavour to my presentation.
When I got off stage, the lovely Mel from OwlTail came up to me and gave me some reassurance. “Jordyn, just smile and be yourself, that’s all you can do.” This was the pep talk that I needed.
It was time to get the Spice girl spark back. So, with some headphones and a Spotify playlist, I headed backstage and shook out that paralysing imposter syndrome. Yes, like a spice girl, I started dancing.
I had to remind myself that “when you stay in your lane, you don’t have to worry about the traffic.” No more comparing. Just stick to my lane, the one I know best.
From the dress rehearsal to the actual presentation, I really had come around 360. Walking on stage about to present I honestly forgot there were 1000 people in the room. The noise and traffic had dissipated. Out came the spice puns, a joke here or there and as Mel suggested, a smile. I was just myself and that’s all I could do.
Walking off that stage post speech was one of the most exhilarating experiences! And what made it even sweeter? To relish the moment with my incredible cohort that greeted me backstage with open arms.
There were fist pumps and pats on the back all round. The comradery, support and energy amongst everyone is really going to be something special over the course of the next 5 months.
Something tells me the rollercoaster ride has just started. There might be a few u-turns and some sharps right and left pivots, but if I have learnt anything from the MAP launch it’s that I’ve got to stick to my lane and cut through the noisy traffic.
Beep, beep, coming through.