And although I’ve spoken at many events, and 5 times already at this upcoming event, I always have a little stage fright. Fear is good. Keeps you on your toes. When I was rock climbing more frequently, getting good enough to lead a 5.8 crack pitch with traditional technique, placing my own protection as I went, I was often asked, “Aren’t you afraid?” Hell yes I was. And that fear kept me safe, I truly believe that. Unbridled fear is dangerous, of course. Paralyzing. And it can easily become a deadly spiral if you are high on the rock wall and get locked up, too afraid to move, as you gradually lose the strength to stay where you are.
In fact, the most serious injury I’ve yet sustained in rock climbing was from trying too hard not to fall. When I realized I was going to fall, I should have just let go, trusting my gear. But no, I held on beyond the ability of my shoulder to keep it together and consequently suffered a little rotator cuff pain for the best part of a year as it healed up. The eventual fall didn’t harm me at all, as the protection I had placed served in just the way it was intended.
Fear as Safety
Fear, in healthy context, keeps you honest and safe. Fear compelled me to meticulously place my gear that day on the rock. And the result of that fear was an uncomplicated fall once I let go. One from which I could easily recover and continue the climb. My acknowledged fear of public speaking makes me pick topics that interest me, do appropriate research, and compose thoughtfully. And then practice. I rarely run through my whole presentation BTW, because I want my delivery to be spontaneous. My practice involves going through sections that fit together, and then practicing the transitions between them.
So next Sunday when I present my paper, I’ll step up to the podium and begin my speech. And then I’ll step away from the podium to let myself take over and own the presentation. If I stumble during part of it, the protection I’ve built into it, by thoughtful creation and practice, will allow me to recover and continue.
Biorhythms be Damned as Gary Speaks
Well probably. But the chart shows me to be on an emotional high about 6 days after the presentation, just when the feedback will start setting in.
Designing and making thoughtful jewelry is my first love. But I am growing to appreciate the opportunity to learn that comes from putting myself out there as a writer and speaker.