Before I begin, a big THANK YOU goes to Nancy Vogl, who inspired me to finish this blog entry during our amazing phone conversation earlier this week. You don’t know me (yet), you owe me nothing in this world, yet you shared your time and resources with me so freely.
Have you ever had a defining (scary) moment in your personal life, business life, or romantic life which, at the time, seemed like your front wheels had inched over a cliff…with the back wheels poised to follow?
As a speaker, one of my most “uh-oh, I’m going to smash on the rocks below’ disasters happened about 5 years ago.
While sharing a motivational presentation with a group of HR professionals, I paused, scanned the room in a long, sweeping eye-connecting turn of my head…as my brain scrambled for the words I was supposed to say next!!
Frozen in fear that I could not remember my own materials, I paused for just one more futile moment, then asked: “May I share with you why I became a speaker?”
After two-dozen-plus nodding heads silently answered, I began to share the story of my friend Danny who, back in 1992, finally got me off my butt to pursue a career in radio, which led to many other things, eventually to the role of professional speaker.
Long story short: Danny believed in me before I did. I reluctantly took the first steps by attending broadcast school. Lightning struck quickly as I got my first radio job…then Danny died 2 weeks later at age 23.
After sharing this, my gaze swung back around the room slowly and silently.
Where heads had been nodding moments before, eyes now brimmed with tears.
What had been a moment of panic for me, forgetting my lines, taught me the lesson of a lifetime: “be ‘authentic’ and your true message will shine through”.
The story of me and Danny is now in high rotation in my speaking, and I get to re-live it every time, feeling the joy that comes from thanking a friend for his belief in me.
Has your brain stalled in the middle of performing your job, doing your dance, sharing your message?
Before you gaze around the room in a moment of sheer panic, as the clock on the wall slows to a barely perceivable tick-tock of each second, here is my advice:
Instead of staring at the blank Etch-A-Sketch of your brain, look instead inside your heart.
The message you need to share is already there, just waiting to be set free.
When you speak from the heart, you speak from a source which paints beautiful portraits of emotion, untainted by overly-rehearsed fancy wordsmithing.
Let it happen, and let your heart speak loudly and proudly.
It could the best brain-freeze you’ve ever experienced…without ice cream!