The instructor of my public speaking course once gave our class the following advice on mindset:
Most people want you to succeed. You’re the only one who doesn’t.
What a profound insight. Not just for giving presentations, but for delivering any kind of work to the world.
Because so many of us talk to ourselves in ways that sabotage our own performance. We say things that we would never allow anyone else to say to us, and this negativity doesn’t serve our true interests.
What we really need is to get jacked up on confidence. To speak to ourselves in ways that are empowering and life giving. Otherwise the audience, the customer, the employee or whoever we’re trying to make a connection with, will find something else to pay attention to.
Dickey, the poet laureate and novelist, once said that the most important thing is to be excited about what you are doing and to be working on something that you think will be the greatest thing that ever was. One of the difficulties in writing poetry, he warns, is to maintain your sense of excitement and discovery about what you write.
It’s funny, we take all these classes and read all these books on how to persuade and influence and make an impact and close the sale. When the reality is, all of these supposed best practices could be summarized in a single word.
Care. Actually give a shit. Set yourself on fire.
And if that means you need to do certain things each day to replenish your supply of enthusiasm, then give that gift to yourself.
Before giving speeches, my ritual is listening to epic symphony music and visualizing not only my presentation, but the interactions with audience members immediately after it, and the impact my speech will have on their both of our lives going forward.
Doesn’t mean mistakes are never made, but you better believe the audience aren’t the only ones who want me to succeed. Overall, if your paranoia has convinced you that wherever you leak, the world holds a bucket, then it might just be in your head.
It’s more likely that the world is already on your side, waiting for you to join them.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you afraid of success because it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable?