I remember one of the first times I ever shared my story on stage.
I was terrible.
I’d been booked to be the guest speaker at a conference, and I was so nervous that when I got up on the stage, I freaked out and rushed through my story as quickly as possible.
I was probably onstage for all of 5 mins before I mumbled out a “Thank you” and walked back off again.
There was a long, awkward silence.
The audience looked confused.
The speech organisers were awkwardly trying to reassure me that it was OK, while figuring out how to fill the remaining 30 minutes of the time booked for me.
I remember thinking “You’ve totally humiliated yourself. Why did you think you could do this? Everyone feels embarrassed for you.”
I’m a lot better these days (one would hope! ??)
I’ve shared my story hundreds of times, I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people. And I’m quite good at it (look at me pretending to be modest! ?)
But the nerves never quite go away.
I’ve just learnt a really simple way of managing them.
Before I do a speech, these are my main thoughts:
I feel sick
If I had a broken leg, I wouldn’t have to do this.
I hope I can keep my chips and burger down.
Whyyyyyyyyy did I order chips and a burger mere minutes before going on stage??
But then I do one thing, and it completely changes the game for me:
I trade my expectations for appreciation.
I stop thinking about what is expected of me. Because it’s not actually about me.
Instead, I remind myself that the audience has literally given me their most precious resource: time.
I think about the total number of hours being offered to me. If I’m speaking in front of 1,000 people, I think of what could be achieved in those 1,000 hours.
When I look at it that way, it makes me so grateful.
So, I want to pose the question to you:
What could you trade for appreciation?
What opportunities could you be grateful for?
I bang on about gratitude because, frankly, it works.
Today, in fact probably around the time you read this letter, I will be on stage sharing my story with a new audience. And, yes, I feel a bit nervous about it. Because, like I said, the nerves never really go away.
But I can always choose gratitude.
And it will always shift my perspective, bring me back to centre and get me in the right mindset.
And if you need some help getting started with gratitude, I have a bunch of really helpful exercises in my ebook Mindset Magic. Check it out here.
It’ll give you some really quick wins to work with.
With a whole big heap of gratitude,
PS – Oh! I forgot to tell you. The team at Avène followed me around with a camera one morning while I got ready for a surf. They are v. v. clever and made me look very calm and collected. It’s a really beautiful little vid with a really nice message. Can I say that about a video of myself?! I don’t know. You tell me. Check it out here, and tell me what you think!