Flying trapeze. Firewalks. Trampoline. Skydiving. I’ve mastered the art of acting in the face of fear in situations where the evolutionary “fight or flight” response is working as designed: to warn me of situations that are actually a threat to my life and well-being. But this is different.
Through daily meditation and mindfulness practice I have learned to calm that response in situations where it isn’t warranted: where the threat is an illusion.
They say public speaking is a fear bigger than death for most people. I have never had that fear. I am no stranger to delivering workshops and talks. I consistently get rave reviews no matter the topic. I’ve earned my way into the ranks of paid speakers.
And yet, in this moment, I am FREAKING OUT. I am about to deliver a workshop as a “guest expert instructor” as part of another expert’s course. My session is on Creating Productivity Rituals. It is the first (semi-)public launch of work that has been over 3 years in development and tested only with a handful of my private coaching clients. It’s a beta for what will become, in a few weeks, a full-blown program that I’ll be launching on this topic. It’s work I feel so passionate about bringing to the world, especially in these crazy times, when rituals are more important than ever to keep us grounded and focused. In short: I believe in this work, in its power to transform people’s lives, and in my ability to deliver this in a way that takes it from theory to results. I fully own my credibility and expertise here.
The audience – a tribe gathered by Tiago Forte for his Building a Second Brain course – is perhaps the most consistently across the board brilliant group of people I’ve ever seen assembled in one place, especially when it comes to productivity and habits. These are people who study habit and ritual design. They live and breathe productivity research.
They are the group of highly brilliant, highly successful, intellectual creatives that have been drawn to my work. The type A crowd torn between “creating” and “getting things done.”
I am doing this on a live video feed, which you may know is not my fave :-). I have no slides because … I don’t do slides. (Yeah…time for an assistant, for sure!)
So, in this moment I am facing down a little but of imposter syndrome, while I remind myself that this is what I wanted: to be pushed into delivering and serving at the highest level. To be stretched in a way that feels uncomfortable in the moment even when I know it is not at all beyond my capability. To be given the opportunity to stand in the value of my work and facilitate the type of transformation that I know, with 100% of my being, that I can deliver.
I have no slides. The lighting won’t be perfect. I’ll probably stumble a bit through my outline. There will be some rough spots.
But I know this: if I show up in my authentic self, if I share my journey and my passion for this work, and allow my divine wisdom to guide me, I will serve on an unbelievable level. This is my sacred calling.
So, yes, my heart is beating fast. It’s in my throat. And my ears. My stomach is in knots. And each time my brain starts to say this is fear, I interject to remind it of the truth:
This is excitement. Anticipation. This is what it feels like to claim my space. To step into the light.
This is the feeling of being alive.