Sensory overload is an understatement on how I’m feeling right now. It’s been a hectic week at the close of a fruitful year. Overwhelmingly I am feeling gratitude. For a variety of reasons.
Firstly, today I completed a workshop series with my newest client, a leading Content Marketing firm, who commissioned a brand new workshop from me on the topic of “Innovative Strategic Leadership”. It was such a delight to deliver these workshops, and when I saw the feedback forms I could have cried. The knowledge I shared was helpful to them, they said, and they really enjoyed working with me. What more can you ask?
This was, of itself, a small miracle when I think about the rollercoaster ride that the past couple of years has been.
You see, I have a secret I’ve been keeping. Something I haven’t shared widely. But a secret that was a really significant problem for me, as a person who made a living from speaking.
Just over two years ago I gave the greatest speech of my life. It was the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral. He was a funny old bugger and I loved him to death, and so of course I had so much to say about the life he had lived. But it was so important to me that, after that day, every time I went to give a keynote or stand in front of a crowd to host an important conference I would freeze up. I’d think back to that day, with my most precious family around me and the tribute we made to his life, and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think straight. Sometimes I couldn’t speak straight. Usually I bumbled through. Until I mostly stopped speaking publicly and focused instead on my coaching business (which of course I love too – only in a different way – like the love a parent feels for two equally spirited children. You love them both though they are oh-so-different!).
Over the course of this year I have fallen back in love with speaking again, in no small part to my wonderful clients but also due to a very talented professional by the name of Michelle Bowden. You see, Michelle is Australia’s leading expert on presentation and persuasion and she started a new speaking club in Sydney which I joined. At the club meetings I could practice new content, work through my anxiety and memories of Dad, and get good again. Really good, if I do say so.
To give some context, that first speakers club I attended 12 months ago now, I thought I was going to vomit. It was such a struggle and I couldn’t tell anyone there what was going through my head. Well why would I? I was still counting on speaking being a big part of my business, if only I could get over myself. Over the course of weeks and months, at Speakers Club, the fun came back. And I grew back into that part of my work that I love so much. Today was my final speaking engagement for the year and I L.O.V.E.D. it.
I only share this story so that you can be sure that – just like you – that I’m only human and that everyone has stuff happen in life that derails them from time to time. Life is a fairly immovable object. So we have to work around it an find a way. If you’ve had roadbumps or hiccups in 2016, you’re not alone. And it’s not forever.