Today I woke up with a knot in my belly feeling nervous and excited.
After a great weekend with my family and friends, I returned home and it was time to turn my attention to this coming weekend where I am invited to be the keynote speaker to an audience of 3600 people.
After I left Equinox, I set a goal to do key note speeches and create experiences for corporations who want to help their employees thrive in all areas of their life. My dream is coming true and this is my fifth talk this year. Each time I walk off the stage and reflect, I see what worked and what didn’t, but nevertheless the preparing phase can bring up a lot of self-doubt.
After I dropped the girls off at the bus stop and I came home to finish preparing and I found it hard to concentrate. My mind was jumping between both being nervous about bombing and excited about having this opportunity.
As I felt both competing emotions within me, I remembered the story of the two wolfs. An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed and arrogance, pride and superiority. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, truth and compassion. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too” The grandson thought about it then asked, “Which wolf will win?” The Old Cherokee replied “The one you feed.”
Public speaking is most peoples biggest fear. I actually love it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get nervous. In fact, one of the reasons I decided it was time to leave Equinox was because I wasn’t getting nervous, I wasn’t feeling challenged and I wanted to up my game. Well this is certainly an answered prayer.
If you find yourself ready to up your game and you are feeling your mind jump between feelings of fear that you will fail and excitement at the opportunity, here are 3 things you can do now to feed the good wolf.
1. Win in your mind. Write the end of the story as you want it to turn out. You have to win in your mind if you want to win in your life. Instead of letting your mind wander and mentally rehearse what might go wrong, only play out the way you want it to go and ask your future self what you need to do to get there.
2. Practice your future state. Determine the feeling you want your audience, students, customers or others to feel. You have to speak from the feeling you want them to experience not just talk about it. If you learn to get yourself into that state, you will be able to help others as well.
3. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. You can never be over prepared. When you have mastery over your content you are then free to leave the script, be spontaneous and present. This works whether you are giving a talk, having a difficult conversation or asking for a raise.
Don’t let the wolf of fear win. Feed the good wolf otherwise you will keep yourself trapped in situations that no longer feed your soul. The first place you have to learn to win is in your mind.