Last Thursday I woke up in Nashville with a knot in my stomach. I was in Nashville, of course, for the annual Blissdom conference and I had agreed to speak right after the keynote speaker, Brené Brown, about my Anonymous Blog Project to a room full of women bloggers. When I was asked by Barbara Jones last November to share my project I immediately agreed. It wasn’t until the day of the conference that I gave my decision a second thought.
On Thursday morning around 8:50 when I walked into the Opryland’s Tennessee ballroom I couldn’t believe how big the room was and I also couldn’t believe how many women were sitting at tables anxiously waiting for Blissdom 2011 to kick off. This shouldn’t have been surprising as I was in that very room last year, but all I could think about was how I was going to pull off my presentation in that HUGE room. And my knot got tighter again. I was, however, comforted by seeing women I know and respect. Seeing and hugging them definitely calmed my spirits, but yet the knot persisted.
Much of what happened that kicked off the conference I don’t remember because I was so busy being nervous. But then Brené Brown started her keynote about embracing vulnerability in order to grow. I couldn’t have heard that at a better time. I had clearly put myself in a vulnerable place. I had never spoken in front of that many people before. I remember sitting at my table and deciding to embrace the moment of my talk instead of being terribly afraid of it and a relative calm came over me for a split second and the knot subsided.
When Brené’s talk was over and Barbara Jones got up to introduce me the knot came back but went away rather quickly. I didn’t have time to think about the knot anymore. I had to get on stage!
When I took the stage …
I remember speaking. I remember not being able to see the crowd for the spotlights. I remember starting to warm up to the crowd. I remember deciding while on stage that I want to speak in front of more and more people in the coming years. I remember thinking I can do this!
But everything else is a total blur.
I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to speak to even larger audiences and really work on giving great presentations. I have always been shy, but speaking on stage alone last week has awakened a desire to speak more often.
We’ll see what the rest of 2011 holds.