I was fine until about the 2nd talk before mine. That’s when my heart started speeding up.
Let’s say my heart normally walks along at 90 beats per minute. When that 2nd talk before mine started up my heart rate jumped to what felt like 120 bpm – what you’d normally experience jogging very slowly.
By the time the talk right before mine started I had gotten up to around 140 bpm – about what you feel when you’re sprinting.
When I got up on stage and started talking, I had hit the point where your heart is beating so hard and so fast that you could swear everyone can heAR yoU talkING fuNNY as your heart shoves every other syllable out of your mouth.
But I kept talking. I just kept going because I knew well enough to trust all the rehearsing I’d done and just let it all come out. And it worked – my heart was still beating a million miles an hour, but I was half way through without any major hiccups.
Then I messed up.
After all that planning. All that rehearsing. I messed up. And you know what? That heart rate of mine actually dipped a little. I improvised my way through an entire slide and when I came out the other end I was right back on track. At Ignite the slides auto-advance every 15 seconds, so by inadvertently skipping a slide I’d essentially bought myself a 15-second breather.
I didn’t feel upset that I’d messed up – I just felt a huge relief that I was back on track and nailing the timing. And the last slide was perfect – as I spoke the last word of the speech the slide went to black. It felt AMAZING.
My talk was all about showing people what it was really like to take your life into your own hands – the feelings, the failures, the successes … the ultimate release that comes with acknowledging who you are and realizing that you are truly the best version of yourself you could ever want to be.
That’s why I wanted to share this back story about my speech. I bared my soul to an audience full of strangers; It was hard; It was scary; I messed up; I recovered.
And I would do it all over again.