A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk to my first corporate audience. Up until then, I'd only spoken to college-age audiences.
Sitting in the car, before I made my way into the building, I found myself feeling a little nervous. I was surprised, because I was about to give the same talk I'd given dozens of times before.
What was different? Was I intimidated by the audience?
Questions like, "Will they think I'm full of crap?" and "Will I put them to sleep?" and "Will my message be too obvious for them?" began to creep into my head.
My little gremlin, that voice that sometimes tries to convince me that I'm not good enough, was starting to get the best of me.
But then I thought of a quote from Dale Carnegie that goes: "The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you."
I was nervous because this was a new experience for me, and as is the case with most new experiences of which we place a high-degree of importance, anxiety sometimes rears its ugly head. But I respected the emotion, and I understood and embraced why I was feeling it.
I reassured myself that in time, I would be more confident with corporate audiences, and the best way to do that is by doing it as much as I can. So I collected myself, got my butt up to that conference room, and delivered my speech the best way I knew how.
I spoke to the in-house audience in Jacksonville, but also via video-conference to people in San Francisco, New York, Boston and the Philippines.
When it was all said and done, I felt like a million dollars. When we have the courage to face our fears, head on, the payoff on the other side is so very worth it. And in many cases, the more we confront it, they more confidence we develop.
Easier said than done, right? But isn't this the case for most of the things worth accomplishing in life?