Ok, that’s weird. He’s giving himself advice?
I have a confession to make. Every post I write, every podcast I produce, every interview I conduct, every keynote I deliver, and every workshop I facilitate has a target audience of one. That one is me.
Ever heard the phrase, “You teach what you need to learn”? I’m pretty sure it was written about me. Ok, maybe it was written long before I was born, but it definitely applies.
If you’ve ever thought I had even a shred of wisdom, it’s only because you and I needed to hear the same things at that moment in time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m GLAD other people benefit from my work. And I’d love to say that is my primary goal. But if I’m being honest, my primary goal in most of my work is to give myself a giant kick in the ass. If it gently nudges yours in the process, then that makes me happier than you can imagine. It’s icing on the cake.
So here’s what I need to tell myself this week:
Stop beating yourself up.
Last week I had two speaking gigs. These were the first two speaking engagements I have taken on in over a year. Last year I wasn’t sure I wanted to do public speaking any more, so I focused my energy on other parts of my business, and I gave myself some time to explore and recharge. Then a few weeks ago I received two separate requests to speak on a topic that had been fascinating me for awhile — identifying and activating your superpowers. I figured two requests back to back was a sign that I should least put my toes back in the pool and test the water.
I put together a keynote presentation. I prepared like crazy. I even completely scrapped it and rewrote it a few days before the first gig because I wasn’t happy with it. Thanks to a lot of great feedback from my staff and one of my most trusted advisors, it ended up being a darn good presentation, if I do say so myself. And the first time I delivered it I pretty much hit a home run (or at least a triple).
Two days later I bombed.
Well, “bombed” my be a bit extreme. If you ask anyone who saw it they would likely say it was pretty good. But I knew better. I didn’t deliver that second presentation nearly as good as the first. Not even close. And I’ve been beating myself up ever since. In fact, after the event I was so frustrated by my own performance that I stopped at a Best Buy and just wandered around the store for thirty minutes to distract myself from my own negative thoughts. It didn’t work.
I was ready to pull my toes back out of the pool and hang up my public speaking career for good. Before making a rash decision, though, I decided to just give myself a little bit of time to decompress. I have felt this way before and after a few days I typically look at things more objectively and realize that it wasn’t so bad.
But…even as I write this I’m finding it pretty easy to conjure up those negative feelings again. I can feel myself cringing as I replay that second event in my head.
And that brings me right back to my advice:
Stop beating yourself up.
It wasn’t as bad as you think. Even if it was, it was ONE TIME. Out of hundreds. Maybe it’s motivation to improve, but it is certainly no reason to quit.
That’s what I needed to tell myself…and maybe you, too…this week.