When I first started performing in front of live audiences I got very nervous. I shared in confidence with another speaker how this ritual of anxiety played out before each presentation. The gentleman I was speaking to was a very respected speaker who had already made a big name for himself on the corporate lecture circuit. He encouraged me, “Erik, as you continue speaking you will get more and more comfortable from the podium and more polished as a presenter.”
That statement never sat well with me.
As I reflect back on this statement several years later, with all due respect, it is contradictory to the core of my message. I don’t want to be more polished. I don’t want be more comfortable. I never want to become strategically refined or systematic in my approach.
I have learned to embrace and actually welcome this glorious insecurity.
I LOVE that I still get nervous before every presentation. I love that I have to pace back and forth in empty hallways behind the stage just minutes before I take the platform. I love that my stomach wont allow me to hold down any food before I go on stage. I love the thrill of adrenaline that courses through my nerves and forces me to push beyond the threshold of my comfort zone. This is the energy that reminds me….i am alive. This is the doorway to passion and creativity.
The more I get comfortable – The less I become creative. The more I rely on yesterday’s winning formula. – The less I am able to operate on that razors edge and provide unique impassioned value into my message and into my art.
Getting uncomfortably nervous is my competitive advantage that keeps me comfortably alive.