Last Saturday, I chaired a panel and it was my 798th public speaking thing since records began in late 2012. A week or so before that, I had a meeting over a writing project I profoundly want.
Let me quantify that word. For ‘profoundly’, read ‘I was shaking before the meeting’. Before that panel last weekend, I was so nervous I felt sick.
There have been two events where –– and who knows why? –– I wasn’t at all nervous beforehand. They both went fine. Can’t even remember them, I just remember they went fine. All of the rest, all of then, follow the same two steps.
First, I’m nervous. Then the event starts and the nerves turn off like a light switch and I am so completely in the moment that reasonably often, a third step follows. A third step where it goes very well. In those 798, I’ve only had three disasters and I fully blame myself for only two of them. Can’t count how many went very well, never think to count how many go well, but it’s obviously a high enough number that it raises an obvious question.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that I’m unhealthy in this nervous worrying and I’ve not a single hesitation in thinking I should lighten up.
But the question is whether it’s worth it. That meeting I shook before, this panel I felt ill with nerves over for weeks, are they worth it?
You bet your life they are