My husband, Steve, and I recently ran in what we thought was a 5K event. At mile three, I was thinking YIPEE! only .2 to go. Well, somehow, .2 turned into mile 4 and then it dawned on me: HOLY COW! COULD WE BE IN THE 10 MILE RACE?
I shrieked at a woman running by, “Is this the 5k?’ She yelled back that no, it WAS the 10k. I was in a dilemma. Should I quit? Turn around? I swear it felt like a moral dilemma. I caught up with Steve and we kept truckin’ and finished. A true miracle! We couldn’t walk for a full day but we finished! The most I had ever run before that “accident” was around six miles.
I got to thinking about my reaction when I found out the race was a 10-miler and determined that my problem was mental and not physical. I was in good shape. My body could make the 10 miles but my brain kept telling me negative trash like, “You have never run this far! Your knees are going to start hurting! What in the heck are you doing? You haven’t trained enough to do this!”
So, you have to speak in front of an audience of 5 or 50 or 500. You have prepared. You have worked on your speech, maybe even hired a speech coach to help you. At this point, you are starting to experience “mental issues.” Your brain is telling you “You can’t do this. You aren’t a good speaker. You will make a fool of yourself.”
Stop listening to your mental talk and tune in to the physical. You have a mouth, a voice and information to share. You have a right to be speaking to this audience. You have prepared. You can breathe, you can walk and you can smile. The elements are there. To run the race you have to step into those running shoes and show up! To be a successful speaker, you have to put that suit on and walk out in front of that audience. Begin speaking! This is an opportunity! Go the distance!