I make my living as a writer for many reasons; among them, that I don’t have to talk. In other words, I avoid public speaking like the proverbial plague. Or, to be more accurate, I limit my public speaking audiences to two age categories: 10 and under; 70 and older.
Back in November, I agreed to speak to an audience somewhere between, but because I surmised (correctly) that the group would have at least one person in the latter category, I said yes. Today was the day agreed upon. I had been thinking about what I would say and had written down several pages of thoughts.
But this morning, 30 minutes before I needed to leave, my sister Susan called to wish me luck and ask about what I would say. I surprised us both (and my son, who happened to be standing nearby) by bursting into tears.
“I can’t do this!” I cried. “I am awful at this! I am going to make a fool of myself!”
She helped me; gave me ideas I wasn’t sure I could pull off. SHE is the speaker; her timing and her delivery are impeccable. She’s FUNNY. I only am when I am around certain people — maybe a half dozen or a few more in my entire lifetime.
Well, her suggestions worked. I had a wonderful time with this delightful and welcoming group of women. The venue and the people were perfect: They met at someone’s house, in a living room, with everyone (including me!) sitting down…well, initially. I had them stand to start with yoga breathing (which helped me too!).
Then I just talked — about my dad’s influence on my writing, about feature stories, about fitness. Heck, I even showed them how to do a push-up leaning against the heavy wooden table on which they’d piled plates of healthy foods (in my honor).
I arrived at 10:15; it was almost noon before I left. I even all but agreed to speak to another group that a woman there belongs to. I walked out into the sunshine with the sweet woman who had invited me there. We hugged, I said thank you, and my day continued in an upward direction.
So for a shot of self confidence, administered by a sister who shoved me outside my comfort zone, The Grateful Runner says thank you.