This is going to be awesome

I no longer get nervous in any physical sense before speeches. I sleep fine. I know how most audiences will react to things. Still, I felt a bit of trepidation before my talk at SXSW on What Successful People Do Before Breakfast. First, it was new material. Second, I was worried that no one would show up. SXSW is huge, and there is a ton of stuff going on at any given time. Also, lots of people stay out partying late (as I could hear outside my hotel room each night) so I was not sure a 9:30 A.M. time slot would be a big draw. And I was in the Marriott, not the main conference center.

And so, in my self-talk before the speech, I found myself saying “in a few hours this will be over.” If it was an empty room, or it did not go well, at some point in the near future I would be on the other side of it, and could continue with my life.

This is sometimes a useful mindset, for instance while sitting in the ER with an unhappy toddler. But I realized I was falling into the trap of enduring rather than enjoying when there was no reason to. I love speaking. I had been given a rather large room. A few people had told me they would be there, and in my random conversations with others in line throughout the conference some had told me they had “starred” my session. It all had the makings of something that could be rather cool.

So I switched the self-talk. I wanted to enjoy, not endure. I started saying to myself “This is going to be awesome.”

And it was. The big salon at the Marriott was almost full. People were engaged in the talk (no streaming to the exits!) I had a great time up on stage and the conference book store sold out of my book. They said they would order twice as many copies the next time.

I am consciously trying to switch this self-talk in other circumstances too. We are traveling over spring break and there are so many reasons to dread traveling with small kids. But my 8-year-old is so excited he is counting the days. It is perhaps the best thing I can do for him to echo the sentiment. This is going to be awesome. Here is hoping it will be.

In other news: My grandmother, who I wrote about going to visit in October, passed away earlier this week. She was 100 years old, and lived a good long life. She died at home, with family around. I am really glad I made the trip to see her when that was still a possibility.

13 thoughts on “This is going to be awesome

  1. Great post, an excellent point (and how delightful that your talk went well). When I was a teen and (sort of) old enough to decline, my dad used to drag me along to events that I didn’t necessarily really WANT to go to. At some point I decided that if I was going to go, I needed to at least act like I was glad I was going. This now pretty much pervades my approach to at least many aspects of my life (though perhaps I should review and make sure I’m applying it as many places as I should) and … sometimes I wish I could get my DH to use the same approach (let’s just say that I never say, “Dinner with your aunt Shirley AGAIN?!” whereas he — well, you see where I’m going with this).

    So sorry to hear about your loss of your grandmother, how wonderful that she had what sounds like a long and family-filled life and that you were able to see her recently.

  2. So glad to hear it went well! It’s amazing what the power of positive thinking can do too 🙂 Can’t wait to hear you speak one day. I stayed at the JW Marriott in Austin in October – a nice hotel and nice city!

  3. I’m glad you were able to visit with your Grandmother before she passed away. 100 Years! That’s quite an accomplishment.

    The rest of your post has me questioning my career again. I am having a rough time today and really wish there was some aspect of my work in which to find enjoyment. I feel less and less engaged as time goes on.

    Congrats on your success at SXSW. It sounds like an awesome presentation. I’m really looking forward to attending one of your speeches, someday.

    1. @Harmony – there is a lot to be said for thinking critically about one’s career. I know that, broadly, I am in the right field but there are still things I always want to tune up and reconsider. You deserve to be in a career that you are enjoying, not enduring. I hope you will really tune in to what is working and what isn’t and figure out what you can do.

  4. I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother, but it is wonderful that you had visited with her not too long ago.
    This was a fantastic post. Congrats on the successful presentation, Hearing how you choose to change your mindset is helpful and powerful. I have been trying to tell myself ‘I can’. It really is amazing the difference positive self talk can have, just saying it in my head eases some anxiety.
    I hope I can attend one of your talks in the future!

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