Yesterday was gut check time.
I woke up anxious. At 5:00 am I got up to start re-working my WordCamp talk– scheduled for 4:00 pm. I added all new slides, completely reworked the content, and I seriously considered calling the organizer and telling him I was sick. Like all fears it was completely illogical.
Why was I nervous? I was nervous because I knew that this was a big moment for my fledgling business, McLane Creative. The last thing I wanted was for the Southern California WordPress community to think I was lame or didn’t know what the heck I was talking about.
It was a risk. And the closer my time got the more it felt like a stupid risk to take. I’d never even been to a WordCamp… much less spoke at one. What the heck was I thinking?
After lunch I went to my car and went through the talk 2 times all the way through. After the first time I actually started the car to drive home. I had sat in on a couple other sessions and I knew my talk was drastically different from the style of everyone else’s. This compounded the risk. And it felt like a dumb risk to take. My instinct was saying, BAIL, BAIL, BAIL!!! But my integrity would never allow that. That’s not the Adam McLane I want to be.
4:00 pm arrived. Feeling completely unconfident I stood there and realized that it was time to fake it. My last thought before my talk began was, “Just shut up and deliver.”
And it went great. The audience was engaged. They asked great questions. And I think that for a few people, those who I was targeting with the talk, were really equipped.
Last week I talked about jumping out and starting my own thing. And how glorious and scary it was at the same time. Yesterday I felt the amazing joy of free fall! And it was beautiful.
I walked off that stage proud of myself. I looked a scary moment in the face. Risked it all. And it paid off.
3 Tips for fellow jumpers
- Being afraid – There’s no shame in having fear. Fear is natural. But if you allow fear to drive your decision making you’ll live a life of regret. Learn to look at fear, recognize it for what it is, and push through it.
- Being myself- There were elements of my talk that referenced being a youth pastor and even the defining question of my blogging life. I was open about the role of my faith in Christ in my life, the positives and the negatives, and the audience was appreciative of that. (And not shy about affirming my decision to go there.)
- Being welcomed- As someone who “is known” within my niche` it was very scary to walk onto a stage as a complete unknown. The organizers knew that and welcomed me into their tribe, my fellow speakers were very gracious, and the audience was amazing in making me feel welcome on their stage.