Eric gave me a great idea as we were talking after the podcast. He suggested that I write a blog post about my experience of coming on his show. Great idea! Here’s what’s been running through my mind as I reflect on it all...
I imagine there are phases of fear much like there are stages of grief. There's gotta be. Regardless of whether it’s an actual thing or not, I went through identifiable phases between the first time Eric called me and invited me on his show and when we actually went on the air for my first introduction podcast. First, I have to describe my feelings about that initial phone call. I was literally lacing up my Chucks to go out to the garage to deadlift. That was fun timing! I was star struck, to be honest, and I’m not into celebrities or popularity contests. It’s just that Eric has been kind of a big deal in our house the previous two and a half years ;)
The first phase of this podcast journey went like this... “HE.. called ME!?” I couldn’t believe it. ...I still don’t actually! Then came the excitement, the “Let’s do this!” Since it was far enough off in the future at that point, I was safe in only feeling the giddiness and not the fear. But eventually the fear set in and turned to pure dread... “I'm doing WhAt?!?!” ...“I've got nothing to say!” ... “Why in the world does he want to talk to ME?!?” As these feelings went on for a few weeks, I experienced brief moments of wondering if I should back out. This occurred to me when I’d remember how speaking, especially in this type of situation, is probably at the very top of the list of things I'm terrible at. Public speaking is not my thing. Speaking to more than one person at a time is not my thing! I know, I know... when I was on air I was technically only talking to Eric. But I knew full well that thousands of listeners would soon be listening in on our conversation, so it was pretty much the same thing to me as public speaking. Speaking, in general, is not as much my thing as, say, writing. I have horrible detail recall. I’m not sure why… it’s just the way I’m wired. Instead, I'm a quick learner and remember things as a big picture summary in my mind. To be expected to remember details and specifics, especially on the fly, is seriously torturous for me! But a quitter I am not. And beyond not being a quitter, my word is something I'm proud to know can be counted on when I choose to give it to people. I don't offer or commit to something unless I've already committed to myself that it's a thing I plan to see through to completion. It wasn't an option for me to back out. I don't do that. I’d rather have a catastrophic flop weighing on my shoulders in retrospect than regrets and “I wish I would have gone through with it instead of quitting before I gave it a fair shot.” But that’s just me.
So it came time to accept my commitment and the reality that I was actually about to do it; I was going to be on Eric’s podcast. ...Holy. Shit. I was going to be on Eric’s podcast! For the 2-3 weeks prior to the show, I toughened myself up mentally into a state where “This was happening” and “I'd better step up and be in the ‘right state of Kelly’ that's ready for it.” I would visualize myself sitting there in a state of ‘flow,’ and at the very least not messing up and saying something I wouldn't be proud of. I visualized myself thinking clearly. I visualized the whole thing going smoothly.
No amount of cramming or prep work or rehearsing would help for Eric’s format. That actually turned out to be a good thing for me. I knew I needed to show up with a clear mind… instead of crammed and cluttered and rehearsed. So contrary to every other high pressure speaking task I've experienced before - interviews, speeches in front of groups of people, and that hour-long rhetorical analysis interview in college (barf! speaking of torturous!) - where it actually benefitted me to prepare and I wouldn’t have survived without rehearsing, the alternate prep work I did for the podcast was successful… and it looked like this: no junk food - none - in the 3 days prior. Not even a little taste. I know myself and if I bog my body down with even a mini candy bar, it throws me off and fogs me up - I couldn't risk even an ounce of unclarity. I also made sure I didn’t miss one morning or evening of Qi Gong, knowing this helps my clarity and helps me feel my best. If public speaking were my strength I'm not sure I'd need to go to such lengths to ensure I was 'running so clean' for the podcast, but since it isn’t something that comes naturally to me, I needed to be sure I brought my A-game and this involved a variety of smart choices.
The next thing included in this prep was a killer lift the night before. This is where and why that 250 partial dead stop squat partial looked easy and was easy. I had some baggage to release so I had an additional drive in me that led to adding 35 pounds to my previous week’s dead stop squat partial’s poundage. That was such a great lift and exactly what I needed! To finish off my preparation I ate a man-sized-amount of eggs and bacon for supper that evening because I feel my best and most clear the mornings after that meal.
Now, I fully realize… that many of you are wondering what the hell I’m going on and on about in this article. Speaking to others comes easily to many of you and you don’t bat an eye at being in the spotlight. Not me. To those of you out there that can’t relate? Substitute ‘public speaking’ with something at the top of your list of things that you’re terrible at or that stirs up feelings of dread and fear at actually facing and doing. You’ve got something, I know you do. What is it that you’re fearful to face? ...Speaking up for yourself? Fear of change? How about the fear of success? Or taking a risk knowing you may fail? Saying ‘no’ to another request for your time? Being yourself for fear of it not pleasing everyone? Getting involved in a relationship for fear of rejection? Speaking your truth to someone? Learning how to sit quietly by yourself and enjoy your own company? Learning how to be your own cheerleader and follow your own path? Well, this is an article full of the honest reflections of someone who confronted a fear like that. So maybe re-framing it in that way could help you relate to me more.
The podcast morning arrived. Our daughter woke me up at 3, but I planned on getting up at 4 like usual anyway. So I had a few hours to wake up, decide to not feel nervous (I’ve discovered that’s a choice after-all and that our minds have way more control over our bodies than we give it credit for). I did Qi Gong, took a nice shower, talked to Brian and drank some Living Fuel before setting up my ‘office’ in our garage. I knew I needed to stay clear of the usual morning kid chaos, so the garage was the best place for me to be in order to focus.
Then 6 AM… Eric called via Skype. Ahh! This is it! “Let’s do this!” I immediately felt safe and comfortable. I knew I would… I’ve listened to his other podcasts and predicted that I would. ...I felt safe to mess up...that it wouldn't upset him or throw him off...that he wouldn't make me feel foolish if I did. I felt safe to share my views and opinions and knew that if he didn't agree with them it would be okay. He rolls with it and is ok with differing opinions. He's not scared of someone using his air time to say something that contradicts his beliefs...he's open to that and doesn't make differing opinions into a big thing. There's a peace about him that can be felt….it’s contagious. It’s this peace that makes you feel supported and encouraged to step it up and feel safe enough to speak your mind. I relaxed immediately, and even started to enjoy this crazy podcasting experience I once feared so much. Do I think I did a stellar job? Absolutely not. I can think of things I should have said instead, should have worded better, should have elaborated on more, etc., etc., etc. I know that's something everyone can relate to even if public speaking comes naturally to you. However, I'm not gonna sweat it. I'm not dwelling on my mistakes or shortcomings. I'll just try harder next time! By the way, there's gonna be a next time!! Can you believe it!? No, neither can I. haha
What I am pleased with myself for is 1) going through with it, 2) choosing to face the fear, 3) not letting my nervousness make me say something regrettable, 4) sharing my opinions even though every listener may not agree with them, and 5) making no apologies for being myself...even if being myself involves not shining in a speaking arena.
Maybe I'm a good lesson for others: don't let the messenger's poor delivery stand in the way of the message. Think about that one. How many people have we written off because of a flaw? I know I’m guilty of that one and I’m not at all proud of it. I learned the lesson, though... tune in to truths even if they don’t come wrapped in a fancy smoothly-delivered package.
I caution you… don’t judge a book by its cover. The cover may look like just a no-nonsense strong man, but within the book inside is the most gracious, understanding, gentle and wise man. The cover may look like a meek girl whose quiet reserved ways could be mistaken as standoffish, but within the book inside is a strong, emotionally-sound and stable introspective friend who’s on your side.
Phooey on you if you're foolish enough to judge a book by its cover. Think of all the amazing books you’ll miss out on if you continue overlooking their possibilities and potential!
In my mind the podcast was a success. It turned out to not be a catastrophic flop to weigh on my shoulders in retrospect, but rather another conquered fear faced that I can check off on a bucket list of things I’d like to overcome. And the coolest thing about this whole experience that I could have missed out on had I chickened out and given in to fear is this... an experience so incredible and almost beyond description that occurred about three-fourths of the way through our on-air time… deja vu. It was the longest and clearest deja vu I’ve ever experienced. I debated whether I should even share this with you because it was so personal and sounds so crazy. But I will, because I want to point out that deja vu is a very real and purposeful thing. It serves as a checkpoint on our life’s journey... a checkpoint to remind us and show us that we’re on track. A checkpoint to indicate we are where we are meant to be …doing what we’d planned on doing. The deja vu I experienced during the podcast was wild. I’m not even going to try and explain it. I can’t! But know that I’m grateful and proud that I faced my fear. ...the alternative was clearly a missed checkpoint on my journey. So glad I didn’t deny myself that!
I am a wife, mom to two and teacher. I have a lot of things I'd like to go after in this lifetime!