Mind: Breathe. Relax. Get a grip.
Body: What if I choke?
Mind: Don’t worry, you’ve got this!
Body: What if my voice cracks?
Mind: Pause, take a deep breath, sip some water.
Lub dub, lub dub.
Heart in throat, I could literally feel my chest exploding. It was this epic battle between Mind and Body. Mind was fighting to gain control; Body was drenched in adrenaline as the fight-or-flight response kicked in: palms sweating, hands trembling, heart racing, breath shallow, and mouth dry like cotton.
I felt like Moses when he argued with God about leading the Israelites:
O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled (Exodus 4:10–13).
I was gripped with glossophobia—fear of public speaking—accompanied by a foreboding sense of doom. The stakes were high. Though it crossed my mind, I couldn’t very well flee and run. I was in it to win. Besides, how would I look myself in the mirror again?
See, I’m uncomfortable in the spotlight. I don’t enjoy that “all-eyes-on-me” feeling. Thankfully Mind won over Body, but what about next time?
How do you deal with public speaking? Any tips for turning nerves into friends versus foes? And no, picturing people naked doesn’t work for me.
Taking a deep breath …