What to Tell Yourself When You’re Nervous

As soon as you launch out into anything public, you might suddenly become very nervous. 

When I speak, teach, blog, or lead, I’ve learned that my nervousness stems from a fear of shame–of rejection–that once removed, sets me free to be myself in front of a crowd.

When I wonder what others will think of me, I get nervous.
When I wonder whether or not I will do a good job, I get nervous.
When I wonder whether or not I should be doing this public thing, I get nervous. 

So I try to stop wondering these things by (and I know this sounds crazy) learning to anticipate the worst that might happen.  Rejection?  Mockery?  I’ve been there and survived (with flair).  I remember that my public offerings represent gifts to the audience I serve. Others might reject the gift, but the point is I’m giving–not receiving–from the audience. I pray God enables it to not be about me.  I also remember that public opportunities are acts of obedience to my calling.  In this sense, I’m performing for a God who already approves, already accepts, and already delights in me.  There’s no earning my own way; there’s nothing at stake. 

Living with flair means going public. 

Journal:  Are you ready to be in public? 

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  1. I both struggle with and face this regularly in my life – through work and otherwise. I find public speaking so difficult, and yet I always get positive responses. And I know there are parts of myself I try to hide, for fear of not being accepted. (Don't we all?)

    I love the piece about obedience to calling – my favorite mantra is that the only person I need to please is God. And that's done. So it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, as long as I'm following his will.

    Works like a charm!

    Thanks for your consistent and insightful writing! I enjoy it basically every day!

  2. Flair — what a perfect word for you to use in defining yourelf. I wanted to let you know I enjoyed your talk today at our retreat. You made me wish for a moment that I'd found time for a few more writing classes back when time was not in such short supply. Maybe one of these days I'll audit one of your classes. Thank you for the book and the great writing tips. The story about the inspiration for your post about things to do on a date struck a chord. Flair and compassions … things that are a rare and lovely mix. Most sincerely….a fellow lover of words.