One of my speaker friends made me laugh recently. She said, “Why do I keep doing something that makes me feel like I’m going to throw up on a regular basis? I’d love to work 9-5 making widgets!”
Most of the time I recognize this speaker calling as the rich blessing that it is, but occasionally I want to echo my friend who was joking in a moment of frustration.
For me, the biggest challenge is that I take a risk every time I take the stage to speak. I love the feeling of connecting with the audience and sharing my Magnificent Obsession. Once in a while, though, I don’t feel the connection. I know that even though I’ve prayed and prepared that I’m flat, average, or even worse, a flop.
A couple of weekends ago, my son, who is a musician, had a big solo at the beginning of a concert. He practiced and practiced at home until the whole family was familiar with every note. All the group practices went well, and he even received praise from the conductor. At the performance, however, all did not go well, and he left the stage deflated and discouraged.
My heart broke with his, but I got to share that I’ve felt the same way before. The hardest part is feeling like you’ve not only failed but failed in front of EVERYONE. No matter how many times you’ve done well, that one failure lcan loom larger than everything else. Other people might get to have their bad days in offices alone, but speakers have our bad days in front of an audience!
So why do we do it?
Because the One who calls us is worthy. That truth alone has to fuel our passion, our discipline, and our work. If we speak only for the connection with an audience…if we speak only for the applause…if we speak only to wear a cute outfit…if we speak only for the rush of being up front and of approval…then the failures will crush us, and we might as well go make widgets.
But if we speak for the One who fills our hearts and our mouths, then every risk is worth it. He’s the One who will help us perservere. When we experience a speaking event that we feel was a failure, He’ll gently pick us up, encourage our hearts and set us on another stage on another day.
Have you ever felt like you failed as a speaker? What helped you recover?