Recently, I was on America’s Web Radio, interviewed by Dr. Ann for her Relationship Radio program. The topic was "Healing Children’s Shame with Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog".
I had my cup of tea, a glass of water, my scripts to her questions, and a good night of sleep. I felt prepared. I would call her at a designated time and she would guide me through the process. It was a live taping (yikes) and had three commercial breaks. We were to speak one at a time, not over each other, and take a pause before responding. Not exactly a coffee clutch conversation.
And then the thoughts crept in: What if I forget what I’m saying? What if I stumble on a word or idea? What if I forget her name? All normal fears and worries. After all, I was putting myself out there. I used all my tools: deep breathing, marching around my office, swinging my arms in big circles, and a scream or two into my hands. Even a few pushups to get the blood flowing. All to release any fear or shock so my brain would be clear and my voice strong and my body feeling relatively safe.
I took some more deep breaths and kept talking to myself. “Regina, you’ve got this. You know the material, and it’s right in front of you if you need it. You’ll be great.” I used my nurturing, loving voice, like I was talking to a child, because after all, it was my inner child that was scared.
Why was I doing this? What was I thinking???
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do public speaking. In fact, I have been taking Improv classes for two and a half years for this very purpose, to feel comfortable on stage.
It turns out there is a positive stress, called Eustress, that is actually good for us. It keeps us “vital and excited about life.”1 It’s that excitement we feel about desired new events: a first date, planning a vacation to a new place, driving a dream car. It gives us motivation and meaning in our life. If we always play it safe, we don’t grow. We need to take chances to find out “what we are made of.”
The best thing about stretching myself like this is how awesome I felt afterwards. I literally did a happy dance in my office. My adrenaline and endorphins were sky high! I felt so GOOD about myself that I took this chance and I did great. If we never take a chance, we’ll never know how truly amazing we are. And Dr. Ann was a wonderful interviewer. It was as if we were sitting next to each other chit chatting about my book!
I am so proud of myself. In fact, I’ve already set up my next interview with author Sarah Dickey on her podcast “Sweetly Speaking.” And I plan to do many more to keep spreading the word about Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog. Look out Ted Talks, here I come!
(1)Why Eustress Is Your Friend
By Elizabeth Scott, MS
Updated April 20, 2019