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Yes, I really did just title this “Everybody poops.” I’m not scared. However, I was this past Saturday morning. I had the great honor and privilege to stand on the stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center and greet 1000+ of my Institute of Integrative Nutrition peers. On Sunday, I stepped up there again to receive a Health Leadership Award for my work with budding health coaches. Oh, did I say that it was also being live streamed to thousands more globally? It was.
I was scared.
Just like I was scared two weeks ago when I delivered a keynote address to a few hundred parents and high school athletes at Northampton High School.
By “scared,” I really mean gut-roiling, hand-shaking, adrenalized fear so bad that I couldn’t even eat. I mean waking my husband up because I’m apparently delivering my speech in my sleep. I mean suffering from anxiety dreams that range from the microphone turning into the sandworm from Beetlejuice, zombies closing in on me at Jazz or falling like Carrie Bradshaw on a catwalk.
For someone who coaches people through their own fabulous personal growth and expansion all the time, I was hitting a huge speed bump my own life. While I deeply crave helping others kickstart their most awesome self, I was utterly unprepared for that level of visibility. It just rocked me.
Here’s how I got over myself and got on the stage.
I had a conversation with one of the whip-smartest and most capable women that I know, my friend, EFB. She reminded me that no one wants to see a speaker fail. Generally, the audience is rooting for you.
Why on Earth would I believe that the audience wanted me to fail?
Why is being visible so damn scary to me?
Is this fear real?
I kept asking myself these questions for about two weeks.
Is this thing on?
It took a few days, but I figured it out. The fear was real, except it was more than 20 years old. Way back in eighth grade, I won so many awards at an annual Awards Night that even the parents started taunting me. That was a crowd that wanted me to fail. I couldn’t hide that night.
I didn’t need to hide any more.
None of us do.
Every day, we can either have our fears stop us from leaving our own indelible stain on the world; or we can learn from them. Instead of cowering from them, we can look right at them. We all have the power to deconstruct and examine the pieces of those fears. We can slay them with questions. Every single one of us has the answers inside of us, if we’re brave enough to ask the questions. And keep asking those questions. In the shower. During your walk. In a journal. On your subway ride. Just keep asking them. It’s only after taking a trip to that beautifully filthy place inside of all of us that we can begin to experience true freedom in life.
However, don’t forget laughter. There are times for serious introspection and times to just crack up. Crack up I did backstage when I received a text from my uber-positive friend and fellow coach, Stacey Voloshin that read: “Everybody poops.”
Some truths are so damn universal.