that time I totally bombed in front of an audience

“You can’t shrink your way to greatness.”

That was a line in a recent post by marketing genius Seth Godin. It wasn’t the attention-grabber intro nor was it the thought-provoking stinger at the end.

The line was simply and thoughtfully placed inside the bigger context of the post, and yet this is what stuck with me.

“You can’t shrink your way to greatness.”

You have to put yourself out there.

You’ll have to be visible and bold and brave.

And that’s exactly what I did – I said yes when asked to participate in a speaking event at my local coworking space. I was to give a five-minute speech on what it is that I do, an intro to my business essentially.

I was a little reluctant, due to fear, but otherwise ALL IN.

In the days leading up to the event, I was confident. I would totally rock this.

On the day of the event, it was a completely different Lindsay. I found myself in emotional childhood. I stomped my feet, almost cried my eyes out.

But, if I want to be more visible in my business, I need to be more visible myself. So I grabbed my courage and said, “let’s do this”. I was excited again, with a tinge of nerves.

I walked in front of the audience, head high, a smile on my face, my sophisticated slide deck blazing behind me.

And oh my gosh… was the presentation a spectacular failure!

The presentation just did not hit with this audience.

It was not filled with my ideal client. Actually, there wasn’t one ideal client in the bunch. And they didn’t want to hear what I had to say.

The event is designed so that after a presentation, the audience provides 25 minutes of constructive feedback so that you can improve.

I think my feedback round went like this – 2 minutes ‘here’s what you did well’, 2 minutes of silence, 21 minutes of ‘here’s where you went wrong’, ‘here’s where I would have done that differently’, ‘loved your client story but I couldn’t relate to her at all’ and on…

Despite knowing that these aren’t my people, the comments still felt like a gut punch initially.

As I drove home and later recounted the event to my husband, I found that I wasn’t hurt or angry or defeated.

I focused on the fact that this is my next step to getting more comfortable in front of a live audience in order to head down the path of where I want my business to go.

I’m taking the feedback that I do consider relevant and important and where I can legitimately improve.

But I’m throwing out the rest. If fact, if I implemented all of the suggestions into my next speech, I guarantee my ideal client would go running the opposite direction.

Most importantly, I’m not letting this experience make me want to hide under the covers.

I can’t shrink my way to greatness.

Where can you expand into your greatness? Tell me about it below – I’d love to hear from you!

(HUGE h/t to Seth Godin for sharing his wisdom and my husband, Alison and Lisa for nudging me to do that presentation).

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

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