I was asked to be a Keynote Speaker at the recent Trinity School of Natural Health Legacy Summit. They asked me because I am an alumni and have spent many years expanding on what I learned at Trinity, as well as several other schools and programs . They also wanted me to be a speaker because I had opened a collaborative wellness center. They asked me to touch on how my health challenges brought me to the place I am today. Those health challenges became a catalyst to the journey that has become; Aqua Serene Wellness.
I can tell you I was honored to be asked and terrified to do it. I have some fear of public speaking, but my real fear is of video cameras, or cameras of almost any type. That is a chapter in the story of my life best left for another time.
I am hearing impaired as well and this makes speaking a challenge due to not knowing how loud I am actually speaking. Over time you loose a little of your annunciation abilities. Top that off with a microphone and Oh My! I felt sure the Mickey Mouse and Charlie Brown’s Teacher voices in me would threaten to surface and spill directly out of my mouth!
They wanted a power point to be part of the presentation…did I mention I have NEVER made a Power Point? My computer has this ability, the little Icon has sat in the tool bar lonely as the neglected function keys on my keyboard. I know they are available, but I don’t want to learn what they do.
As the time crept closer I knew I needed to start building at least the power point for them to review and tweak if necessary. I am proud to say they only tweaked some punctuation and changed a few words! I wrote notes for each slide, but this was my journey so it was not like I hadn’t lived it. I wasn’t too worried I would mess that part up.
The day of the event came, my wonderful friend Leslie showed up at my house to drive me. She “crashed the event” as she so lovingly put it. She is also an alumni of Trinity and she has lived through many of my life challenges along side me, as well as being part of Aqua Serene Wellness. She has a calm about her that you search for in a turbulent sea of worry. We headed to the conference and I made her promise to take me out for a drink after, no matter if I fainted and face planted on stage or did a decent job.
When we arrived the conference was running behind schedule so we waited outside in the hallway. My nerves were starting to get the best of me…all I could think about was everything that could go wrong. The camera, the sound, the powerpoint not working, boring the socks off the already brain fried attendees, aspirating and choking on a sip of water to keep my parched mouth wet….That saying from Anne Lamott goes through my head “My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try never to go there alone”
The double doors to the conference room open up and the organizer comes out and apologized for their lateness. She ushers us into the room and introduces me to the sound tech. I try to ignore the amount of attendees in the room and focus on the sound guy. There is a real stage, it is a bit daunting, a huge white screen for the projection of my power point, and a podium is set to the side with a built in microphone as well. The sound tech fits me with a portable headset microphone, adjusting it to fit atop of my hearing aid, avoiding feedback is tricky but he manages it. We go through the sound check and I step aside and wait my turn to take the stage.
My friend Genie (who arranged for me to be the speaker) came up to me and said in her beautiful accented voice, “ They want me to introduce you, I am nervous wreak! I don’t want to go on stage and speak! I am an English Challenged woman!” I laughed and said, “Genie you go to Toastmasters! You know how to do this stuff” She looked as pale as I felt! She took the stage, graceful and funny as I knew she would be. She introduced me and next thing you know there I am standing on stage with about 80 faces staring back at me. They were tired from two full days of classes. The pending stress of the next days practical exam looming over them, tough crowd and they were all mine for 30 minutes…Oh my.
I squeezed the clicker in my sweat covered palm too tightly, hoping it didn’t shoot like a cannon ball out of my hand into the front row. Breathe Cindy, just breathe I told my body and mind to calm the heck down!
I don’t remember much of the first few minutes, my mouth was dry all of a sudden and my voice seemed shaky. I really couldn’t tell if the microphone was working, but I just told myself “This is Your journey, you know this stuff, tell them your story” So I did, with each slide I brushed the surface of a much deeper struggle than most realized. To tell my whole deep dark truth, I would need to write a book.
Once it was over they clapped! A few times during they giggled or nodded understanding. Afterwards some people came up to me and thanked me for speaking and they said they could relate to the health struggles and journey. It was that same thing that brought them to be in this program getting their diplomas.
Plus I got a really cool T-shirt!
I need to thank a few people that helped make the entire thing happen. Leslie of course for being my best girl. Michelle for giving me tips on how to build a powerpoint and for the use of her clicker. Tony because he is my North when I am all over the place, Genie and Judy for believing in me, Emily, Claudia, Tricia and Julie for proof reading my powerpoint, Greg for doing Psych-K and Acupuncture on me to help ease my fear of cameras and to speak. Lauren and Chris for taking the chance I wasn’t going to crash and burn on their stage, and the nice people in the room that came up and told me they enjoyed my presentation. I want to acknowledge Sara Bee (not a person ) for her golden fizzy liquid contents of wine to calm my butt down while I was working on the powerpoint and notes. Jackson Browne for writing the lyrics to one of my life anthems “Next Voice You Hear” , and finally Nina Marie, my rescue Great Dane for listening to me practice my speech on her and kissing me when I was done.
Here are a few more photos of my presentation:
I am glad I faced this fear and powered through. It was stressful but I feel like I have accomplished a step on the road to moving away from a very real fear (Cameras) and learning to handle my reaction to those triggers better. Some day I will write that book, then maybe I can put the dark parts of my story to rest.
Meanwhile you will find me at Aqua Serene Wellness doing what I have built a business doing; Colon Hydrotherapy, Holistic Facials, Energy Therapies, Raindrop Technique and Jin Shin Jyutsu® We are located in Carmel Indiana and we also offer Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Health Coaching, Functional Medicine, Coolsculpting, and organic products and supplements.