My words, my world…
2016 has been a remarkable year for literature and music. For the first time in history, a Nobel Prize for literature was given to one of my favourite songwriter and singer – Bob Dylan. Times, sure are a changing. Last weekend, Patti Smith attended the prize distribution ceremony in Stockholm on his behalf and sang one of his songs- A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. I watched the entire song and was inspired to write this post.
As a teacher of communication subjects, many of my students tell me that they have a morbid fear of facing an audience. They imagine that they will make mistakes and become an embarrassment. This self-fulfilling prophecy inevitably comes true, breaks their confidence and may scar their lives and careers. If you can relate to this feeling and dread facing an audience, I recommend you read this post and watch Patti singing this song over and over again.
While Patti was singing, she stumbled on the lyrics, paused, sang a few more words, stumbled again and finally stopped.
Then she did something miraculous. She said “I’m sorry. I’m so nervous”.
And then something even more miraculous happened. The audience cheered and clapped for her. Patti started singing again and finished the song to a resounding applause. This was an extra-ordinary performance.
I want you to rewind this clip and pause at the moment when Patti stopped singing (2:02) and said “I’m sorry. I’m so nervous(2:25). Stay at that moment for some time and reflect on the following:
I know it is hard to face audiences and talk in front of them. But let me emphasise that there is no magic pill out there to help you. You have to program your mind to get over the fears, learn to deal with falls, be graceful about it and finish your talk/presentation. Tell yourself that if Patti Smith, the legend, can fail on stage in front of 1000 of the most influential people of the world in the Nobel Prize distribution ceremony (not to mention the millions who will watch the video on youtube and mock her in the tabloids) and still be counted, so can I. This is the first and probably the most crucial step – to overcome your fear of coming on stage. In a future post, I will attempt to take you through the process of dealing with falls on stage in a little more detail.
Rakesh Godhwani calls himself a nobody. He teaches, writes, reads a story to his kids every night before they sleep, bicycles his way to work when he can, does yoga, earns a fraction of what he used to, but lives a million times better. Check his online course Present with Confidence. Follow him @godhwani. Read his other posts at https://rakeshgodhwani.wordpress.com or on mediumhttps://medium.com/@Godhwani