I would imagine most of us have had experiences where we have been asked to do something we don’t feel comfortable doing AND that will be done in front of other people. I know I have. Those can be very nerve-wracking moments.
I remember one time I was asked to preach a sermon before my church. At the time there was about 250 people in attendance and I was so nervous. I was both excited for the opportunity to give this message, but so fearful I would make a fool of myself.
I timidly worked my way through my talk, then I sat down and observed how quickly it all went. After the service ended, I received a few positive comments from some people (who I think are just half-full personalities by nature), which I was thankful for.
As the day went on, I thought about my speech and what filled my mind were thoughts like, “I wish I would have done that”, “I should have prepared more”, “I should have done …”, etc.
The key lesson I learned from that experience was the realization that you only get one chance in moments like that, so the next time I’m in that kind of situation I need to do things differently.
Here are a few things that I have tried to apply which has made a tremendous difference:
- Pray– God understands my fears, but is there to show Himself strong and to offer help
- Understand that I will still be somewhat nervous when I have these opportunities. That is normal and those nerves can trigger a symptom to concentrate on these other points
- Prepare–knowing my message brings confidence. When I get to a point of feeling like I have done all I can in preparation, I will try to push on to prepare even more.
- Enjoy the experience- I have a choice to determine how my experience will be remembered. I can choose to give it my best shot, prepare, and enjoy having this opportunity, or I can let fear dominate and be filled with regrets after the experience saying to myself, “next time, I wish I …
A few days ago, I put these bullet points in practice. I had the opportunity to go skydiving post. I knew as I was going up in the plane that I was nervous (why wouldn’t I be, I was jumping out of a plane), but that in 20 minutes or so, it would all be over. I remember vividly thinking about how I wanted to remember this unique experience? I wanted to have positive thoughts about it, so I just decided to embrace the experience and the many different emotions that came with it.
I’m glad I followed my own advice. It was an awesome experience. Yours will be as well as you put these principles into practice.