Naked on the stage

courtesy of

courtesy of

In some basic way it is our imperfections and even our pain that draws others close to us. ~Rachel Naomi Remen

This quote was my ultimate comfort over the weekend when I gave a presentation on my experience participating in IBM’s Corporate Service Corps at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Leading Edge Consortium this past Friday. I was standing at the podium in front of a crowd of a roughly 250 people when I somehow detached from the person who was speaking and heard myself talking, like I was a fly on the wall observing some woman I did not know. Naturally, I then proceeded to lose my train of thought. I thought I might just die in that moment. The pause caused by the emptiness in my head seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t just stand there in complete and utter silence.

So I fessed up. I smiled at the audience and just told them the truth. I lost my place.

Somewhere inside I must have sinc’ed up with my intention to connect with the audience by being real. Rachel’s kind words must have been whispering to my heart. It didn’t hurt that a colleague had shared Garr Reynolds book with me during the week to connect me with the power of nakedness (see The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides). I haven’t quite stopped evaluating my ‘performance’ (oh, the tendency to judge and criticize is so powerful!).  However, I did receive affirmation from people after my session that I’d had the impact I was looking for. I wanted to hug the man who thanked me for my authenticity. I was never sure if he was talking about my blunder or the story I told that made me choke up. Guess it doesn’t really matter.

 In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called up on to reach in and touch our hearts. ~Ruth Fishel


4 thoughts on “Naked on the stage

  1. ‘People may forget what you said, but the will never forget how you made them feel’ – I sense your performance here left a lasting (and yes, positive) mark of your auhenticity – as do your blogs. Quench the ever measuring competitive ego’s little voice!

    • Love that remark, Torben and couldn’t agree more. It is how we feel that we remember (the old idea that any experience we have is 30% rational and 70% emotional in how we judge it). Vicki, I am so proud of you in so many ways. Glad I stopped by today because I’m going to have an interesting work event and this will help me reset my barriers. (ie lower them.) You give me not only the inspiration to do that, but the courage.

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