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