I still have nerves before the message – forty years later

I was fourteen years old when my father made me cold call café after café to sell the Greek pastries for our family business (Dad didn’t speak English and he threw me into the lions den). I was unprepared, but that was not an excuse, dad just made me do it, so you soon work out your pitch and you know you’re getting better because you’re selling more. Forty years on, my audience has grown in various forms and the ability to fashion words in order to influence others has fascinated me ever since.


Picture taken of a friend of mine who was as nervous as hell sharing from his heart and I loved it

Do you still get nerves before you deliver the message? – I hope so, it signifies that there’s still fire in the belly.

There’s a difference between nerves and desperation 

Just yesterday I had a new opportunity to share, encourage and motivate three interns as they prepare for the world of commerce. I must admit I still get nervous before I start forty years later.

As a communicator of ideas, there is nothing more EXCITING and nerve racking than putting yourself on the line in order to influence another human being. The ability to create imagery that reaches the core of a person to consider change if change is needed or simply to reaffirm convictions to stay true to their choices can be intoxicating.

Nerves keep you sharp, alert and observant. You look for indicators that lean toward connectivity and trust which ultimately leads to influence. Each message is unique to the audience even though the message or performance has been repeated a hundred times.

Nerves reveal a level of vulnerability that you may choke in the middle. This is completely different to desperation. A person who is desperate plays it safe, they become almost predictable. A desperate person looks to win, to make minimal mistakes, influencing the audience is low on their agenda. A desperate person prefers to be liked, admired even loved, hoping that the audience remembers them more than the message or performance.

Nerves reveal a level of preparation, the work behind the scenes. 

While others sleep, we the nervous ones ponder over the words, the illustrations and the manner in which we will deliver our message. It’s important that we come to the stage ready, willing and able with only one goal in mind, make it about them. Make them laugh, cry or be angry, but make it about them.

The notebook is filled with scribbles, drawings and crazy thoughts written like scientific equations only legible to the scriber. To him or her the madness of words on paper make perfect sense and the nerves start. With the heart beating and the nerves kicking in, consideration is given, ‘how can we give life to these drafts and annotations’. Is it possible that we can impart a measure of our truth into another human being, how arrogant, how EXCITING and how satisfying this feels regardless of the nerves.

Once the message is delivered, its done, we are left empty, exhausted and contemplate, we can do much better next time and the nerves start their cycle again. 

The day the nerves stop, its time to leave the stage, all you have left is experience without passion, wood without a fire.

To my fellow word-smith, sharpen the axe, don’t make it about you, make it about them. Wake up each day with a fresh perspective and allow for new experiences. Capture the imagery that comes to your imagination and write them down. Own those words, work with them, shape them into a palatable form and then share them with your fellow man. As you give away your truth to encourage others, you yourself will be refreshed.  

 Nerves before the message – Yes there is still fire in the belly

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