I was recently hired to customize a program for a speaking engagement later this month. And for no reason in particular, I'm finding myself paying close attention to my creative process this time around.
I view every speaking engagement as a performance, which means they each require a script and many rehearsals. And when I'm customizing a presentation, that also means that in many ways I'm starting from scratch.
As soon as the ink was dry on this deal, the first emotion I felt was panic; that familiar fear that rises in me and has me questioning if I'll be able to find the magic this time. Inherently, when I panic, I also avoid the project for a couple days, busying myself with anything and everything.
And then something happened this morning, as it always does: I found a single piece of clarity about what I would do on the day. From that single piece of clarity, came energy that propelled me into a series of ideas and questions that felt--dare I say--fun to explore.
Tomorrow, I will visit with this client and pose my questions, from which more clarity will enhance my momentum and I expect I'll be off to the races.
I'm aware that this time I got lucky; the panic only had me for two days. This is likely because the event is happening quickly and I simply don't have time to sit in my own stew. My TEDx talk was like that. Once accepted, I only had thirty days to prepare and I've been proud of that result.
That space of panic and avoidance is a painful place for me full of tremendous self doubt and depression. I carry a heaviness around my shoulders on those days. The voice in my head is unsupportive and unkind on those days. I isolate myself and rarely ask for help on those days.
I'm not sure if I think I deserve my prison, or if it is just a natural part of my process. That pain certainly keeps me humble. It also keeps me second guessing myself longer than I'd like.
I enjoy nothing more than the thrill of finding my voice in a piece and of showing up and delivering on a great performance. I also love new challenges that take advantage of new skills I've developed. That's probably why my presentations are frequently customized and rarely repeated. Pushing forward is my way.
Maybe it is time to admit that pain is a necessary ingredient to the kind of growth I am after. You'd think I'd have learned by now but it seems like a new revelation every time.