Last Saturday, five minutes before I was due on stage to talk at the fantastic ‘Change your world‘ conference, my co-presenter and co-founder of OYNB Ruari said:

‘I am not feeling this speech; I’m thinking we throw out the slides and just talk.’

What the…????!!!!!

This is not what an introvert wants to hear.

As any introvert will know, the thought of speaking in public is often enough to drive them to drink. However, four years ago I made, in my view, the best decision in business and life. I quit alcohol. So a trip to the bar for fake confidence was no longer an option.

Learning from the masters

“Some introverts are perfectly comfortable with public speaking; I’m not one of them.” Susan Cain

My approach to public speaking reflects the ideas of the fantastic author and somewhat introverted Malcolm Gladwell who is known to prepare every single word of his speeches beforehand. While Susan Cain author of the stunning ‘Quiet: The power of introverts who can’t stop talking.’ likes to prepare thoroughly in advance to battle pre match nerves.

In order for me to speak with confidence in public I needed to prepare, prepare and prepare some more. Knowing in advance exactly what I will say, allows my words to flow. Like all skills, the more I speak in public, the easier it gets. BUT I crave structure.

My horror minutes before I stepped onto the stage

‘Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy’ Anthony Robbins

As I peeled myself off the ceiling, my heart rate settled and the terror of what this meant became apparent.

I was now staring one of my most limiting beliefs in the face.

You see, for years I had told myself the limiting story that ‘There is no way I can stand up and free-form talk in front of a large crowd.’

Like most stories we tell ourselves, we tend to believe them even though the evidence to support these limiting beliefs are non-existent or untrue.

FB & Insta lives every day

What’s funny about this limiting belief is that almost every single day I record a FaceBook and Instagram LIVE where I talk off the cuff. I wait for the LIVE to count me down 3,2,1 then I go for it.

There is no planning or preparation. The only difference is that it’s just me and my phone. So the issue was not the physical act of speaking, it was one of fear.

The fear of failure

The fear of failure and looking foolish in public is one that haunts many of us.

Here’s the thing — I also run MasterMind courses that are designed to help others create their best-selves. Part of this process is to define your personal mission or life-force statement.

I live and breathe these ideas and within my life-force statement are the words — do not be afraid to fail.

How to smash a limiting belief

‘Things do not change; we change.’ Henry David Thoreau

So in this moment I realised that I had just been gifted the opportunity to live by my life-force statement and ‘not be afraid to fail’. Also, I had the chance to smash a limiting belief. A win double.

It's funny that only a few years ago, I would have dealt with this situation so differently. My old reaction would have involved rushing to the bar to drink some fake confidence. But now after 4 years into my alcohol-free adventure, there was a sense of a deep lasting confidence returning.

So rather than panic taking over, I felt calm and confident as I accepted the challenge, threw out the slides and walked on stage. GULP.

It’s like karaoke, once you start you can’t stop

My co-presenter Ruari was first up and he was flying from the off. And very soon it was my time to talk.

What’s strange, is that at this point I was more relaxed than I have ever been on stage.

I made peace with myself before stepping on out that that I could handle the consequences if I fumbled my words or stared into space and dribbled.

Once you can handle any potential consequences all that’s left is for you to do your best in that moment. And that’s exactly what I did.

Was it the greatest speech, absolutely not, but it felt AMAZING.

The feedback was fantastic

‘Everyone perceives a gap between themselves and others. But that gap prevents action.’ David Hamilton

Using feedback as a guide, lots of people enjoyed the talk, and hopefully, we inspired a few people to take a proactive break from the booze. Also, David Hamilton author of ‘I heart Me’ and someone I admire, approached us to say that he loved the speech. A massive win!

3 Lessons learned

Once again a moment of fear produced lifelong learning. Here are the 3 big things I discovered:

1. The stories we tell ourselves have the power to keep us small and hold us back from being our best or they can create lives full of learning and growth.

2. You can smash a limiting belief that you have carried for years in minutes through experiential action.

3. Aligning with your life-force or mission statement and core values offers you the space to make choices that are totally congruent with who you are.

Call to action

I have created a free guide to the 4 greatest mindset tricks that will transform your relationship with alcohol.

If you use this guide you will be able to stay alcohol-free in any situation.

Click here to get your free guide to the 4 best alcohol-free mindset tricks

PS — If you want to know more about my alcohol-free adventures I am LIVE on Instagram and Facebook almost every morning at sunrise — before work!

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