Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I Ain't Scared

We have all felt it; the feeling of your heart actually lurching up into your throat as the teacher calls your name to come up in front of the whole class. Your palms sweat, your mouth gets dry and suddenly your lunch you just ate wants to come back up to say hello. All eyes, ears and a few noses are on you. So dance monkey, dance! Entertain, be engaging, make them laugh, make them think, make them for the love of God stop looking at you, their stare is penetrating your very soul!

Jerry Seinfeld is quoted as saying, "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

Does this ring true in your life? Are scared to death to speak where two or more are gathered? "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) Why be scared, Jesus is there!

Speaking from the perspective as someone who does this for a living (not getting up in front of a class but as a stand up comedian) I can tell you that speaking in front of 4,500 people does not scare me in the least. It's the speaking in front of one person that catches me off guard.

For me, I know my chances are better the more people I get in front of. Have you ever had a joke bomb in front of thousands of people? Me neither but I hear it's not that bad because even if just half of 4,500 people laugh that's still 2250 laughing people. Bombing in front of 1 person, well you get the idea.

No one likes to look dumb in front of his or her peers, or alone for that matter. I think many times in our lives we avoid speaking in front of a few friends let alone thousands because we are afraid of what they will think of us.

They might see the zit, hear that voice crack or figure out that sometimes I really don't know what the heck I'm talking about. Guess what, that IS scary! But do you know what I discovered? We are all in the same boat. I know a lot of people who talk smooth and look good and there's not one of them who doesn't have an off day every once in awhile except Chuck Norris but I don't actually know him so it doesn't count.

The beautiful thing about us humans is that we are not perfect. Let me repeat that so I can hear it, humans are not perfect! So in theory, when imperfect humans get up in front of other imperfect humans chances are something is bound to go wrong from time to time. The good news is that in fact, none of us has it all together all the time so you should never be ashamed to let your voice be heard. Because in reality the people you are scared to look stupid in front of are just as scared to look stupid in front of you.

Isn't that so cool?

The day I became comfortable on stage and even in talking to people one on one was when I embraced my imperfectness. In fact when I embraced my dorkiness. It's the day I was able to accept the fact that I may not be perfect and well, I'm proud of it and I'm not going to try to hide it.

I also have to admit right now that it's wasn't an actual day that I discovered this but a slow, long and quite painful process that I'm just trying to speed up for you by cluing you in on what I learned.

Fear God not people. You never have to worry about God thinking you are dumb because He already knows you are pretty cool. How does He know? Well duh, He made you and as the poster states; "God don't make no junk!"

If all else fails and you are still a nervous wreck and you feel like you are going to hurl when you have to talk to one or a thousand people just do what I do and picture everybody in their underwear. You still might have to hurl but it might just even the playing ground enough to let you say what's on your heart.