Mindfulness, Public Speaking and a Life-Changing Event: Part One

Mindfulness and Public Speaking

Breathe. Notice a colour. Notice a sound. Notice my body. Breathe.

On the weekend, I attended an absolutely amazing event called the Seaside Sessions, held at the stunning Beach Lane in Carrum. The event was lovingly put together by my beautiful friend, Jess Thomas, who had an incredible vision for the night.

Not only did her vision include delicious food, wellness inspiration, connection with other women, but she also planned to make a difference by donating all profits to Camp Quality.

When I was asked to speak about mindfulness at this event, I didn't hesitate before saying a big “Yes!”.

Despite the fact I'm introverted. Despite the fact I hadn't spoken in public for several years. Despite the fact the idea of public speaking scared the living daylights out of me.

Breathe. Notice a colour. Notice a sound. Notice my body. Breathe.

On one hand, I was terrified. On the other hand, I've been reaching a large audience through my podcast, The Mindful Kind, and one of the reasons I started doing that was so I could practise speaking. Surely, if I could talk about mindfulness to thousands of people via my podcast, I could speak in front of sixty women at a live event. Right?

Then, this thought crept in; “The difference between podcasting and live speaking is if I make a mistake when I'm recording the podcast, I just edit it out. At a live event, there's no going back.”

Addressing this thought was my first challenge. Yes, the thought was true, I wasn't going to deny that. However, I knew there were some other truths important to keep in mind. One, “There are things I can do to minimise the number of mistakes, such as practising my talk at home and using cue cards.” Two, “It's going to be a wonderful night of connection and I really want to be part of it.” Three, “If I do make a mistake, I know I can forgive myself.” I connected with these thoughts whenever I started to doubt myself and my ability to speak in front of an audience.

Breathe. Notice a colour. Notice a sound. Notice my body. Breathe.

So, I practised. I wrote out the ideas I wanted to cover during my twenty minute talk and created simple cue cards. In front of my boyfriend, brother and our dog, I practised my talk five or six times (and I'm very grateful for their support, patience and encouragement!). I changed a few parts of the talk so it felt better. I learned how to make mistakes and move on. I felt nervous and found ways to manage it.

Breathe. Notice a colour. Notice a sound. Notice my body. Breathe.

The day of the event rolled around much faster than I expected. I woke up feeling a mixture of excitement, nerves, trepidation, happiness and peace. One moment, I could have jumped around, singing “It's today, it's today!” and the next I could have curled up in bed and pulled the covers over my head, wishing I'd practised more. There were also moments of genuine calmness and peace and I fostered that state by practising mindfulness regularly throughout the day. I took a bath and read my favourite magazine. I put my pyjamas back on after lunch and snuggled on the couch. I thoughtfully put on some of my favourite jewellery from Violet Gray, sprayed myself with Combardis Elixirs aromatic body mist (Highest Potential and Free the Spirit) and used a meditate app a few times.

Breathe. Notice a colour. Notice a sound. Notice my body. Breathe.

Before I knew it, my beautiful friend, Alyse, was at my door, ready to accompany me to the event. I grabbed my bag, cue cards, a spare pair of shoes and off we went.

To read part two of Mindfulness, Public Speaking and a Life-Changing Event, click here.