“Avere corragio e mantenere una forte” (Have courage and keep strong) – Bridget DeLizio
I knew I was well-prepared for my upcoming presentation on Smarter Health Care Spending when I overheard my daughter giving my speech to her stuffed animals. My home office/guestroom is next to her bedroom and several times when practicing my speech she would walk in and ask “what’s ya doing mom”?
What was I doing? Getting so nervous that my heart is pounding and my mind is going blank. No, I say “Mommy is practicing to be confident, sweetie”.
I’ve practiced confidence before, definitely since the time our daughter arrived in this world and you moms know what I mean. Although I’m a nurse, I remember having the I Love Lucy eyes when they said I could take her home from the hospital. Times when I would encourage her to experience the fun and freedom of running barefooted through the grass holding a smile on my face instead of a first aid kit and an EpiPen. I answered “you go girl” when she asked if she could jump off the diving board knowing that she had never been in the deep end of the pool. And today, I give her the thumbs up sign as I inwardly flinch watching her deflect a roundhouse kick during karate class.
My practicing to be confident helps because I can see it does each time our daughter acts confident and unafraid to try new things. My practicing doesn’t get rid of the butterflies in my stomach, they’re still there, but practicing does make it easier to keep in mind what is really important. And that helps to not let their wings flap me around!
Sometimes we nurses know too much. Anticipation can cause stress especially when it comes to public speaking. There are a number of techniques that can assist you in overcoming the butterflies. From being confident in your preparation to deep breathing and vocal exercises. Reframing how you view the nervous flutters can let you operate from a feeling of strength instead of weakness. Think about the pathophysiology of the fight or flight response. The adrenals give the body a power surge and instead of allowing that surge to play havoc with your nervous system, channel it to give you the power to communicate your message.