So I’ve been somewhat quite here the last few weeks on the blog. I’ve put everything including this blog on the back burner for two weeks in order to focus all my nervous energy toward the Business Plan Competition I entered. Today was the first round of the competition. Lucky for me, I was one of the first to pitch to my panel of judges. As I write this first paragraph I have yet to know if I survived and made it to the finals, which will be on May 3rd.
I’m sitting here on the CSU Monterey Bay campus waiting till 1:30pm for the announcement.
I had written about how nervous I can get here. For this... my nervousness started 8 days prior to the competition day. With a ball of fuzzy in my chest. I spent most of my time reading over my 5 minute pitch and trying to get it memorized. I would wake up in the morning feeling nervous and at times during the days and when I would go to sleep at night. The big “ugh” was when I started breaking out in the worst pimple fest in over 10 years. I even popped one this morning. The day before the competition (yesterday) I felt ok. I finished getting the car ready (gas), quarters (parking), and went to Target and Kohl’s and bought new clothes for the pitch. I got really happy at Target when I tried on the pants and they fit and they were a size 6!! I ran through the pitch a lot that day and evening. I couldn’t sleep however. But I knew that would happen. I maybe got 3 hours of shut-eye.
I got there 45 minutes early. I signed in at 9:30. I was scheduled to pitch at 10:30. They called me at 10:05 and said will you be ready at 10:15? Uh, ok. They were running ahead of schedule. I was actually done and out by 10:30. I got really nervous just before I walked in the room. There were four judges, all male. I had met one of them earlier during a workshop for this competition. I stumbled a bit and skipped a bit, but I think I got my points across and got some head nodding and raised eyebrows and even some smiles out of those dudes. I felt good about how it turned out. No matter if I make it to the next round, it was good to go through the experience.
During the week leading up to this, I kept thinking about how people can get up and do this all the time. And how performers can do what they do in front of an audience. It certainly isn’t in my wheelhouse. I’m actually surprised I haven’t completely broke down and gone into full panic attack mode. There has only been one time in my life that I was ever unable to perform. And it was when I was maybe 14 and was to play the piano for the church offertory. The previous time I did the offertory, I did horribly but trudged through it and finished. The Pastor had stopped me from leaving the platform after and said to me and everyone in attendance that he was proud of me for finishing that and asked me to replay that particular song the next time I was up in the offertory rotation. By then I was crying and just nodded my head. I just wanted to disappear. I went back and practiced and a few months later I was up in the rotation. During the service I was getting really nervous and actually started shaking and crying. Bless my mother, she asked if I wanted to NOT do the offertory and I nodded. She got up and told my piano teacher who helped lead the music for the church that I wasn’t going to do it. She then let me leave and go home.
I’ve seen people go into full on panic attack and it isn’t pretty. I came to realize yesterday that I can do this. I won’t panic. And that I can do anything I put my mind to. I may not do it well, but I can do it! Just look at this.
When I went to New Zealand in 2009, I signed up with two other REI trekkers to do the Canyon Swing. I think that was the most nerve racking thing I have ever done previously or since, including today! Hopefully you can see the video. If you watch closely and listen closely you can see my legs shaking and my voice quiver. They were not going to push me off the edge. I was going to have to do it. I lingered for quite a bit. I thought about backing out while I was standing there. But I did it. I made myself go over the edge. And what an experience it was. Total fear and then total exuberance and bliss. Pure adrenaline. It was an amazing experience.
So if I can get myself to go over a cliff while in total fear of my life, I can certainly give a five minute pitch. And that realization is what got me through yesterday, last night, and today. I still don’t know if I made it through to the next round of the competition, but man, I am extremely happy right now.
*I didn’t make it to the finals. I was bummed. I really wanted to make it. But I understand that even though I can get up and pitch, doesn’t mean I am good at it. I know it is not a strong suit of mine. I am waiting on feedback from one of the judges. I am curious as to if I didn’t get to go on because of how I presented or the actual content of what I said. I’ll let you all know, when I do.
Again, thank you to all of you who prayed, thought of me, sent me texts, gave me words of encouragement, sent good vibes, etc. Even though I was standing alone up there, you were all with me. So thank you. Truly.