For that one moment, I stretched far into the future.
We stood in a circle, about fifteen people at the east corner of the room, holding opposition against a group twice the size of ours, standing far on the other side.
We had been asked by the leaders of the Oregon chapter of the National Speakers Association to divide ourselves – if we thought face-to-face communication was more powerful, we were to go one side of the room, and if we thought digital communication and social media to be more powerful, go to the other side.
Just in case the democratic vote of our position was not enough to decide the matter for us, each side also had to make a list of five arguments in support of their position.
The other side, the bigger side, the winning side, cheered on their reasons for supporting face-to-face communication as superior, longer lasting, and more effective. The leader of their group declared her stance with a passion and volume that was contagious to everyone in the room.
Our side cobbled together a few ideas on a notepad, which were delivered with a fluster.
The microphones were passed around, for others to offer an argument for or against each side, and some time was also given to the group holding fort in the middle of the room, believing both methods to have power.
And then I took the microphone, and I championed my cause.
“You may have more people on your side of the room,” I said, “and that’s great. But this moment in time, right here – we can blog about it.” I looked around to all of the other live-tweeters in the room, standing by my side. “We can write our stories about this moment, and we can put it all online for the whole world to see. And this story, about this moment, will be preserved there for all time. Future generations can participate in this moment, and we can share this moment with anyone across the world and into the future, and you have, what, thirty people?”
The room burst into applause, and we disbanded into the next scheduled event of the day. It was a great transition.
For the rest of the conference, people I didn’t know came up to me to compliment my stage presence. This was an organization whose members study the phenomenon of presence and attention professionally, and it’s a bit more rewarding when praise comes from students and practitioners of the craft of performance, a gratification beyond the praise of an ordinary audience.
For that moment, the very moment that I am (in the medium of this blog post) sending into the future, I was electrifying.
I had captivated everyone’s attention.
And I liked it.
Having that moment, in control of a crowd, was the first time I had been in front of an audience in a long time. I was fortunate enough to spend a large part of my youth in the theater, and since it was the craft I was apprenticed in, I have always felt at home on the stage.
Talking and networking with professional speakers for the day, I gave serious emotional attention to the idea of performing and public speaking.
Using my Core Desired Feelings (the product of my ongoing work with the Desire Map) I acknowledged that the stage is a place where I can feel how I want to feel:
Brilliant. Expansive. Intuitive. Safe.
Within days of this acknowledgement, I was invited in front of another crowd.
This is something I love about how the Universe works; once you get clear on what you want from it, then your desires manifest with the rushing speed of clarity.
New Seasons Market, the “friendliest store in town,” asked me to come to the store-wide meeting for the Arbor Lodge store. That’s where my family and I have been shopping since we started having babies.
Even while we were living in Costa Rica, we would call the Arbor Lodge wellness department and make quarterly orders for our supplements. When we came back to Portland, coming into New Seasons was a grand reunion with many old friends.
Getting to speak in front of a hundred-odd people on a Wednesday morning wasn’t the easiest crowd; I got lost on the way to the venue, and it was freezing cold from the upcoming snowstorm – but I made it, and I was introduced onstage mere minutes after entering.
I spoke to a room full of friends, to thank them for being awesome. I got to tell stories about shopping for our weekly Feria groceries in Costa Rica, and how we had this 2-hour window on Thursday mornings before the six organic growers would sell out of food. If we didn’t get our grocery shopping done by 9 am on Thursday, there was no organic food that week.
Contrasting that to New Seasons, and being surrounded by all that abundance, and all those friendly people – I was able to paint the picture, tell the story, make an emotional connection, and get rewarded with applause.
Just a few minutes with a microphone always reminds me – I belong on the stage.
I’m not sure how this is going to develop, especially since I’m actively on the job search for the next phase of my career. Luckily, when I made my Video Resume Cover Letter, I left the opportunity for performing wide open when I described what I was looking for:
Wherever I go next, I hope I get to spend some time in the spotlight. In a lifetime of roving gypsy adventures, the stage is where I feel the most at home.