I recently spoke to a group of High School students.
About my career.
About the choices I made in high school;
the reasons for my decisions;
the consequences, good and bad.
Speaking to a room full of kids is a humbling endeavor.
They are usually polite, but at the same time, they’re not shy about telling you when they’re bored.
But this was a good day.
This group was attentive and engaged.
I was getting plenty of positive feedback in the way of visual cues and body language.
Kids were making eye contact, nodding their heads, asking questions, smiling, etc.
But there was this one dude who kept yawning.
He wasn’t making noise or being obnoxious.
He was in no way disruptive, but his yawns were numerous and very noticeable.
I tried not to dwell on his yawns – but still – thoughts of self doubt crept in.
“What the hell are you doing up here”
“They don’t care about your story”
But then other thoughts came in.
I am a successful man.
I am man of passion & perseverance.
I have stamina.
I have “Grit”.
(Check out this great Ted talk about Grit)
I will not be defeated by a yawning snowflake!
So – with each yawn – I steeled myself to continue…
…with a reminder to not show weakness.
At the end of my talks, I give out comment/feedback cards to the audience.
The cards give participants an option to anonymously write any comments, questions, or critiques they may have.
The feedback helps me learn how to make my presentation stronger.
I’m really glad I do this, especially on that day, because “Yawn-boy” decided to fill out a card.
I definitely enjoyed hearing you speak today, still curious about your youtube video and I will probably end up looking it up.
P. S. I was yawning but not because of boredom or anything you did wrong but because I stay up too late & swim at 5:30 before school! 🙂
My perception was not his reality.
Nevertheless, while I was there in front of that class, all of my training, all of my experience speaking and performing in public, didn’t prevent negative thoughts from occurring.
I truly understand when a person is paralyzed by their insecurities.
I’ve had and continue to have those thoughts.
But I’m able to overcome them.
Does this mean that I have a magic solution?
Master self-doubt in 8 easy lessons with Bob.
Only $49.99 per lesson.
Well yes, in fact, I do have the secret.
I won’t even sell it to you for $49.99.
Just keep reading.
Before going any further, dear readers, let me first address any skeptics among you.
Maybe you’re thinking:
“You’re just one of those people who can do anything.”
“You’re just naturally able to function through fear.”
I beg to differ.
I was paralyzed by fear for 18 years.
I worked a day job in technology for 18 years, in part, because I didn’t believe that I was a good enough trumpet player to make a living as a full-time musician.
“Even still, you just took a safe path in technology first.”
“You’ve never really embarrassed yourself in a public performance.”
“You don’t know how it feels to humiliate yourself man.”
One time in High School Marching Band, I arrived at the football game only to realize that I forgot the suspenders that went with my uniform pants.
Instead of sitting out of the half-time show, I went onto the field.
The show must go on!
My pants fell down during the first song.
I got a standing ovation from the 2,000 or so people in the stands.
I got a gag award from my band-mates at our end of year banquet. (Memory pills)
I met people later in life who remembered the “band-geek” who lost his pants at the football game.
Yup – about as embarrassing as it gets.
Life went on.
There are other stories of failure, heartbreak, & humiliation that I could tell, but, can we just agree that I’ve been through some stuff?
Are you ready now to hear my secrets to overcoming fear?
Here we go…
Accept that the doubts will come.
They are a part of you.
There’s no hiding from them.
Trust your training.
Trust your preparation.
Trust your ability.
Once more unto the Breach.
If you fail…
If your fears overcome you…
Keep working at it.
Success is determined by your desire and your determination.
You will start being successful the moment you believe that you belong in that place at that moment.
Once I finally believed, I made the jump to full-time music.
I haven’t looked back.
“But Bob, what if I don’t believe?”
Persevere until you do.
There are no shortcuts.
Work on your skills.
Work on your Grit.
2017 marks the seventh year in my new full-time career.
It took 18 years of practice & gigging part-time before I finally believed.
And yes, sometimes your worst fears do come true along the way.
Sometimes the whole stadium will see you in your tighty-whiteys.
Learn from “Yawn-boy”.
He wasn’t yawning because he was bored.
It was the opposite.
He was fighting the urge to sleep.
He was interested.
He was determined to learn.
I bet he’s going to be successful in life.