I make it look easy… but what you don’t know…..is that….. my palms are sweating, knees weak, arms are heavy…
No, there’s no vomit on my sweater already – or Mom’s spaghetti – I’m nervous, but on the surface I look calm and ready to drop BOMBS!
Lol, okay, I’ll stop but that’s actually how I felt about 5 minutes before I presented my story on Critical Illness insurance to a room full of my colleagues and peers in Edmonton last week.
I had been excited for this day and this opportunity since that tiny baby seed was planted in October but it was finally here and I was feelin’ shook. I had already sat through some insurance updates and a session on estate planning so it was the end of the day and the room was rowdy & restless.
There was no podium – which meant nothing to hide behind.
No microphone – so I was going to have to speak clearly and loudly.
But I had a job ahead of me and if there’s one thing you should know about me:
I don’t do anything to be simply mediocre…
Rewind to October when I attended a conference in Calgary with the advisory team from Neil & Associates. Every fall, we all make the trek to an event together so we can do some learning and network with other professionals. It’s always an awesome time and pretty pedal to the metal! Sometimes, it’s SUCH a fun time that the night doesn’t end until 3:00 am, after you’ve spent hours drinking Soju and singing your lungs out at karaoke! Who knew insurance advisors could be so much fun?
But then, believe it or not, like the professionals we are, we get it together to attend the conference that we came for and we show up looking glam and engaged for 8:30 am. Full. BOSS.
Let’s be honest here though – does that facade last long?
Lol – NOPE. Insurance conferences are a tricky thing because I am being serious when I say that they can be totally interesting and incredibly empowering & insightful. However, there is a flip side to the coin in that if they don’t grab you and keep your attention all day, concepts like taxation, estate planning and investments can actually make you physically ill. I’m not kidding. It’s a very, very, very fine line.
Fast-forward to that night after the conference in Calgary and a bunch of us went out to the Flames game at the Saddle Dome. I’m a good Canadian girl so I love hockey but I also don’t really have much for opinions on who wins or loses. So naturally, I spent the night hanging at the bar and mingling with some of the insurance reps that I hadn’t had a chance to get to know yet. I had great chats with all of them but one stood out in particular and it went a little something like this:
Rep – “Lynsey, what did you think of the conference today?”
Me – “To be honest, I thought it lacked passion. Our industry can be so dry and I think it’s important to sometimes go back to WHY we do this and what it means to people. Let’s talk about sales strategies and how powerful testimonials are in our industry.”
Rep – “Want to tell your story about Critical Illness insurance and your daughter at our next conference?”
Me – “Yep.”
***insert fist bump here***
I never hesitated. Not even for a second. When that opportunity presented itself to me, I jumped on it!
When the universe is speaking to you – listen Linda!
So that’s where it all began and that’s how I was invited to speak at my first insurance conference. This has been a goal of mine since I entered the industry and while I never felt quite ready before, I knew I had enough experience and expertise behind me to take this on confidently now. Once the official invite went out, I got to work on my presentation and thoughtfully laid out my story and what I wanted to say. Once I had the content and design laid out, I practiced. Then I practiced again. And then I practiced again and again. In all honesty, I went through this 40 minute presentation, minute by minute, at least 4 times.
So yeah, I might make public speaking look easy, but know this:
I take it very seriously and I’m fully aware of the fact that I have an ability in that moment to make either a positive or negative impression.
Ladies, I practiced so hard that I even paced my kitchen one afternoon in sweatpants and the heels I wore for my presentation so I’d be used to them.
Pro tip: when you’re practicing, re-create the anticipated scene. Stand up, stand tall, work the stage or the room, speak loudly, smile lots and envision yourself in the moment.
True professionals know that it’s not about making it look effortless, it’s about being polished and precise.
So yeah, I was nervous, but I knew I was ready. I had gotten a good sleep the night before, had a good breakfast, made sure I felt fresh, fabulous and looked amazing. Really, I’d given myself the best shot for success in this mission and although the shakes were settling in, I knew I had earned the right to be there and I was excited!
After I was introduced, I took the front of the room and girl-friends, I got to work!
As I began telling my story, this room that had previously been dominated by boisterous men, immediately settled down and you could hear a pin drop as I weaved through the details of events that happened the year I turned 30. I was able to inject an energy and a passion into my presentation that our industry just doesn’t see enough and every person I locked eyes with was totally and thoroughly engaged! It felt AMAZING!
And the feedback was phenomenal!
I spent the next half hour afterwards in conversation with other advisors about their own passion for our industry or about their experiences with Critical Illness coverage. I received emails and Facebook messages about how they enjoyed my presentation and that night at yet another hockey game, I was showered with compliments about what a breath of fresh air I am for our industry. Sales can sometimes be a thankless job and so when you have the opportunity to stand out and shine, I have to say, it feels really, really good!
It was an absolute whirl wind of a day but it’s the kind of day that I’m striving for more of in 2020. I loved the rush of going from feeling challenged and scared to riding a high of success and accomplishment to letting my hair down and just having FUN! That’s pretty much my ideal work day right there…..
So to everyone who sent well-wishes leading up to and after that conference, THANK YOU! I am so grateful to have the most amazing tribe of humans who support me in life and I knew I was going to slay that presentation because I knew how many people believed in me. I totally fed off your love and it absolutely made me braver and stronger that day.
Moral of the story:
I set a goal for myself. It scared me but I did it anyway and I crushed it. Stay slayin’ ladies and let’s make 2020 a year for the history books!
And just so you’ll have this stuck in your head for the rest of the day:
You better lose yourself!
In the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go! You only get ONE shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!
All my love,