Dear readers,

Public speaking is the number-one fear in North America. But aside from the fear or anxiety that it generates, lecturing in front of an audience is also extremely humbling.

It’s not just the fact that all those eyes are focused solely on you right now. And it’s not only that they are judging you, soundlessly pronouncing verdicts in their minds about every word that you utter and how you do so. And it doesn’t even necessarily depend on how large your group of participants will be.

The other day I had a fight with my husband—one of those fights that married couples tend to have. That night, I was scheduled to lecture about the secrets of successful relationships. As my husband drove me to my destination (two hours away), and we sat in argumentative silence (as only married couples know how to do), I was in no mood to lecture at a lectern about relationships.

The other month, I was flying out to speak about finding greater meaning in life. It had been a wearying week, with aggravating people (as only my colleagues can be) and issues at work bombarding me nonstop. As I groggily dragged myself to catch my 6 AM flight, knowing it would be a jam-packed day, I felt anything but inspirational. I wanted to be anywhere but in front of a crowd speaking about bringing more inspiration into our lives.

And as I caught myself in both situations, focused on how I was feeling—or more correctly, not feeling—it suddenly dawned on me that this was not about me at all.

There were people who had worked really hard to organize and advertise these events. There were attendees who were at all walks and stages of their lives who were carving time in their schedules to attend because they needed to feel strengthened, to be inspired, to be encouraged, to learn and to grow.

So why, I reprimanded myself, was I thinking about myself or how I was feeling? This wasn’t about me or my moods at all. I was simply the medium, to present the knowledge that I had been blessed to learn. I was to play my role, do my best, but the success of the program, just as how receptive my audiences would be to these teachings, was really not in my hands at all. There was a bigger Programmer orchestrating it all.

And as I sat in our car thinking that, and as I sat on my flight realizing that, my huge anxieties and stresses somehow became a little smaller. Suddenly my muscles weren’t so taut, my mood was no longer so bleak, and even my natural nervousness before a speech seemed to almost dissipate.

Because, after all, it wasn’t about me at all.

And maybe too, I realized, it is this understanding that is the real secret behind finding greater success in our lives or in our relationships.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW