I thought I’d die.
My palms were sweaty, my mind was blank, it was hard to breathe.
“You can do this, you can do this, you can do this,” I repeated, desperately trying to convince myself this had been a good idea even if all my instincts told me to run.
“No, you can’t. Get out right now.”
I heard my name. Too late. It was time to get on stage.
When I was walking up, I could barely hear the cheering audience. I couldn’t stop thinking about my last two gigs that hadn’t gone that well. It’s not that I had been performing worse than when I started few months ago. Far from it. I had improved like crazy.
It didn’t matter. This was different.
After the first gig I was over the moon, because I had pushed my limits and survived. But when I decided to continue doing stand up, surviving wasn’t enough. I had to change the game. I had to get very personal.
See, stand up is not about telling jokes. It’s about authenticity, self depreciation and making fun out of things that are wrong in this world. Things that hurt. There’s no hiding behind power point slides or fancy graphics like with business presentations.
You have to put yourself out there every time – your personality, your sense of humour, your stories.
It’s you on stage, exposed..
I had been trying new material and I knew I was not on my best performance the last few times. Still, hearing afterwards that my last set was “acceptable” hurt. I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough.
I was in tears.
When you’ve had one of the lows, it’s very tough to get back on stage. I had wanted to cancel and simply keep watching others perform. It would have been easy.
“Hey, I pushed my limits, I’ve proven myself already. It’s not like I wanted to be a professional stand up comedian anyway. Next challenge!”
But no – I couldn’t. Because I knew that “next time” very easily turns into “never.”
I took a deep breath, looked at the audience and smiled.
Read the full story: how to overcome fear of public speaking>