But I'm incredibly grateful for the loss and the lessons it put before me. My confidence in speaking, even off the cuff with little preparation, had increased dramatically. With this confidence in tow I spoke at that contest half expecting to win just by showing up. So I didn't plan, prepare, or practice my speech. And it showed.
Three minutes in I know I was in trouble. I had zipped through the bits of info that I had strung together the few hours before the competition and was bound by the rules to continue on for at least 5 total minutes. Which meant I was thrust into BS mode. Not that it was horrible BS and it did relate to my speech. But the flow, feel, and continuity of the presentation was off. I could feel it while I was in the middle of it. Obviously the judges could as well.
Why is this such a timely lesson? Largely because within the next month I'm speaking at 2 different events with potential crowds in the several hundreds. The challenge that will present on my nerves is significant and will be calmed by doing three things....plan, prepare, and practice.
Are there losses in your life that actually became huge victories? Are there moments when it seemed like the worst had happened yet a silver lining quickly shown through?
Health is a constant reminder of this. Our bodies remind us every moment of the fine tuning and intricate details being carried out by having us feel hungry, tired, satisfied, energetic, joyful, stressed, sad, grateful and loved. Tapping into awareness of those messages has huge upside. Even a diagnosis can be positive.
Consider getting a diagnosis of heart disease. The initial shock and fear feel like a giant loss. But just on the other side of that is an opportunity, a lesson for growth. With knowledge in hand you change your diet and eat more fruits and veggies. TV marathons are transformed into evening walks and a habit of 3 sodas a day is converted into 3 liters of water.
Suddenly, even after a diagnosis of a "dis-ease", you feel better then you had in years! More energy and vibrancy, greater self-esteem and confidence, a heightened sense of the positive, and a zeal for living. It can be done. I've seen it happen on numerous occasions.
Our world teaches us that losses are embarrassing. We avoid competition to avoid negative feelings and emotions. While the intention may be hopeful, the outcome I feel is far less effective. Because losses contain lessons.
I got cocky with my speaking. My over-confidence exceeded my abilities and I paid the price. But the value of that lesson will carry far greater reward when sharing my message with a massive audience in need of healing than I needed it to for a single competition.