My presentation today went really well, I think. I didn't sleep well last night, not because I was nervous, but because I was afraid to sleep past the alarm... the speech was early in the morning and I had an hour and a half drive up there. The drive up was good for me. I played some good relaxing music and drove through the muted gray and mustard brown landscape of east-central Indiana. I swung back and forth between perfectly calm and slightly nervous. It wasn't until I got up to be introduced that my heart started jumping around in my throat. But I just smiled and started.

The first thing I did was gave everyone a handout that said this:

As people were reading it I saw them smile and a few people started commenting. I even heard a few giggles. So I knew I was onto something. I read the handout out loud and just said, "Man, I wish someone would have told me this when I first started out." I asked if anyone there was afraid to start their careers or didn't know what they were doing, really.

Everyone's hands raised. People nodded. I smiled, and started to say that I....

Then my computer crashed.

I couldn't get it back online, so someone had to come up and help me...which took a little longer than anticipated, and I got bumped to the third speaker (there were three speakers total, including me). So the second guy went, and it was a good thing because by then I'd done the initial hard part of introducing myself and starting. So when I got back up to finish my talk, I said, "Hi, me again." and just launched into it, without the nervousness I'd felt previously.

I talked about my experience starting out in advertising and how I had no idea what I was doing at first... I just listened, asked questions and learned as I went. I talked about how I started to think about illustration and then how I eventually took the leap and became an illustrator full-time. I showed examples. I went on tangents. I laughed.

And you know what? It was actually really fun. I felt good up there. I wasn't as comfortable as if I'd been in my pjs at home, but it wasn't that bad. I didn't shrivel up and die like I was afraid of! I did it!

Some of the students even sat with me after the speech and talked with me and asked more questions. Felt so good...

I think the thing that helped me the most was just reminding myself that everyone is human. And I think people, deep down, are good and compassionate beings. The audience I talked to today wanted to like me and wanted to know about my experience. They weren't angry or mean or hurtful... They were friendly and on my side. Knowing that calmed me down.

sigh... relief!

p.s. I plan on turning the content of my presentation into something for you to view too. I just need to reformat a little bit and write it all out. I hope you will enjoy it too. :)