My first acting teacher taught me the incredible importance of proper preparation before stepping into the life of a character and proper preparation started with being PRESENT. One exercise we did before the start of each class was called “Personal Inventory” which is done asking oneself “How do I feel?” and responding to that question based on our current emotions, including in our answers our distractions, personal commentary and self-awareness. We continued to repeat “I am…I want…I feel….” as we tuned into our present state. My teacher taught me to take a breath then repeat each statement, filling in the blanks.
To this day, I still use this exercise to focus on what’s happening right here, right now. It helps me eliminate tension and heighten my sensitivity, it centers me in the present moment and it helps ground me and boost my confidence. This simple little exercise has helped me to prepare myself before big moments more times than I can count.
For example, when I did my very first keynote, it was in front of a group of 500 women business executives from the top four companies in Cincinnati. Yes, this is the audience I chose for my first keynote ever.
You may be wondering how I got the gig. Well, I wasn’t selected as the keynote speaker, but Curtis, my nationally recognized, established, 15-year-professional speaker husband, was. I spoke during the first 15 minutes of his keynote time in order to give me experience and some exposure.
Just jump right in, right?!
I was scared to death! But as I stood, terrified, waiting backstage moments before I was introduced, I knew that I couldn’t focus on or worry about what might happen next. I couldn’t think about forgetting, failing, or not being funny or interesting. Instead, I had to trust my preparation and still myself.
I closed my eyes, rested my hand on my belly and started breathing, repeating to myself: “I am prepared, I want calm, I feel ready.” I kept breathing and repeating these words to myself until my name was called. Feeling confident and steady, I stepped into the next moment.
And guess what happened? They laughed, they nodded, they clapped—I did it!
Do you find yourself having trouble being present in each moment? When I am struggling with this, I use a helpful, visual reminder on my phone. Click here to download a wallpaper to remind you to BE HERE NOW.