Master Your Message Blog

This Thing Called Confidence

Confidence is at the root of all presentations. Without confidence in yourself, the material you’re delivering and the tools you’re using, you’ll never be a great presenter.

Now, I can’t give you confidence. I can help with structure, performance, being persuasive … and all the other tools you need to be an powerful presenter, but confidence is something you have to do yourself.

Having suffered from Crohn’s Disease since I was 16, let me tell you, I’ve had lots of ups and downs in confidence, in financial balance and in general health. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot more ups than downs. Today, other than the usual effects of age, I’m in the best shape of my life. And I’m not too shabby in the confidence arena!

When I hit my biggest down point, my company was $250,000 in the hole, my favorite affliction (Crohn’s) was causing me major grief, and one day I returned to my newly purchased home during a hail storm to find a waterfall cascading down my central stairwell. I refer to it as “The Perfect Storm.” That was the low point.

A short time after that, I made the decision to shut down my office, lay off my 8 employees and move (just a low-end moving company and little ole me) all of the contents of the office to my home. I can remember sitting in my foyer, surrounded by boxes stretching throughout the main floor, stacked to the ceiling, thinking to myself, “Well, it can’t get any worse than this!”

The next morning, a sunny day in July, I woke up with a renewed energy ready to get to work. I had a meeting scheduled with the telephone installers to move my business telephone system to my home and when I went out to my driveway, I found that my car had been stolen.

OK, I was wrong. It could get worse. And this was it. THIS was the low point.

It didn’t end there … it’s a longer story … and a funny one, looking back. It’s always funnier looking back. I sometimes tell the whole, rather humorous saga on stage …

Psychologically, I was crushed. My self-esteem was at its lowest level ever.

The road back was a long one and a lonely one. Every day, I healed a little bit more.

I had just finished a radically new, experimental treatment for Crohn’s Disease with a drug called Remicade that had completely changed my outlook. However, my family doctor (with a background in sports medicine) had me hooked on oxycontin – a truly awful drug. I knew that it wasn’t doing me any good physically, but decided the first thing I had to work on was my brain.

To be continued.

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