Own It

In seventh grade, I tried out for the cheerleading squad. If anyone was born to be a cheerleader, she is not me. Halfway through a cheer, maybe the solo cheer or maybe during a group cheer, I ran off from the center and sat down against the wall.

I was still suprised to see that I had not made the cut for second round.

It was later in junior high and high school that I learned to keep going. If you make a mistake in a music ensemble, you find the count and come back in. It may just be you on your oboe and the pianist accompanying you, but you find your spot and jump back in.

The lesson on speech team was similar. Take a deep breath, repeat the sentence and move on.

Even in chemistry. If you get stuck, you declare yourself unstuck and move forward. If I couldn’t remember how to figure out a constant or got hung up on something, I would simply say “Assuming X = 23,000, I will move forward with the solution.” The answer would be wrong, but the work would be right.

No apologies, no running off the stage, you just keep going and do the best you can.

Then after the performance, I learned to stay put. The applause were for me and my performance. I needed to own it. Make eye contact with the audience members you can see, let the host come to you, own the performance. It has served me as I’ve done stand-up comedy, improvised presentations, MCing events and presenting to clients.

I own the presentation. I own the feedback. That is for me.

And it is for you. I bring this up, because during the community keynote at BlogHer, the men and women ran off the stage at the end of their readings. Next year, I hope Eden tells them to wait at the podium for her to arrive. To soak up that moment of applause. To look into the room of fellow bloggers and take the applause. Comments are great, but nothing compares to the feeling of a wave of support coming at you in person.

And it is for you. The public speaker. The stand-up comic. The performer. The MC. The presenter. Own your performance and accept the applause.

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