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Do you ever have those occasions where you are nervous? Not the “kind-of” nervous feeling
but the “totally-skittish-I-can’t-settle-myself-down” nervous feeling? I had one of those recently,
right before giving one of the most important speeches in my life.

I was asked to officiate a wedding for two really special people in my life. The couple wanted to
have a wedding and reception that was totally authentic to them; they were open minded to
rethink every aspect of the ceremony. By asking me to work with them to plan the wedding
ceremony, I knew I had to come up with something that was true to their relationship while also
incorporating my style and approach to telling their story. This was a tall task.

I spent months working with them to learn about those stories that got them to this point of
wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. I concluded that my role in the wedding
ceremony was to be the curator and narrator of their stories – this would be a fun way to educate
all the guests on why we were together and a great reminder to the bride and groom on the
foundation of their relationship. After managing through daily anxiety and rewrites, I had my
opening 10-minute speech memorized with all the necessary intonations and pause points.

About three hours before the actual ceremony started, family and close friends started to arrive
at the venue. They all looked amazing in their formal dress and everyone seemed upbeat and
excited for the event. It was at this moment that I experienced a near panic attack. Was I truly
ready? Was I going to blow it for the couple? What happens when the unexpected happens?
This event was supposed to be special and fun, and I was getting serious and clamming up
really quick. At that moment, I carried so much dread that I couldn’t even manage a fake smile.
I was not me.

A strange thing then occurred that baffles me to this day. In the lobby of the hotel where I was
nervously pacing in my suit, a large group of costumed people converged on the hotel bar. It
was fairly clear that they were continuing on a pub crawl. I was stunned with the contrast I was
experiencing – I was fretting about hitting perfection in my speech while watching a guy dressed
as a hot dog almost drunkenly fall over the “bubble bath lady” covered in balloons. The volume
level went up three decibels as everyone was cackling and yelling over everyone else. I
couldn’t help but to laugh out loud – this was insane!

Whatever, or whoever, caused these events to converge, it was exactly what I needed at that
moment. I immediately snapped into what was important – do my best, have fun, be true to who
I am, and let the rest take care of itself. If my speech doesn’t resonate with the audience, so be
it. But it’s the story that I want to tell. Once I regained my confidence, I realized that I had no
reason to be nervous in telling the story. And I wasn’t.

Hire Thought-Interviewing is about telling stories that you have developed and refined to share with others.
Most self-aware and conscientious individuals may get nervous prior to sharing those stories.

Self-doubt creeps in and questions of “am I good enough” or “will this story resonate” dominate
your brainwaves. We all realize that too much nervousness can portray you in a inauthentic
way, so the goal is to reduce (not eliminate) anxiety before interviews. My two suggestions that seem to help reduce nervousness are 1) be highly prepared when going into the interviews and 2) find that person in your life who puts you at ease and who you find it very easy to share your thoughts and ideas – in your interview, visualize that you are interacting with this person. I hope these two strategies get you calibrated for an actual interview.

If you struggle to find calmness right before an interview, feel free to use this quick approach
that has worked for me numerous times – just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and envision
a lady dressed as a bubble bath yelling at the top of her lungs “you are such a weiner!”

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