Nourishing Erica – Demo Redemption!
Years ago when I was still baking full time, I did a chocolate making demonstration for the residents of a luxury condominium.
I was developing a line of chocolate creations and it was good timing to get my name out there for future business prospects. I was confident in my chocolate making skills and it’s not hard to go on about the wonders of chocolate.
I prepared a great speech to accompany the demo and beforehand, I did not one but three rehearsals where I actually made the truffles while speaking. The whole thing felt like a no brainer. In college, I had occasions to get up in front of the class or at other events to demo products; I had even taken a public speaking class that I aced.
Feeling fully prepared, I began the presentation and got about five minutes in before I was halted.
The words I wanted to say were formed and ready to be spoken, however, I couldn’t get my mouth to open in order to utter them. I continued making the truffles staring down completely mute. The silence had gone on for an obvious amount of time so I forced sound to come out. I looked up at the audience and mumbled, “I am really blowing this, aren’t I?” It was painfully embarrassing.
In retrospect, I’m sure no one noticed I was having trouble but I called myself out anyway. People tried to be kind and some “no, no, it’s ok,” were heard. I eventually got back to my prepared lecture but it was never the same after that. I lost my confidence which killed my excitement and I bet no one was inspired to go home and make a truffle that day (or ever for that matter!). Even though I felt capable of the task, I should have allowed myself to explore the possibilities of things that could go wrong. I also recognized that most of the time I have to create smaller steps for myself before making a big leap in a new situation.
I never sought out another chance to give the demo thing a second try. I would only use it as a reference before engaging in new things by asking myself, “is this like the chocolate demo?”
Last week, Abra gave a cooking demonstration that she invited me to assist with.Finally, after all these years I was being given the ability to take a small step in the process. Flattered to be asked, I couldn’t pass this up. There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to help and work alongside her. There was no pressure this time around, I only had to show up and take direction. This made it different from the chocolate demo right away.
These days I feel so great about my physical presentation that just having to show up would certainly be a breeze. Based on Abra’s color description of the room, I even picked a shirt to match accordingly!
I have to admit that before we began, I detected a slight nervousness from her that I had never seen before. She has done many events like this in the past so I never feared that she was in for her own chocolate demo moment. Actually, seeing her like that made her more human and I respected her vulnerability.
Once we got started, Abra assumed her regular assertive and self-assured persona. It was such a pleasure to watch her in action as I prepared summer rolls to share with the guests. She explained her procedure for prepping produce for the week and without any forethought, I chimed right in to share my own experience. There were a few other times during the event that I felt perfectly comfortable speaking to the crowd. The whole thing was a quite a success and I was so glad that I got to participate. Later it occurred to me that I wasn’t actually summoned to speak and I feared that Abra would have felt like I intruded on her stage. During our debriefing the next day, I raised my concern. To my delight, she was thrilled that I spoke. She did not want to put me on the spot in advance by suggesting that I should also contribute verbally but was beaming with pride every time I opened my mouth.
I am lucky to have such an encouraging support system and I know not everyone is able to find that. However, it took more than finding “the right” people. I have to be able to ask for what I want and need. They must be aware of my necessity to take small steps and to focus on the journey rather than the destination. I owe it to myself to be my own advocate in creating the ideal environment for growth (emotionally not physically!) Finding a work-out buddy, counselor, etc can only provide as much support as you are willing to accept and that support is only as personally meaningful as you demand for it to be.
I have come to accept that part of my weight loss journey involves giving back to the community. Following Abra’s example, I look forward to more chances to share my experience through cooking, writing and anything else that is in store for me. It is important to me to “pay it forward” and do service. The universe has been very kind to me lately.
During quiet moments, I give thanks and ask that everyone I love could be graced with the blessings I have received.
NOTE: special thanks to Michael Terwindt for taking these awesome pictures during the class!