Two weeks ago, I was in Edmonton speaking at a health conference. It went went very sour, very fast. Fear of this type of response keeps me awake at night. And then my nightmare – my worse case scenario – actually came to life.
I immediately stopped accepting speaking opportunities. But I had a problem: I had two pre-booked engagements, and I public speak a lot in my work at Sunny Hill Health Centre with BC Children’s Hospital. Well, damn, my avoidance strategy wasn’t going to work.
I considered cancelling my next engagement. But the program was already printed, and I also considered that I might just be being a big baby.
So the days have ticked by and I’ve been licking my wounds. I sent letters to the power that be who lead Emergency and Patient Engagement Departments in Alberta. That made me feel better. Some people didn’t bother to respond, but I did get a nice phone call from the Patient Care Manager at the University of Alberta Hospitals. So that helped. The organizers sent word that despite my detractors, my evaluations from my talk had over 90% satisfaction rate.
So I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and to carry on.
Tomorrow’s presentation is at the Canadian Rehabilitation Nurses Association national conference. Oddly, it is back in Edmonton, and even more oddly, it is in the exact same hotel as my disastrous engagement. I’ve decided to wear the exact same dress. I’m going to hold my head high and march up to that podium and deliver my message – which is called ‘The Warm Blankets’ – an ode to nurses. I’ve scoured my notes for anything controversial – I think I’m safe. I am going to talk about love, compassion, and how nurses can put the humanity back into health care.
I don’t want to become afraid of public speaking because of what happened two weeks ago. I don’t want one negative experience to define or muzzle me. So I’m reluctantly climbing back up on that horse. I don’t mind telling you that I’m really nervous. But once the worst thing you could ever imagine happens, it is a bit of a relief to be on the other side of it. Wish me luck my friends.