I sat beside our agency COO, drinking water and eating a banana on the first day of Indie Beauty Expo LA. I’d been told by my coach that eating a banana before presenting could help calm your nerves but as far as I could tell, it wasn’t working.
I hadn’t even set foot on stage yet and I was sick to my stomach. I wanted to go hide in a stairwell. What if I didn’t connect with people? What if my message fell flat?
At our booth adjacent to the Uplink Live stage, I could see people gathering in their chairs, drawn in by the title and blurb they’d seen in a list of panels and presentations sent out in marketing emails and posted around the show floor of IBE.
I was afraid because this was my first time on stage. But I wasn’t just discussing the logistics of social media; I talked about a very difficult time in my life, and a period of time that changed the trajectory of my story. On top of that, I was talking about three projects very dear to me. Projects I’d watched grow, and put a lot of heart into. What was making me so nervous was my vulnerability at being authentic. And so my presentation came full circle. A speech on authenticity and my authentic self being genuinely fearful of the vulnerability I was about to embrace.
In a way it reminded me of skydiving. Of that jump. That moment when I stood in the door of the plane, my stomach feeling like a 30 pound stone, and the instructor essentially shoving me out the door on “3!”.
One. Two. Three. The emcee introduced me. My title slide, How to Translate Your Purpose into Conversions, loomed behind me on the screen. I looked out at the fifty faces in front of me, took a deep breath, and jumped.
“How many of you have woken up in the middle of the night, in a panic over something that might go wrong with your business?”
Hands shot up. A few super-stressed founders chuckled.
“Raise your hand if this happens to you once a month? Once a week?”
I smirked as hands popped up throughout the little crowd, and I walked them through a thought exercise imagining a world in which they no longer panicked in their beds at night.
My leg was trembling, but my voice wasn’t. I’d rehearsed these words so many times they flowed out of me. I hoped no one could see my right leg shaking uncontrollably as I tried to feign comfort, ease and confidence on the stage. I know what I’m talking about, I reminded myself.
Base Beauty is a creative agency hyper-focused on beauty and wellness. As the Director of Social Media, I’m hyper-focused on helping our clients express themselves authentically through their marketing and social media, so they can sleep better at night knowing their messages are attracting the kinds of people they’re meant to do business with. We are an omni-channel branding agency, creating everything the consumer sees and touches. We have clients of all different sizes, budgets and marketing mixes – and I dive into these stories everyday.
Twenty minutes later, I took a deep breath and delivered my closing line.
Leaving your comfort zone, whether that’s the inside of an airplane, the safety of your tradeshow booth, or the filter of an instagram photo, is the first step on the way to authenticity. And, I believe, authenticity is the road sign pointing in the direction of success.
If you want to learn more about our values at Base Beauty and how we help our clients grow their business in an authentic way, send Aleni an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.