Allay your fears, be still, concentrate


Taking Up the Full Armour

Alex stepped out before the eager assembly, heart pounding, mouth open, chest tightening and throat seizing up. Alex stood there, speechless. Blinking hard and staring helplessly in disbelief, not understanding the source of the freezing up.

I’m sure we have been there at some point or the other – we had a presentation to deliver, a performance to do, or even a point to make in a meeting. However, when the ‘spotlight’ was shone on us, we froze. Or, as we started to deliver, the words just didn’t come out right. We delivered, but the audience, the meeting, the group were unimpressed and all we mustered to collect at the end of it was a patronising ‘thank you’, laboured applause, an agonising pause or even a barrage of loopholes in our delivery.

I have been there on a number of occasions – presentations at work and practical exams.

I am thankful because these experiences have helped me to improve and have highlighted my strengths (and weaknesses), so that my time beyond that experience was spent enhancing my strengths rather than on trying to do something that I wasn’t gifted at.

As time wore on, I started assembling the whole armour – the armour that would allow me to stand. It’s the armour that I don daily because I’ve recognised that you never know when you’ll be drawn ‘into battle’ and so, you walk prepared and fully equipped.

What does that armour look like?

  1. The Helmet: The helmet is the beginning of your triumph: what is the body of knowledge, skills and abilities that you possess. These are your talents. Without these, you can’t win. Without these, you are defeated.
  2. The Breastplate: This is the heart of the matter. What is the conviction that you take with you into your ‘performance’? If you lack conviction, nothing will make this experience right for you. Soon enough, your audience, the group and the meeting will see through the veneer if you are not fully convicted, if you are not passionate about what you’re delivering.
  3. The Belt: The belt holds the armour together. This will be the entire arsenal of methods (let’s say presentation tools – audio, visual, discussions, etc) that you use to interact with those on the receiving end of your delivery. The belt will prove the truth of your message. You know it’s said, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the tasting’? Well, the assembly or constitution of your belt will hold up your message and be the proof of your ‘pudding’.
  4. The Shoes: Beware of the traps that might be there, e.g. Murphy’s Law. If you go into your delivery mindful that Murphy’s Law lurks around and can be triggered even before you start your delivery, you will walk in peace. When you walk in peace, it puts you in a perfect position to wield the next piece of your armour.
  5. The Sword: The sword will be the spur-of-the-moment tricks/comebacks that you pull out based on inspiration. If you maintain your peace, the tactics that you need as Murphy’s Law kicks in come through to you so readily that others will be impressed at your resilience and your ability to rebound.
  6. The Shield: The shield is the final piece of the armour and it is the defence or protection that you automatically build up for yourself if you have all the other pieces of the armour properly donned.

Of course, as you begin to wear this armour, it’s uncomfortable, but as you become more experienced, it becomes your second skin. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing it all day, everyday…and that’s the key of this message to you – wear your full armour every day.

I hoped I’ve pointed you in the right direction and that this message will allow you to stand tall and strong as and when you need to.

Until the next time:

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