There is something about speaking on stage that terrifies people. What can it be? In simple words, it is the thought, “I am not good enough.”
Surprisingly, that is not an isolated thought either. We have the classic example of Prophet Moses, a mighty leader. This man is familiar to modern audiences through the masterful portrayal of the character by Charlton Heston in the classic movie “The Ten Commandments” (directed by Cecil B. De Mille, 1956). Now Moses was called by God from being a shepherd to be a leader who would deliver the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. But the thought of speaking before the mighty Pharaoh of Egypt terrified him and he tried to evade the responsibility.
He voiced his inability in these words: “O, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:4 NIV Bible). God did not accept his excuse; but encouraged him saying, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say,” and sent him on his way. This incident happened nearly 3500 years ago. It shows that in times past too people who were great leaders too had their moments of self-doubt and stage fright.
So where lies the root of this problem? Causes are many and varied; but the need of the hour is to have a totally new perspective on lack of self-worth. The truth is that you need not give up because you having feelings of inadequacy. Attempt to speak in spite of it. If you wait till you overcome negative thoughts and feelings you’ll ever be waiting.
Even successful speakers and leaders suffer from feelings of uselessness and inadequacy occasionally. These are the pains associated with being gifted with plenty of talent. The antidote is courage. Courage is not absence of fear; but sticking to one’s purpose in spite of fear. The example of Moses is an encouragement because even God did not attempt to solve his problem but empowered him to do well in spite of his feelings of inadequacy.
So when you say, “I am not good enough,” the truth is you are not. Yet the greater truth is that you can speak well and succeed in spite of your feelings of inadequacy. Some great speeches are delivered when the speaker is trembling in weakness. In those moments he is far more identified with the audience than any time else because then he stands not above the audience but with them sharing the same fears and struggles that the common man is passing through. This bonding lends great credibility to the speaker and the audience accepts the sincerity of the speaker with arms wide open.
To conclude, the feeling of “I am not good enough,” can have its roots in one’s past mistakes or failures or even painful incidents. But more often feelings of inadequacy shows the restlessness of the spirit to charge ahead and win. It is the price one has to pay for being talented.