In my line of work, I am nearly always entering a scene in progress.
The players involved know each other well, and their roles and stories are well defined. The circumstances are what they are – record years, promising futures, struggling turnarounds. But there is, regardless, a tangible understanding and agreement of “what is” shared by most.
Enter me, the outsider. Fresh eyes. Unknown value. Speaker. Coach. Performer. Wild card. No one really knows who I am or, exactly, what I plan to do. I love that aspect of this job. There is a freedom, an independence, an implicit trust that whatever I choose to say or do will be just what was required to suit the circumstances. I am rarely questioned or second-guessed. But is that truly a product of trust? Or is it more, perhaps, that no one really understands what I do?
When you are, like me, a professional speaker, constantly encountering new clients, new industries, and new events, every day is like your first day on the job. You are the new kid on the block. The unknown quantity. The hope that whoever hired you got it right.
That perception, or simply that reality, carries with it considerable pressure and a burden of proof. You have to “bring it” and quickly demonstrate your value and expertise. Not only must you look the part, be on time, conduct yourself with confidence. But you better deliver the goods.
You don’t get a second chance at first impressions.
I like that pressure. It’s not for everybody. But, it’s where I thrive. Hire me. Then trust me. Let me do what I do best. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll be a hero.
How did you feel? Excited? Grateful? Hopeful? Ambitious? Hungry? Eager to prove you have what it takes? A bit nervous, perhaps?
Now a question:
Do you still feel that way about your job? About your life?
If you were to approach every morning with that same appetite to learn and desire to shine, how different would your daily experience be? And how would that affect your performance?
Pretend that today (or tomorrow, if you are reading this after hours) IS your first day on the job. Dress the part. Prepare to perform. Arrive early. Treat everyone with an extra measure of attention and respect. And, above all, be grateful for the job you have and the opportunity to contribute. Honor that opportunity by bringing your best effort, and don’t just do your job. Attack it. Expect great things – for yourself, your employer, and your company.
First day jitters? They’re good for you. Makes you feel alive. Engaged. Invested personally in what happens next. Take a deep breath, and congratulations!