I was invited by the folks at Delivering Happiness to present an "Inspire Talk" at their upcoming meeting in San Francisco. I am not a speaker. In fact, I have a deep fear of speaking in front of groups. But the talks are only about ten minutes each, so I thought it would be a great way to try stepping into my fear in the hopes of stepping through it.

I decided that the topic of my talk would be "Joy is a practice:10 simple ways to bring joy into everyday life." Since my days are pretty much dedicated to a variety of practices I have, I thought this would be an easy topic. (Ha. Can you hear the ominous music?)

I had a grand time creating the PowerPoint slides around all these ways that I have learned to practice joy in daily life. I just kept adding slides and enjoying the creative process. I sent it off on my deadline, Sunday evening.

And then … I realized that I had made the presentation way too long. Too many topics. There would be no way to make it at all personal — so it would be this laundry list. Ho hum. About as inspiring as a dead fish. Panic. Panic. Queasy. Fear. I imagined myself up there in front of everyone, sounding like a fool, trying to get through all those slides in the short amount of time.

I was filled with dread and anxiety about my talk about joy. (And, yes, the irony was lost on me while I was lost in monkey mind).

But thanks to a wonderful practice I have of consulting with my inner mentor, I realized what was happening. I saw that it was hilarious, actually, that I would be suffering so much over a talk about "joy" to be held at a "Delivering Happiness" event. Suddenly it was clear to me that all I needed to do was show up and tell the truth about my process of preparing for the presentation.

A rush of freedom flooded in. It was authentic joy from not having to BE something. Not having to present and be all tidy and pretty.

It could be funny. I could be real and just say that I was overly enthusiastic and created too many topics and I turned all my joy into terror. Kinda ironic. Kinda funny. I could just skip over a bunch of slides. Skip topics. So what. Be messy. I could put Cardboard Sherry and all her standards away and just show up as perfectly-flawed ME!

And you know what? In realizing that I could be honest and didn't have to present a perfect talk, I could share my REAL inspiration about joy — which is all about being with what is true in the moment and accepting myself and not having to live up to some manufactured ideal. (That practice hadn't even been on the list!)

The icing on the cake is that life gave me a story to share that was so much more interesting than a laundry list of ways that I practice joy in everyday life.


When I did my Inspire Talk last night, people were right there with me. It was real and true and I didn't have to "be" anything except present in the moment.

This was a true leap for me. And a very joyful one.