This past weekend I attended the Advanced Speakers Academy in Kelowna, presented by the incredible Hugh Culver and boy did I get my money’s worth! When I was asked to go with my cousin, Mo (a kickass keynote speaker and community engagement rock star), I definitely felt in over my head, to say the least. The part that made me laugh was the literal fact that I was daring myself to suck – in front of a dozen seasoned speakers and doubted my performing experience from high school was worth mentioning… *gulp.

I have no idea what's coming..I had no idea what to expect and designed an alliance with myself to approach the two days as an open-eyed learner – no faking it till I made it – that I’d be open and honest about my newbie status and would drink in the experience and wisdom I was about to receive. Doing this made it a WHOLE lot easier to walk through those doors.

Immediately after introducing myself to the other attendees I felt this reassuring sense of how we are all just people wanting to spread our messages to a bigger audience and make an impact on the world. My nerves began to calm a little bit more. Let’s do this.

Hugh dove in with his infectious enthusiasm, humour and ridonkulous experience on the subject and I was fascinated by the world of professional speaking. With every story he told there were invaluable how to’s, tips, tricks and helpful templates and systems to build a solid, organized business as a speaker and facilitator. He consistently delivered ‘one-two punch’ after another. I couldn’t stop writing and was glued to his every word.

And then, it was time for us to give it a go… on video. Faaack.

As we were handed random numbers I quickly ducked out to use the ladies room and gather myself. It was as if my heart was trying to beat its way out of my chest. When I returned I discovered I was number 11 out of 12… SWEET! And then found out he was going in REVERSE! Son of a…! My head was spinning and as much as I’d tried to rehearse my 3 minute story, it felt as though it was slipping away, one sentence at a time… oh crap.

The first speaker began and she was incredible – clear, powerful, articulate and smooth…. uuggh. (AM I REALLY GOING TO DO THIS?!!) Let’s just say the universe decided to hit fast forward and it was my turn. So up I got with a huge smile on my face and a nervously giddy came over me as if the sucking had already happened. Something inside just said “Well, you’re here now lady… just LET GO and enjoy the ride!”

I told the story about how I chose my theme this year of “Daring to Suck” – that this past year was one of huge transformation for me as I embraced my passion to become a life/business coach and help others make BIG things happen.

I relived the moment I first heard this phrase during one of my training workshops, when our instructors noticed we were trying to make the coaching look “pretty”. I remember she stopped the exercise and said “Don’t be afraid to get messy. Your messy could be exactly what your client NEEDS to have a breakthrough. Swing wide, take chances, look foolish for THEIR sake! The worst thing to come from it with be an incredible amount of learning – for both of you! I DARE YOU TO SUCK! ”

And there it was.

I immediately began to imagine the impact on a life lived in this perspective. What if we all dared to suck at something that we really wanted to try (in spite of the fear we had)? Knowing that yes, we might completely flop and look like an idiot but amidst the embarrassment, there is something so rich and juicy about living this way. That it‘s worth it, even if you only got a great story out of it. To live daringly. I fell in LOVE with this concept.

So in my Aha moment, I blurted out “Alright, I need that printed on a t-shirt!”

… and as the words hung in the air, in front of my 40 fellow coaches in training, the picture of me in this shirt came to mind, walking around in the world (and heads up, I’m a well-endowed, breastfeeding momma at this point). And then I immediately wished I had never said it, retracting “Never mind, that’s a terrible idea… terrible.”

I believe my next move was to put my face in my hands, shaking my head from side to side, DYING! The image had obviously made its way around the room everyone burst out laughing around me. And even though I was horrified that I disrupted things to this level, I experienced what it was like in real-time to actually suck… and there was something pretty fantastic about it.

Soon my three minutes in front of Hugh and the group was over and there I was, living the dream and daring to make mistakes but also knowing that I was learning and growing every second I was up there. I was really proud of myself and beamed from ear to ear as I openly received their feedback. The relief itself was a drug. I even managed to do get up two more times and it wasn’t any less scary, but so worth it.

I learned that although I’m still very ‘green’, I can actually hold my own as an speaker and really want to take what I’ve learned and try to make a bigger impact in the world – even if to simply see what happens. I’m also excited to have a shiny new goal to work towards and make happen. I almost don’t recognize myself in saying this … ca-razy.

And what I want for us all is to consider this life-changing (albeit rude sounding) phrase as we walk through our lives and to pay attention to those deep desires and wants as well as the fear holding us back. So, get out there and try to suck at something.

I dare you.