I’d forgotten the tune
One way to deal with nerves on stage.
I was standing with my son by a small white pavilion, next to the river. The hot Florida sunshine was beating down on us and I could feel small beads of sweat forming on my brow and running down my neck.
We were dressed in matching suits and I was clutching my violin, hoping it would stay in tune in the heat.
“The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the empty skies”
~ Ewan MacColl
Everything was in place, the beautiful flowers, the bridesmaids in their bright coral dresses, the page boy balancing the wedding rings carefully on a small satin cushion.
Today, not only was I going to be best man for my son, I was also going to be playing the bride’s chosen song on my violin as she walked down the aisle.
Soon all eyes would be on me; all I’d have to do would be to start playing the song and then the whole ceremony could commence. The problem was, I had forgotten the tune!
“This is your son’s wedding day; surely you can’t let him down.“
Now under other circumstances, I would probably have seen the funny side to this, I might even have chuckled quietly to myself, visualising the whole thing as a scene from some kind of comedy sketch, but not this time. I told myself, “This is your son’s wedding day; surely you can’t let him down, not today of all days!“
Well, you will be pleased to know that I did manage to remember the tune. Instead of panicking, and freezing, I managed to deal with the situation in a different way.
I remembered a technique that I’d learned some years previously; it was on a training course I went on and the instructor said to me: “Roger, what you want to do is to see yourself through the eyes of someone in the audience that loves you. It could be anyone, it could be your mum, or your wife, or perhaps one of your children.”
So, I decided to stop thinking about me and how I view myself, and I chose to see myself through the eyes of someone in this audience who loves me.
I looked over at my son standing alongside me and thought about how he sees me, and how he sees me as Dad, the man who can do anything, and I chose to step into that person. I became the man who taught him how to ride a bike, how to drive a car, and how to build his first website.
When I see myself through the eyes of someone who loves me, through the eyes of that audience, I stop wanting to run away and hide; I become a giant, able to tackle any circumstances that come my way.
So, on that day, by the small white pavilion next to the river, under the hot Florida sunshine, I chose to put that technique into practice and see myself through my son’s eyes, and it worked, as it has done many times since in all sorts of situations. I chose to see myself through the eyes of the audience, my son, and it worked.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.