Is it over? As much as I worried and as much as I stressed I am sad that it is over. I mean, how many times in a person's life do they sit next to a person who single handily changed the world?
If you read, or watched, my blog last week you know that this panel was the only thing I was thinking about. This continued after my last video blog before the panel and as I took my seat to watch Temple's keynote I was in a state of panic.
For the moderator being on stage is something that requires no thinking. It is natural. For me, I was scared and she told me to just, "choose a seat." Being as nervous as I was, choosing a seat was something that quite simply could not be done. Which one do I choose? The other two men on the panel had already staked out their side and as I tried to sit they talked among themselves that they would save the end for Temple. My reaction to this was to just wander back to the middle portion of the stage.
Let me state that next time I do something like this, if there is a next time (please be a next time!), I will not have this pre-panel anxiety. Anytime something is new, and anytime the new event is something of this caliber, I will have a reaction like I had.
So I was lost once again and there was still 15 minutes until it started. The moderator was away from the stage so I just stood there with a look of complete despair.
I was experiencing every possible negative emotion a public speaker could feel before a presentation and it was amplified. I was fearful my words would not be heard. I feared that I would be unable to speak. I was sure someone would either yell at me or find something to throw at me. My biggest fear of all, and I didn't state it in either of my posts or video blogs, was that I was truly afraid another panelist would take offense to something I said or disagree whole-heartily and yell at me. These fears grew at an alarming rate with each passing second.
The moderator came back and I asked the question once again, "Where do I sit?" She at once said, "Wherever you feel most comfortable" but I don't know where that was. In fact, at that moment, feeling comfortable would have been impossible.
Knowing my weakness and knowing that if I didn't say anything I would continue standing there, I decided to take a chance and make a stand, "Could you tell me where to sit?"
That question may not seem like a big deal but it was a huge one for me. I spoke up for myself and that is something that doesn't normally happen. This was a momentary victory and she walked me up on stage just as Larry Kaplan (The CEO of USAAA) walked up. He said, "We will put Aaron here and Temple on the end."