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Carol Perkins: Writer finds new mission in life

Carol delivers her first formal speech - and survives and says now, "Maybe I can become a motivational speaker and assure women my age they still have Miles to Go Before They Sleep. (Robert Frost)"
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By Carol Perkins

Why was I so nervous? I spent my career talking, so why was I nervous about talking to a group of adults? I didn't know any of them, so if I didn't do well, I would likely never see them again. I agreed to speak at a monthly luncheon at the Medical Center in Bowling Green called Women in Charge. When I was approached back in August, the idea seemed a good one, although I had never given a speech. I had never talked to a group for forty-five minutes while they were eating. What was I going to say?

For a week before the event, I made mental outlines. I ran them by Guy and could tell if my ideas were good or bad. "Who is your audience?" I didn't know. "What age group?" I didn't know. "Do they work at the hospital?" They were mostly from the community. Retired professionals who participate in these monthly Women in Charge meetings. Guy said, "In charge of what?" I didn't know. "Why were you asked?" I knew it was because of my books. It was because of Kathryn Thomas. Her mother is Vice President of Marketing and Development and Corporate Spokesperson and of this event. Kathryn recommended me. She had been on my radio show and came to my book signing. How could I say no to her?

The day before the speech, I prepared eight pages of outlines, keywords, phrases, an order of events, etc. I practically had my life in front of me. My topic was, "Miles to Go Before I Sleep. The next morning, I was shaky. I couldn't find the jacket I was going to wear. Where is that red jacket?

At one point I even wished for the stomach bug, but when that didn't happen, I resigned to my destiny. What can they do if I'm bad? They can talk, text, get up and leave and complain. I had to let go.

The room was set for a lunch of thirty women. Eating was the last thing on my mind. As soon as everyone arrived, I took the floor. Immediately, I noticed that these ladies were near my age. They smiled and greeted me warmly. They didn't hold cell phones. They drank coffee. The dry mouth left me and when I was introduced, what I had done all my life became natural once again.

At the end of the forty-five minutes, I had made new friends. I had given my first speech and survived. I left in much better shape than when I arrived. I texted Guy, "I am on my way home in one piece."

Actually, I enjoyed being there and talking to the women. Perhaps I have found my new mission in life. Maybe I can become a motivational speaker and assure women my age they still have "Miles to Go Before They Sleep."(Robert Frost) The next time, if there is one, I won't work myself into a lather of anxiety.

This story was posted on 2018-01-31 17:24:54
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