Join Lisa as she takes you on a four-part journey through the creation of Harvest – her story of grief and love and the harvest she has reaped.
In this episode, Lisa dives into the experience of sharing her personal story on stage.
She opens up about the doubts and fears she had leading up to the moment of sharing, questioning if anyone would care or find it enjoyable. Lisa reflects on the vulnerability and uncertainty she felt, contemplating the possibility of public embarrassment or wanting to stop midway!
Despite her concerns, her conviction in the need to tell the story got her onto that stage. And she’s so glad she did.
Part Four unveils the ripple effect of Harvest. Listen now.
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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here
Welcome back to the third part of this story of the story, and in this episode, I’m going to talk a little bit about what it actually felt like to share the story. So yeah, there was a time where I was just really in absolute crisis mode about whether this was a good idea at all. I mean, I was really questioning how I was going to feel once the story was shared, and I wondered if anybody would actually care or enjoy it. It’s funny when you’ve got an audience coming for something that’s kind of a little bit abstract. I’m pretty sure they weren’t a hundred percent sure of what was going to happen. They just wanted to be in the room, and I wanted to give them a good show. I wanted to make sure that they left with the feeling that I really wanted them to have. And I just thought, what’s what if this is just a massive disappointment? What if I am setting myself up for complete and utter public embarrassment?
It was real. I wondered what would happen if I got going and then just decided I wanted to stop that. In fact, I wasn’t ready and I wanted to pull out right there. And then could I just kind of wrap it up at different places? All these sorts were going through my head. I thought There was literally not a rehearsal that I did with myself. I obviously read through it out loud beforehand a few times, and I cried every single time quite heavily. And so I was just thinking, how am I going to hold it together? I actually had little set of tissues right at the back pocket of my folder with all the words written out just in case I needed them. I really was not sure if I’d be able to hold it together, even if I should hold it together.
And there’s just that moment before you go into an exam or before you’ve got to deliver something big for work, whatever it is where you think there’s actually no more I can do now. It’s just it’s going to happen, and I’ve just got to roll with this. All the questioning, all of the worries, all of the self-doubt, all of that. My conviction in needing to do this was stronger than all of it. And I let it drive me. I let the fact that people were coming and taking time out of their week to sit in that room to get me there. And I sat, we got into the room and some amazing friends were helping me out on the night, and they were setting up the stage and we were just figuring out the lighting. And someone got a glass of water for me and had amazing Julie Tenner and Nadia Renny joining me on stage afterwards for conversation about what I’d shared in harvest.
So we were just making sure that was all set up. The nerves were very high at this stage, and I was just kind of in a zone, I guess. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it was going to be shared, and I just had no idea what that was going to bring forth. And there was a little green room in the venue, and I was, so, I backstage and I was just reading through through my notes, just looking at it, just looking at this story that I’d written. I mean almost 10,000 words. And I was about to go on stage and read a story. How did I think that that would be entertaining for people? Was this even interesting? I was looking at it going, oh God, who do you think you are, Lisa, to have a story that should be shared like this?
Come on, you’ve been fooling yourself this whole time, but I knew I had to do it, and something just get into some kind of drive. And I got there and I heard Nadia start to introduce me, and I was right there backstage. I realised I had no idea where the curtain opened, and so I just kind of poked and prodded until I found the opening of the curtain. And I walked out there and there was just this room full of women with anticipation, and I felt sick. I thought I was going to vomit. And I also felt completely thrilled by the whole thing, just really thrilled that I had made it this far, that I had the story in my hands that it was going to happen. And I, of course, paid my respects to the traditional owners. I took a really big deep breath, and I started reading, and it went for over a little over an hour.
And because there was a spotlight on me while I was sharing, I couldn’t see the audience very well. And it was really quiet. I’m talking pindrop quiet in my head. I’m reading this story and I’m also thinking I’ve totally lost them. This has gone on too long. It’s too quiet. Everyone’s on their phones. They wish they could leave. Probably people are just wanting to get up and go to the loo, get another drink, they’re bored. Oh God. And I really just was worried. There were some times where people laughed in the right spots. So I thought, okay, now I’ve still got them. Or I asked them, I remember once I was like, are we okay after the covid years? I mean, are any of us actually, okay, this is a Melbourne based audience? And they’re like, ha, ha, no. And it was like, okay, I’ve still got them.
They’re here. But it was very quiet, discerningly quiet as I was sharing, and the words were just flowing out of me though I got close to big tears. I felt myself probably about three times. There was a moment where I thought I could, this could become explosive, but I kind of kept them at bay. I drank absolutely no water throughout the whole time. And I’m sitting there in that chair with my story in my hands and a microphone in front of my face and this room full of women anticipating whatever was going to happen. And I delivered. I told the story well, and I felt that in myself. I felt the words flowing out of me. I felt it all happening in a way that felt really, really right. I was emotionally naked on that stage. I was seen up in the most honest way, and it was really scary.
And while I was sharing, there was so much going on in my head, but the words, I had to pay attention to the words, I was just in the flow of the words. And so it was sort of getting closer to the end. I started to get this sense of almost like an awe for myself of what I had just done, what I was in the process of doing. I like when you start to see the finish line and you think, oh my God, this is, I’m almost done. And I really had wanted to enjoy it. And at the start, I thought, I don’t know if that’s going to be possible, because if I vomit on stage, that’s not going to be very enjoyable. But I really, really did. I loved every single second that I was up there. And for that reason, I am really, really proud of myself for doing it. The thing that I knew I would enjoy that was, I mean, it was pretty treacherous to get to that point, but I did it. Most importantly, the story was shared and I knew I didn’t want to do it on a webinar. I knew I didn’t want to do it on a Facebook Live or something like that. It wasn’t designed for that.
The story also wasn’t written to read, it was written to hear. It had to be my words. It had to be my flow and delivery in order to have the impact that I wanted it to have. And the whole point of this story, the whole point of showing up there that night was for those women in the room to see that through the hardest times we are planting seeds. And I could never have predicted what I’ve harvested, but I did. And I wanted them to connect with their harvest. I wanted them to feel like the hard stuff that they are moving through in their life or have experienced in their life gave them this rich harvest. But we never pay attention to it. And that’s what the process of writing and sharing the story did for me. It helped me see it really had a huge, huge impact on me. And I have gone on then to take the, I guess the knowledge of the power of sharing a story, like being the speaker, the owner and the speaker, and share of a story into many aspects of my life. And you know, can see it on my social media accounts these days.
I am riding differently. I’m sharing different kinds of reels. I am more honest and more grounded than I ever have been. And this is coming from someone who’s one of my core values is actually authenticity. I struggle a lot with fakeness, with the facade. It repels me. And I think women really, we need to get better at honesty. And I mean, I realise it’s scary. I was really scared of sharing things. And as I said, it wasn’t about airing dirty laundry or doing anything like that. It was being able to own aspects of my story that I knew if I put together in a way that took women on a journey, would have them changed, moved connecting with themselves in new ways, a new perspective that they can see of themselves through my story. And there is so much in that, and I’ll share more about that in the next part of this series, the impact that it had on the people who heard it.
But I think can’t not be someone who’s done that now, not be someone who has sat on stage and done this really scary, hugely expansive thing. I am grateful to myself for it, and I believe that the more of us that do that, the better the world will be. Because there’s so much, I mean, just so much I, I think about AI and all the changes that have already started happening in my particular industry and all the changes that are going to be coming. I mean, if you don’t know about the changes that AI are going to be bringing, there’s some brilliant books you can read, and it’s definitely a conversation that you should be a part of. Generative AI is changing the landscape of the words, videos, everything that you see online. And it’s not a bad thing, but AI requires you to feed it with stuff.
And you can never feed it your soul and your story unless you’ve done the unpacking, unless you have figured out the story, unless you have found your words, your core, the meaning that you have given all of it. I mean, that’s irreplaceable stories. Personal stories are the stuff that can never be faked, can be made up. Like we are going to see all sorts of stuff. We are going to see it all. Will you just watch? It’s going to be really, really crazy. But I am glad that I can use Chachi p t like the rest of them. But it could never have given me harvest. I couldn’t have said, Hey, these are my life events. Write a story about it that’s going to really mean something. And the gift is actually in the discovery, the writing and the sharing, and it’s pretty profound what can happen on the other side. And I’ll fill you in on that in the next episode.
Hey! I'm Lisa
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