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My undergraduate college focused on creating and producing strong communicators, no matter the chosen degree. This required all students to record one speech or presentation each semester onto a VHS tape.  When all eight semesters compiled, we had an opportunity to review the tape and discover how we had grown and progressed in our communication styles. It was painful to watch the first few speeches, but by the eighth speech, I was amazed at how I developed into a solid communicator. (Insert self-congratulatory pat on the back.)

I still remember that first presentation. I was petrified because I knew I wasn’t good at public speaking and mostly because I thought I was going to throw up. My stomach was in knots, my mouth was alternately bone dry and watering, and my hands shook so bad the girl in the front row thought I was fanning her.

After the presentations were complete, we discussed the most awful six minutes of our lives and one topic seemed to plague us all – nerves. My wise instructor told us that nerves were basically just energy we had to acknowledge, address and then re-apply where it would be better used. Once we could control our energy, we could decide how to use the energy to our advantage.

Hmmmm. Not nerves, but energy. Energy to be channelled and decided by me as to how I could use it. I never forgot her advice. The first time I spoke in front of 500 reps at a company meeting, I thought about how they knew the product and industry better than me and might laugh me off the stage, but then I redirected that nervous energy to deliver an awesome presentation about marketing communications that I knew better than they. They loved the work and respected me.

Energy has become a big part of my life in other ways. Feng shui really does amaze me with its flow. In my prosperity bagua, I once placed a purple item and within two weeks received an incredible promotion and salary increase. And when I put one of my favorite books in my career corner, I was struck with inspiration and wrote a manuscript in three months.

Most recently I decided to have my chakras balanced. My energy flow is good, but it could be better so we focused on the creative, heart and life force chakras that needed attention. And my base has a big problem – a big, thick root that didn’t go deep but appeared to be hacked off. That makes sense since I am alternating between two locations in what I call a “suitcase limbo.”

I still work to channel my nerves into energy, no matter if it’s a speech, a personal discussion or a near-collision on a snow-covered interstate. I am a work in progress, adjusting and expanding my energy, and I love it because it is I who can control it. I can open myself up and make the space bigger than my body. I am not afraid to be open to the energy that I can produce. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I can channel it to others, or at least advise them to take that nauseous feeling and turn it into an awesome presentation.