The first time Dave ever had to speak in front of a small crowd of people was the fourth grade. A couple of days before the assignment he was excited, until Mrs. Rowan called on him to present. It was at that moment his stomach betrayed him, with a deep breath he stood. The nausea rose with every step, as he could almost feel all eyes on him. His legs felt heavier than normal, as he turned to face the class. He opened his mouth to speak, the room started to spin and he lost the battle with his stomach. The worst part was that it landed on the desk and shirt of Lindsay, the prettiest girl in class.
Today some twenty-five years later, after avoiding speaking publicly his whole life, Dave’s nightmare was about to come true. It was just after lunch, when his boss Diane walked into his office ignoring he was on the phone.
“That’s correct. We will reship the — “, said Dave
“Dave, I need you to…”
“Can I call you back in a couple of minutes, Jerry? Diane just walked in….Thanks.”
“Sorry, I didn’t see you on the phone.”
“Not a problem. Just putting out a fire. What can I do for you, Diane?”
“Cynthia had to go home and I need you to run the sales meeting at three.”
“To be honest I’m not feeling great myself, can Rich or John cover it?”
“No, this is an important account. Dave, I need you.”
After she handed him the customer file, Diane left without another word. Knowing he didn’t have a choice, Dave’s stomach started turning just at the thought. The hour in between feeling like seconds, before he had to enter the conference room.
While setting up the presentation materials, feeling like he was back in Mrs. Rowan’s class. He was just about to walk out the door, when a very familiar voice came from behind him.
“Hi, Dad,” said his daughter Ivy.
“Sweetheart, what are you doing here?”
“I’m your three o’clock meeting. I was going to tell you about my promotion at Sunday’s dinner,” she said before the other members walked in.
With his daughter watching and waiting, he took a deep breath before starting the presentation. The presence of Ivy easing his nerves allowing him to find his voice and focus. Just under an hour later he said, “Sign on page fourteen and will ship out your first order tomorrow morning.”