My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #282: Overcoming Demons

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-12-2011 03:49 PM 4052 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 281: Sad News Part 282 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 283: Where Did That Hour Go? I know It's Around Here Somewhere . . . . »

The days are winding down and I am getting closer to leaving my comfortable little surrounding here, I fear that I am beginning to feel a (ahem) small amount of pressure regarding the entire trip. As the thought of leaving my comfort zone and stepping out into the real world for three weeks approaches, I can’t help but feel a small bit of anxiety.

It could just be because I am getting old. We all know that as we get older, many of us seem to find comfort in our daily routine. When I was a young teen, we lived with my grandparents for a time and even at that young age I would notice that my grandfather was very set in his daily activities. He woke at 6am – even on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch was promptly at noon on the weekends and when he was retired. The Cubs would come on at 3:00pm for the afternoon game and no one would even think to ask to watch something different on the TV (that was back in the day when there was typically one TV per household!) Bed time was just after Johnny Carson. And on it went.

I see the same traits in my dear friends Bernie and Ellen. They are quite set in their ways and even though there is always an open invitation from them to “just stop in” whenever, I can’t help but sense that when I do their routine is disturbed. There have even been times when after lunch (dinner as they call it here in Canada) Bernie would wander off to the sun room to have his daily 20 minute “nap” while we all chatted at the kitchen table. :)

So am I getting to be the same way? I also have my daily rituals and find much comfort in them. When I was younger, I used to seek adventure and excitement. At some point, I think that I found that there is comfort in routine and a sense of security in the expected. I kind of like the way things are with my life.

But that doesn’t mean that I have given up adventure altogether. Truly in the bottom of my heart I am looking forward to both the trip and all the opportunities it will bring me. The thought of meeting people face to face and talking to customers and lecturing and teaching is a wonderful opportunity for me on so many levels. It is just a bit intimidating at times.

In the past, when I did both woodworking shows and other types of shows (I used to design and sell collectible mohair teddy bears) I would always be nervous before the event began. But once I got around my fellow vendors and the customers, I had a splendid time and felt happy and comfortable. The time would go by much too quickly and I would thoroughly enjoy the interaction with others who had similar interests as I did. It kept me coming back over and over again.

Perhaps the apprehension that I am feeling comes from the fact that it has been a long time since I have done a show. Add to that, I have never done a show of this magnitude or been a featured presenter at any show. All those unknowns seem to have added up and from time to time I feel short bouts of panic. I try not to allow the “what ifs” to fill my head for too long. It isn’t helpful.

My best defense to this anxiety is being prepared. In that respect, I am ‘getting there’. With just over a week to go, I have nearly everything done and in order, with just a few details left.

One of my biggest undertakings to accomplish is to produce the hand out sheets that I will be distributing during the four lectures I will be giving. I purposely left this task until the end. I have a general outline of topics of discussion for each of the two individual classes, but in compiling these handouts, I will be refining the information and it will be fresh in my mind for the actual lecture.

You all my find it comical, but one of my biggest fears is that I will be standing up in front of a crowd and run out of things to talk about. I don’t know why this plagues me so much, but it does. I believe I know my subject matter and I am truly not afraid that I will not be able to answer questions regarding scroll sawing, but somehow I fear that I will not be informative or entertaining enough for people to get their money’s worth. (By the way – the class is free with admission- so what is that all about?) Perhaps it is because I am “featured”. I am one of only four who were invited. Living up to that billing in a show of that size is scary.

Oddly enough the painting and scroll sawing classes the following week are something that I not only do not fear, but really look forward to. In that arena, I am on solid footing, and I feel confident in what I am presenting and with my ability to teach and help others. People will come expecting something I feel I can offer them comfortably.

Fearing the unknown is something that has plagued mankind all through the ages. I have found in my lifetime, that the anticipation of things I feared, is far worse than the actual thing or event. So with that said, I am in the process of convincing myself that this time it is no different.

For the most part, I am winning this battle within myself. I am happy, excited and looking forward to facing the unknown. There are just those small moments that creep in every now and then when I am feeling overwhelmed that I need to attend to them. I recently read a great quote which helps me put things in perspective:

”Always do what you are afraid to do.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

With that thought, I will carry on. :)

Have a great Saturday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4036 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 04:12 PM

Hi Sheila;

Somehow I have trouble picturing you running out of things to say! You described perfectly, my own fears when asked to do a presentation of any kind.

There’s a local woodworking club that’s been trying to get me to do a presentation on building european style cabinets, and the difference between them and traditional stlye cabinets. In fact, I’m the one who came up with the topic, when they asked if I would do another presentation. I had done one on veneering a couple years ago.

But that same fear you mention, of standing in the front of the room, and going blank can really be crippling, if you let it. So far, I’m letting it! I’ve been avoiding it completely.

But like you, I find that being prepared makes all the difference, and once it gets going, I do fine, and actually enjoy myself. It’s the time leading up to go time that’s hardest to deal with. I guess the trick is to stay so busy preparing, that you don’t have time to worry about it.

Well, I’m quite confident you will do great.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2977 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 05:03 PM

Thanks, Lee for the support. :)

It amazes me when seeing your work that you would be anything except confident in front of a crowd. Knowing that I am not alone in these feelings really does help me through this anxiety (If he is that good and still feels this way, these feelings must be normal!)

Part of me knows that most, if not all people there will be just like everyone here – supportive and friendly. I just need to focus on that and go ahead with things.

There is much to do, but chatting from time to time here with my friends reminds me why I do what I do in the first place. Thanks again!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 05:28 PM

Anxiety is nothing unusual. You are prepared.

Even if you feel afraid on the day this will cause the production of Adrenaline, with that in your system theres nothing you can’t do.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2937 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 05:36 PM

As we age we get ‘stuck’ in our ways! Probably because we know what works well and choose to not go about it less efficiently? We’ve tried all the ways it doesn’t work. We’re not stupid. We learn from our mistakes.

Why make life more difficult than we know it already is?

As for public speaking, if it’s something you love, then sharing your joy becomes something worth doing. You are the expert and everyone that attends wants to understand how you do what you do…and why (otherwise, they wouldn’t attend!) Be the teacher.

Tell your story with the same confidence you use creating your magic. Go get’em tigress!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2977 days

#5 posted 03-12-2011 07:42 PM

Leave it to you guys to make me feel better! I knew I could count on you! Thanks for putting up with my whining and insecurities. I know you all have my back. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2977 days

#6 posted 03-12-2011 07:53 PM

Can I add a PS on my blog??? I suppose I can because it is my post! I just found out that it is my dear friend MR. GRIZZMAN’s birthday today! Happy Birthday Bob! May you have a day that brings you as much joy as you always bring to others! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2979 days

#7 posted 03-13-2011 12:24 AM

One thing I remember about the difference of a woman to a man…. “Men sees everything in overview, but women go for the details.”
Like most of LJ, I am confident that you are the right choice for the occasion. I see the crowd that they will be busy taking notes and films of what you will present… this is now the attitude of the crowd because of the new technology… digital technology… and this will be the focus. Another way of doing things great… there must be a lot of demonstrations rather than talks… But as usual… it is the subject matter expertise that makes the twists and you have that.
You deserve to have a rest before you travel and I hope the best and safe travel.
God Bless,

-- Bert

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2945 days

#8 posted 03-13-2011 01:13 AM

Hi Sheila.

1) Not all of us Canucks call the noon meal “dinner”. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I’ve ever heard that word used in that connotation. I’ve always called the noonday meal “myxltopikl”. (huge silly grin.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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