About 8 or 9 years ago, the company I worked for held their annual event for all employees, highlighting major accomplishments from around the company, as well as future business strategies.
It would typically take pace at a fancy hotel or country club with speakers schedule throughout the day. Each department usually had to share a slide deck or give some sort of presentation about their individual successes and everything else related.
That year my manager picked me to speak for our team even though I had never done so in previous years. Before I went on my manager introduced me, and in a strange way referred to me in reference to my faith.
“So I’m calling up Sheldon who will of course be in heaven one day…” A little embarrassed by such an awkward introduction, on the fly I decided to change things up.
“You know my manager says I’m going to heaven. That’s funny because right now I’m nervous as hell.”
The entire audience blew up laughing like I had just told a joke on Showtime at the Apollo. That one comment completely shifted the energy in the room and I immediately felt comfortable sharing my presentation.
Being your authentic self shifts the energy and atmosphere in a positive way to those around you. It cuts tension and gives others the courage and permission to do the same.