One of the great joys of doing this radio show is all the nice people who call or email me and tell me how a certain show was meaningful to them, from how much they liked a certain guest, to some asking questions about who to turn to for help. Since I am not a licensed counselor or an HR person, I like to suggest some good people I know who may be able to help those who reach out to me seeking answers.
I cannot help everyone, but I certainly will try to send them to those who might be able to help.
Occasionally I will get a call from someone who, just by listening every week to my dose of encouragement, has allowed a dormant spark of a long lost passion to flicker alive, and when that spark catches on and begins to create a little light, that’s what pushes a few good folks to ask how to get started or restart on something they had always wanted to do but pushed aside for whatever reason.
A week ago I met someone who said they’d always felt that they wanted to speak at conferences because they had gone through a lot in their life, and they just wanted to let others know how they got through it. They wanted to be an encouragement others. I get that one a lot. The problem with that request is that it is hard to find your tribe—those who will let you speak from the platform and then pay you for the information.
Not to be discouraging, but most speakers have been on the circuit for years speaking on topics they are experts on, and that is how a livelihood is made in this very competitive business. Yes, some can do well for a time with their topic—and topics of interest come and go. Currently there are number of fine folks talking about storytelling, but in time that will most likely dwindle down to the handful of speakers who can sustain the business.
Again, please know that if you have a passion and can craft a message that can change lives, you might be on to something. I encourage you find those who are like-minded to your topic and see if they would be willing to have you speak to their group.
Probably the number one request I get from folks who call me is the desire to speak to the faith community, because it seems pretty easy, because most Sunday sermons are 3 points and a poem, and they know the texts, the congregation and the words to all the songs. And since we are taught to judge not, many think that is a great way to get started.
So I had a call this week from a very nice person. She has been listening for over a year, and finally got the courage to call me and ask to know how to start [speaking].
When I answered the phone, she introduced herself and told me that she wants to speak at women’s conferences; then she began to tell me all the reasons why she hasn’t been able to pursue her dream of speaking. She is married with kids in school and a husband who is ill but is doing odd jobs to help keep the family stable. She has to work, but doesn’t like her job and she can’t quit, because they need the money. She went on to tell me that she is not a good writer and didn’t finish school, so she feels bad about that, and doesn’t feel good about her command of the English language. It was then when I had to stop her—frankly, I just couldn’t listen anymore.
I have a very low tolerance for people who want to dwell on all the reasons why they can’t follow their dreams, live their passion or do what they feel they were born to do.
Instead of discussing all the reasons she gave me about her life being out of balance, I asked to give me a few topics on which she would like to speak.
I got the usual marriage, mortgage and munchkins line. You know, the let me tell you how to have a great marriage, how to make your finances work and how to love your kids.
Well that was a typical start, so I asked again, can you think about a few topics on which you would like to speak and that people need to hear?
Once again she started with how bad her life is, her husband and her kids and in-laws…and I had to stop her again, and give her this quote that I had seen.
You can dwell on it for the rest of your life. That’s death. Or you can let it go and move on. That’s life.
You see, I wanted her to let go of all of her excuses and move forward with her dreams and desires and see life—the life she wants to see and be in and have. I wanted her to move forward to pursue her dream of being a speaker in the faith community at conferences all over America, but she wants to dwell on all the reasons why it won’t work. And I feel sure that, within all the hours of excuse-making, she refuses to make the small changes to clean up her life (And, I’m guessing, her house and yard and garage and closets and car and kitchen, also.) because talking about it is so much easier than doing the work. I see it every day.
And I was brokenhearted that talking is all it seemed she was willing to do, but I decided to offer her a way out. I suggested that she write a paragraph a day—just a paragraph of what she would say, should she be given the opportunity to speak to a group.
Not War and Peace, not even a Readers Digest short story. Nothing major, nothing more than a few lines every day about a topic that she feels would benefit others. And when she finishes writing her paragraph, she should send it to a trusted friend to keep her accountable to keep writing every day. I suggested just a paragraph on a small note pad, so that she isn’t overwhelmed, and I said that I’d check back with her in a few weeks.
I feel like Paul Harvey, here to tell you the rest of the story…
I wish I had good news, but I don’t. You see, she has chosen to talk about all the reasons why it still won’t work, and she will (like my theme today)…dwell on it for the rest of her life. That’s death.
I could not convince her to let it go and move on. That would be life. The life she “tells” me she wants for herself and her family.
When I think about the simple homework I gave her, I am reminded of a wonderful local TEDx speaker we had in my hometown about a year ago. His name is Dodd Caldwell, and he writes what he calls mini-sagas, stories he writes every day and they are exactly 50 words—no more—no less.
Dodd will tell you that the design and planning it takes to produce a mini-saga has made him more efficient, observant and more disciplined in his everyday life. This is a link to his TEDxGreenville talk. He was excellent, and his concept is intriguing to me, not only as a discipline, but also as a creative outlet within a strict guideline that undoubtedly leads to success in other areas of life.
You might want to consider writing a mini-saga of only 50 words and see how well you’d do. Within time, I’m sure you’ll improve your skill and word choice, word color and creative verbal design. It would be a good step in the right direction to get your creative juices flowing for your success.
Brigitte Nicole’s quote of: You can dwell on it for the rest of your life. That’s death. Or you can let it go and move on. That’s life. is very real for many listening today. You’ve spent a lifetime talking about your dreams. What would it take for you to get going on them…to live the life you’ve imagined?
Let me encourage you to let the past go. I know I have said this before, but if you don’t make peace with your past, it will keep showing up in your present. Let past hurts, past failures, past falling downs go, and move on. You can’t change it now. If you’ve done your part and asked for forgiveness, or even if they didn’t give you that chance to accept your request for healing, it’s okay, because it’s over. It’s done. For some it’s forgotten, for others it never meant a thing to them, so stop cheating on your future with your past—it’s over. It’s time to let it go and move on—that’s life.
Now, breathe and clear your mind, soul and heart, and move in the direction of your dreams. I’ll be here every week to cheer you on.