When you see a “Going Out of Business” sign, do you see it as an inconvenience? Do you wonder what might pop up in that spot next? Ever consider the story behind the closing, the frustration and the broken dreams of the owner? Behind each sign there is a story. Ouch.
The same is true of a positive sign too. It may seem straightforward, but there is still a deeper story. It is there. It was there well over a decade ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, when I sat with World Champion speaker David Brooks and an eager Toastmaster at Skyline Chili.
Mr. Eager had volunteered to show us around, drive us to our speaking event, and take us to dinner.
Mr. Eager had also bought all of the educational tools that I had to offer, but there was more. When I reflect back on it, it reminds me of the brilliant message of Dananjaya Hettiarachchi’s speech, “I See Something.” I did not know what it was, but I saw it. Mr. Eager had it.
He worked hard and studied hard to improve his speaking skills. He became a skilled coach. What impressed me about him was that although he had ups and downs, he remained a sponge and humble. He also remained focused on helping people. He nurtured his talent.
A couple of years ago, Craig Valentine and I had one of our coaching workshops scheduled. Not long before the event, Craig injured his knee coaching basketball and had to have surgery on the second day of our workshops. We looked at all of our options to fill in for Craig, and Mr. Eager came to the top of the list. He rocked. In fact, I even asked him to help coach me on a new speech I was working a year later. This year at our big event, Lady & The Champs, we needed a new MC. We turned again to Mr. Eager, the sponge. Why? He never asked to speak for us or even to consider him. He just kept improving his skills and helping people. That gets you noticed.
Here was the coolest part. Mr. Eagar had said that when he had met me and some of the other World Champions years ago, he had made a decision that he wanted to work with us. At the time he thought that the way to be able to do that was by winning the World Championship of Public Speaking. He never made it to the world stage finals, but he earned his way to our stage. It was an epiphany when it dawned on him this year that he had achieved his dream in a different way. Patricia Fripp said he did an amazing job.
Why do I bring all of this up? Even though I was very sick this weekend, I beamed from ear to ear when I saw this sign. When I opened Speaker Magazine I was delighted to see an article written by Mr. Eager, Mike Davis. To me it was a sign. It was a sign that has a story with years of persistence behind it.
I’m proud of you, Mike!
As in the story behind the “Going Out of Business” sign, there can be frustration and broken dreams behind successes, too. I know how hard Mike worked to get where he is and have seen how he persisted. His intention was right. Though he wanted to win the World Championship, he has not yet. Does that mean he is not successful? It is all a matter of your own definition. What’s yours?
Mike proved his value over time. Your mentors and colleagues are watching. It breaks my heart when people think they have to win a trophy to have value. I’m glad Mike did not get caught in that trap. You don’t need anyone’s approval for anything. Just deliver value and keep focusing on creating more value for your audience. People will notice.
Let the trophy be a bonus, not the intention. Do you see what I see? All that matters is what you see and what you do about it. Many “Going Out of Business” signs were followed by huge successes for someone who took what they had learned and applied it to their next venture. Every one of your successes has a story behind it. Every failure has a story behind it also, and we are in the story business. You will always have fodder for new presentations.What are the signs of your life story? Become the person that your mentors can be proud of. I’ve never been proud of a whiner. Keep writing and living your story. You are the only one who decides if there is a stop sign.
More about Mike: http://speakingcpr.com
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