I was on an all in. I was speaking and doing comedy anywhere and everywhere I could. If they would pay me, that was a huge bonus, but as my mentors Vinnie and Dave taught me, stage time, stage time, stage time. I was a member of four Toastmaster clubs, squeezing in every meeting possible. At each meeting I’d volunteer for any role because it was all stage time.
I had developed great habits. Patricia Fripp teaches that good habits will take you anywhere you want to go. I had those in place. I didn’t get it back then, but my unbelievable schedule working my sub shop and my day job had been a great training ground showing me there was more in me then I thought. I was on a mission.
Sometimes when you are working hard, you have your head down and forget why you are doing what you do. What the real reason is. My reason was the incredible joy that I got from making people laugh. It was euphoric to me. The high I got was pure and lasted. It was a positive addiction in service to others. Let me be clear, it was not a selfless service. I was willing to do anything to get the laughs, but it was the laughs that I craved.
When I think back to that Brian Tracy question from 1992, “What would you dare to dream if you knew you’d never fail?” My answer to myself was I’d be a comedian. I followed the thought with, to earn a living making people laugh, that would be the ultimate! You see, I wanted to make people laugh. In my ignorant mind, I was unaware of any other possibility. I thought becoming a comedian was the only way of doing that. I had no idea that there were other possibilities of making people laugh and earning a living at it. I had no idea what a professional speaker was or what it took to become one.
My Toastmaster Mentor, Dan asked me a question, “What do you have to give?” It led me to see that I could teach and I had some natural, yet un-honed skills in that area. It also put me in a position to help people. That was where my heart was. I started seeing the light for my path and started turning at the fork in the road.
Meeting speakers at my first big speakers convention was an epiphany for me. For the first time I felt like I belonged. I felt like I was a misfit and so were all of these other people. I finally found home. My path went from ha-ha’s to aha’s. In comedy, laughter was my message, but now it would be the medium to my message. It felt my like true path.
I’m now incredibly thankful for starting in the comedy world first. It was literally the best training ground you could have to become a speaker. I also could clearly see that my love of business and going to school for it would now come into play. It was more applicable to becoming a speaker, as a speaker you are usually an entrepreneur. I eventually would learn from Ed Tate, fellow World Champion, “It’s a business first, you get to speak second. If you get the order wrong you don’t get to speak at all.”
We never really know how experience from our past will truly help overcome roadblocks on our new paths. It does, when you tap into it. This is why I remind you, the more you dive into any experience, the more lessons you will learn to serve your future. Dive into more challenges now and develop your ability to overcome any obstacle. I’m thankful for my sub shop experience and learning to be gritty. I’m thankful for nights of comedy where I bombed miserably because it taught me invaluable lessons that serve me now every time I take the stage.
What are the lessons I learned?
What do you take from this?
Please add your comments/read other comments, on this blog post.
Are you making any of these Top 10 Speaking Mistakes?