What is your dream? Are you moving towards it? MORE importantly, are you keeping your eyes peeled for an even bigger goal?
This past weekend I was in California speaking less than a mile from where I won the World Championship of Public Speaking. I started getting “sappy” when I took the stage at the conference. It felt like the circle of life… As I come within a month of retiring from speaking at Toastmasters events, I was speaking just down the road form where it all began.
I was giving my speech, Humor and Hope. Lately, after that speech, I’ve had several people come up to me, excited — but bummed-out — saying, “I don’t have a dream.” This time was no exception. A woman walked up to me and said, “I have too many goals, so I’m not really making progress towards any. What can I do?”
I thought back to my own experience. My first dream was to make people laugh. I thought that “becoming a comedian” was the only path to that goal. I pursued that relentlessly. I took every class I could, got all the stage time I could, and become a best student of any mentor I could find.
Then, while attending a seminar, I met humorist, Rosemary Verri. A humorist? What’s that? A professional speaker? What’s that? I joined Toastmasters and National Speakers Association.
Let me get this straight… the audiences are sober, want a message, speeches are in nicer location, I don’t have to be as funny, and they are going to pay me ten times as much as comedy? I’m in! That was not the game-changer though.
Although I couldn’t afford it, I attended my first NSA conference and was blown away by a speaker and POW, Captain Gerald Coffee. I walked dumbfounded to the pool and wrote a seven-page letter to my mom. For the first time in my life, I found out where I belonged. I had found my home. I knew this was what I would do — in some form — for the rest of my life.
Had I not pursued my original goal relentlessly, I never would have discovered an even bigger dream that I didn’t even know existed! That dream became my passion. At first, it was to become a comedian. Then a professional speaker. Next was to become World Champion. Then it was to become the greatest speaker coach. Now, it’s to become the best Vegas headliner.
These thoughts all happened in an instant. I looked at this bewildered attendee and suggested, “Life is short, choose one and pursue it. If you don’t put a destination into the GPS, you’ll just spend your life driving aimlessly from gas station to gas station (or home to work). Yet, if you pursue the one you are most passionate about, you may just find an ever bigger dream that today you do not even know exists. What could be waiting for you?”
What do you think?
Have you ever discovered a bigger goal while you were pursuing a smaller one?
Are you making any of these Top 10 Speaking Mistakes?