I’ve been meaning to write this article for more than ten years. Today is the day. Did you know that the “stage time” philosophy is mentioned in the bible? This is a lesson for all of us — no matter what your faith, religion, or beliefs.
As a practicing (and still learning) Catholic boy, the Parable of the Talents has always been one of my favorites, and it kept me going in my early days of comedy and speaking. If you think about it, it’s about “stage time.”
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
“Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. 14 For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work 270 and gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” (Matthew 25:13-30). 271
This is a simple short story from the Bible. In biblical days, “talents” were money. How ironic. What a great analogy… I love it!
Do you see the parallel to “stage time?” The more you work on your ‘talent,’ the more talent you’ll be given. More responsibility “even with an audience” is given to those with more talent. The cool part is we can all invest what we have now. What you have now is more than enough. Do you bury your talents or invest them?
Want to speak in front of an audience of one thousand? Knock ‘em dead at a local service club and more will be given. In my early days of comedy, I had to perform better than those around me at the open mic nights to deserve the right to perform at a professional comedy show.
In the parable above, the third servant who buried his one talent was afraid he would lose it. His intentions to “protect” the talent were actually good, but he still didn’t do what he was meant to do. In my experience, when I haven’t performed stand-up comedy in a long time, I get ‘rusty.’ Though similar, comedy is still a very different talent from speaking — and it requires a different kind of nurturing.
When you bury your talent, you’re not protecting it. You’re allowing it to atrophy. One of my pet peeves is when people take their experiences for granted, and never speak about them. I see financial planners who have never done a speech at Toastmasters about money… real estate agents who never teach us from the platform how to buy or sell a house! I understand that some may do this because of their fear of being ‘perceived’ as selling. In my opinion, that is burying your talent.
That’s their expertise! That’s where your speaking can do the most good!
The third servant also complained about his master, though he was still entrusted by him. Have you complained about the “small opportunity” you were given? Guilty! I have!
I was an altar boy back in Auburn, MA while growing up. I’ve always enjoyed this parable, though it was somewhat confusing when I was young. Ever since I began stand-up comedy and speaking, I’ve always felt that it was written about “stage time.” No matter what your faith — or lack of — I hope you still see how the story may apply to you.
I feel so fortunate that I never gave up when I felt I wasn’t making progress in my skill and business of speaking. I now feel like I was the servant who was only given one talent — but I appreciated it enough and kept reinvesting what little talent I had to constantly gain more responsibility. I believe I acted like the servant who was entrusted with three talents.
I sincerely hope my thoughts and programs serve you.
What have you been doing with your talents? What will you do with them now?
Have I lost my mind? Are you glad I wrote this article? Were you offended? The truth is good enough. I read all comments on my blog. Let me know your thoughts! Please share them here on my blog…
2001 World Champion of Public Speaking
P.S. God Bless you this Easter. Thanks for being part of my newsletter. Thanks for trusting me with your most valuable asset… your time. Give thanks for all you have each day.
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Another Success Story
Here’s a speaker who has followed my direction. When teaching a boot camp in Sydney, Kathleen pulled me aside and shared her story. I encouraged her to help others who had the same personal challenge, and here’s her first speech on the topic. Click here to watch. Help me, help her. Please share your feedback & words of encouragement below Kathleen’s video on her YouTube channel. Thanks!