Ever do something really silly, that at the time seemed to make sense? Going back to speak this past weekend to N.S.A. New England was enlightening. I felt like the prodigal son. Seeing mentors and colleagues from the mid 90’s was refreshing. They made me feel welcome. In New England that includes a good hearted teasing as well. It really felt good to give back to those I had learned from. To show them from my experience what I’m doing with my business now that works.
Many of them reminded me, with a smile on their face, just how bad I was at the beginning of my career. Looking back, I know they were right and I’m glad I didn’t know how bad I was or I probably would not have stuck with it. I guess being clueless has its advantages. Most did encourage me back then, but one woman stands out the most, Rosita Perez.
I can still hear her today when a client would ask her to come and speak, but to not sing and not bring her guitar. She would politely reply, “If you don’t want me to bring my guitar, you won’t want me.” She was clear on who she was and had complete integrity.
Though Rosita was not a chapter member, she brought me such hope and belief in myself. She made me feel so good about myself. In fact her spirit made you feel so comfortable that you could say just about anything to her. I remember calling her on the phone just after I had bombed. I just blurted out, “Rosita, I don’t know what happened I did everything right, I even was wearing my lucky underwear.”
Yes, an odd statement it seems at first but look a bit closer. Even professional sports players have their routines they perform before each game. Does it matter? Does it make a difference? As the famous Henry Ford quote says, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” If we believe our superstitious rituals matter, they do.
My previous three presentations had gone very well. I was wearing my “lucky” underwear, so being a bit superstitious at the time I created the belief it was the underwear. Ever create a belief like that?
I don’t remember exactly what Rosita said to me, but I remember how she made me feel. She made it OK that I bombed. She reminded me, even the best bomb sometimes. At the time, I had so much to learn as a speaker but I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. I had no idea how much I could do to get better. I thought I was good enough.
I’m more of a student of speaking now, than I was in the 90’s. I’m willing to bet that at that time three speeches went well because I was in front of the right audience with the right message and most importantly the right intention. I’m willing to admit that the one I bombed at could have easily been the wrong audience (for me) or the wrong intention. Most likely it was a combination of both. A dose of humility, when we get overly confident for the wrong reasons, is crucial to your ultimate success.
I’ve still fallen on my face many times since then, but I continue to make progress. I hope you do too. I’ve retired my “lucky” underwear and know that every audience is different. I’ll have a unique connection with each audience. I’m not the best speaker for every audience. Neither are you. Some will be better than others. Some will take away a deeper message from you than others. I do know this, when your intention is right everything is better.
I’m honestly not exactly clear on the message for you from this article. I felt the need to write it. I’m hoping that opening up completely will somehow help you in your life’s journey. I’d love to hear what this article meant to you or what message you got from it. I read all posts on my blog. Please let me know.
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2001 World Championship of Public Speaking
P.S. Holidays got you STRESSED? Watch a funny video on YouTube! Here’s one of mine… Funniest Toastmaster Speech.
I get emails . . .
This one came from Rosemary, my mentor, who introduced me to NSA in 1995 and held my hand when I was just a cub in this industry.
You were terrific. This Saturday presentation was without flaw. But more, it was very complete, very informative, very intelligent, very professionally put together and very professionally delivered. It was easy to listen to — you have such good pacing.
Oh Darren, I’m so happy for you! I hope all the success continues uninterrupted. You’ve made wonderful contacts for yourself and you put out a product to be proud of.
It seems like yesterday that you came to NSA… and all the hard work seems like an after thought!
Thank you again for the “Stars” DVDs. You are good to me. I appreciate it!
She is hysterical…check out the video on her homepage.