Picture the moment. It’s early Sunday evening. A lot of people were settled in front of their TV sets for the final numb-down of the weekend. But not where I was. The room I was in was filled with people bursting with the positive anticipation and excitement that accompanies a new beginning.
People were flowing through the doors out of the cool fall evening to be greeted by tomorrow’s superstars! At ten minutes to show time, the venue was packed and the future graduates of The Authentic Speaker Leader Academy for Leadership were vibrating with excitement as they prepared to take the stage.
Music was playing, people were chatting; stage lights and cameras were set, the whole place was abuzz and then those electrifying words: “Please find your way to your seats, we are about to begin” echoed through the room.
When these protégés of The Authentic Speaker Academy for Leadership entered the program they were each warned: This will without doubt likely be the most challenging thing you have ever done, and should you have the courage and commitment to go through to the end and graduate, it will, without doubt, be The Most Rewarding Experience of Your Life!
October 20th was to be the night those words came true! From the stage, I looked out at this wonderful audience of friends, family, support systems and even future applicants and I could feel their tension: they wanted their speaker to do well, to wow the crowd.
But along with positivity came a sense of uncertainty as well. Sure they would applaud and cheers for the person they were supporting–after all that person had the guts to get on stage and do what so many in the audience would never take the chance on doing… potentially bomb. The challenge was that just eight months before, the majority of speakers had never so much as held a microphone, let alone delivered a deeply personal and inspiring presentation.
I could almost hear the words in the minds of each member of the audience: “Oh, I really hope they do well, I am so nervous for them. I wonder why my friend (family member) decided to do this, I had no idea they wanted to be a speaker? I hope they don’t embarrass themselves” and even “I hope they don’t embarrass me, or our family.”
The fears are understandable. At the Authentic Speaker Academy for Leadership, we don’t just learn how to deliver a speech. That’s the easy part. No, each Academy speaker must deliver a deeply authentic and revealing presentation. A presentation that will evoke an emotional response in their audience. A truly authentic presentation.
Each protégé had to learn and accept as reality that this is no longer the information age; it’s the age of shared experiences. Nowadays no one really cares what you know. If you want information, Google has more than any of us can handle. What we want today is shared experiences. When you make a presentation, you better be creating an experience with your audience.
Otherwise, they will forget you and your information as quickly as yesterday’s breakfast. You see each of the Academy speakers now knew what so few know: If you are going to be in business in the future…you better become a masterful public speaker, and (no disrespect meant) traditional speaking course won’t cut it!
As each speaker waited for their turn to take the stage, they were cheered on by their fellow speakers. This program had taken them from being people who desperately needed to belong, who were never going to let anyone in, the lone wolves, the anxiety-ridden perfectionists and the entitled brats and turned them into the most healthy and totally supportive family.
One after the other they took to the stage. There were tears, laughter, shock, and awe. Some of the stories that were told were uncomfortable to share and equally uncomfortable for some to hear. But one thing was for sure– no one left The Authentic Speaker Academy for Leadership Symposium without having been deeply touched. One member of the audience told me that she had cried at what was shared by seven of the nine graduates who spoke. Another person told me that their face hurt from laughing so hard.
The graduates not only took to the stage, they claimed it. They claimed their voices, voices that in some cases had been stolen away by circumstances more than fifty years before. And in so doing they each made a massive difference! Their stories brought tears of laughter and deep awakenings.
They played with the audience and they awoke them up to some very shocking statistics. Each speaker brought their A-Game, baring their hearts and souls out in a most magnificent and powerful display of the fact that Vulnerability is The True Power of Connection! This was their graduating night. But it wasn’t the end. It was the beginning.
That’s the message I want to share with all of you. It’s never the end. It’s always the beginning. Although there may be the temptation to feel like “I worked hard, I can step back now” that would be a huge mistake!
Going back is NEVER the answer!
Something is over because you are done with it. Whatever you think you are missing is nothing more than the creation of your mind, and a way to validate that you are not worth more. Please DON’T go back!
We love you and we know you are worth so much more. Going back by its very nature is a contradiction of your commitment to growing. Honour that part of you that knows you deserve to hold out for exactly what you truly deserve. The world awaits your greatness.
I salute each of the graduates of The Authentic Speaker Academy for Leadership… You are now not only speakers. You are Authentic Speaker Leaders!
Are you ready for the greatest challenge of your life..,(and the most rewarding)?
Are you ready to embrace the fastest most powerful way to grow your business? While I no longer offer the academy, I do offer one on one training.
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