What am I doing? Is sharing my story even going to make a difference? Does this even matter?
These were the thoughts swirling around in my head while I rapidly applied my lip gloss in the bathroom moments before I stepped up to the podium to speak yesterday. It’s funny how taking time off from something you’ve grown so confident doing can create so much doubt. It had been three and a half months since my last speaking engagement and that was just enough time for my self-confidence to take a nosedive.
During those months I became completely focused on my health (catch up here). I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on so I could take steps forward to get better. I put my speaking career on hold and even looked into careers with more stability and better health insurance. I was afraid of what the future might hold if I wasn’t healthy. All of a sudden, doing what I love for a living became a luxury.
Rewind to a couple of weeks ago. While I was on the mend and starting to feel like my eternally optimistic self again, I also started to feel lost and unsure of how to organize my time and where to focus my energy. I met with my therapist, who suggested the root of my frustration and confusion was indecision. I had one foot in and one foot out of speaking again. I wasn’t clear where I was going. She was spot on. I knew I needed to make a decision in order to move forward. She told me to make sure once I made a decision to not look back and wonder what would have happened if I’d made the other decision. In essence, make a decision and then dive into it headfirst.
I knew the answer would be made clear once I returned to the podium to speak. Would I leave this speaking event confident I wasn’t finished with this chapter or certain it was time to move on? Clearly, from the beginning of this post, you can tell I had my doubts, fears, and questions, but then I said to myself, Ok, Lord, I’m here. Your turn. Then, just like breathing, it all came back to me and I was in the flow of the moment, connecting with the audience, sharing an experience with them, and that’s when I knew this wasn’t the end, but the beginning.
After I speak comes my most favorite part: hearing the stories of those in the audience. After I open up to show them my heart, they return the favor. They share their pain, loss, heartache, challenges, joy, excitement, tears, and hugs with me. We’ve only just met, but those brief and heartfelt encounters make me feel like we’ve always been friends. I live for these moments and I realize exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing. Our stories make a difference and they do matter. It’s become clear the path I should take, so I cancel an interview and get busy doing the work I’m meant to do.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10 Blessings and Love.
PS – I’d love the opportunity to come share my inspirational message at your next company meeting. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS – Back in 2015 when I published The Ellie Project, a book Andrew wrote and illustrated during the the final months of his life for our then two-year-old daughter, Ellie, I had no idea the impact it would have on families all over the country. It’s sold over 6,000 plus copies, and continues to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who read it. Get your signed copy here.