Don’t Give Up!
February was a very busy month. I had five speaking engagements. Why am I sharing this? Not to brag, but to let you know I was close to giving up. Just when we think we are stretching too far out of reach, the universe hears us and responds.
“The reason being, we all have to start somewhere.”
I’m not a religious person. I do however consider myself spiritual and by that, I refer above to the universe. Your beliefs may be different and I’m ok with any of that, just so long as you come away with the takeaway – do not give up!
The first thing I’ll confess to, is that my speaking engagements were not on huge stages with hundreds of people in the audience. I did not get paid for any of them. I’m okay with both of these. The reason being, we all have to start somewhere.
I spoke to a Rotary Club with about 60 men and women in the room. Not bad! I shared my story and read from my book, The Accident, and actually sold a few copies. Success!
Importance Of First Impressions:
From that engagement, the Rotary invited me to speak to eight of the 11th and 12th-grade high school juniors and seniors who they sponsor and help prepare for interviews, presentations, etc. These kids were incredible listeners. They were engaged, asked great questions, and, like sponges, absorbed the facts and worksheets I brought for them.
We talked about the importance of first impressions, on the phone, online, and in person. They learned that 93% of communications are non-verbal, meaning it’s not what is said, but what people see, which relates directly to body language including eye contact, posture, and listening skills. I left that room as though as I was walking on cloud nine.
My next speaking gig, I shared the stage with three other women book authors. We talked about the struggles women have finding agents and/or publishers. We often are told, “no one will read THAT!” and all four of us proved ‘them’ wrong!
A Rigid Process:
As a burn survivor, I work closely with and volunteer for the Arizona Burn Foundation (ABF), and last fall became aware of a potential grant funding opportunity. In response to the application, three of us were asked to represent ABF in front of a panel of 30+ women members of this grant-funding organization.
“I was thrilled to have such captive audiences in all five scenarios.”
There was a fairly rigid process, which allowed 10 minutes for our presentation and then 10 more minutes for a question and answer period. We were not allowed to bring handouts or other materials. All budget and program information had been distributed prior to the presentation. I was quite surprised when one of the panel asked me to elaborate on my story, which I did totally off the cuff.
When I finished speaking, there was not a dry eye in the room. On March first we received a $10,000 grant to support ABF’s burn prevention programs in school districts throughout Southern Arizona.
Moral Of The Story – Not To Give Up:
The last engagement was with three fifth-grade elementary classrooms. Our local chamber of commerce CEO reached out to me advising me that a local third-grade teacher was seeking volunteers to read to their grade schoolers.
I followed up and asked what book(s) were considered appropriate. The teacher informed me I could choose from a book in their library or one of my childhood favorites. I asked if I reading my book was an option. After she researched my book, she got back to me and said they would be honored to have me share my story. When I arrived at the school, I learned I had been moved from third to fifth-grade classes and three classes were expecting me.
I read my book three times over the next two and a half hours. These 10 and 11-year-olds listened intently. When I completed the book, I was astounded at their perceptions. Their questions were direct and unabashed. I was thrilled to have such captive audiences in all five scenarios.
So, the moral of this story is to not give up. Start somewhere.