Recently I was able to do something that I have never done before: speak to 1200 people over 2 days up on the big stage. I was asked to speak to the incoming new students about managing anxiety at Keene State College. The experience and collaboration with the student affairs folks was truly amazing, totally went off without a hitch and was well received.
Some of my clients are dealing with pushing the edge, riding the wave, creating something new, taking risks. For me it was a calculated risk because even though I have never done a Ted style talk on the big stage, I have done hundreds of hours with groups of smaller sizes. So when the college asked me to do this it felt right, and my work heretofore was leading me into this arena of public/motivational speaking. It just felt right.
I had a session last evening with someone who is looking at morphing her role in her company. She is feeling hemmed in by her current role and wants to approach her boss about a new position that she is creating (in her mind) based on a real need in the organization. This could be a risk to put out there to her boss because the answer might be no. Also, if others find out they might think she isn't committed to her current department and role. And her major fear is that her boss might say no and use this to push her out the door. So in coaching her, we got into the vision of the new role, which excited her. Then we talked about all of these potential landmines and explored how to mitigate them should they arise. And we talked about the choice of staying unhappy in a current role or seeking to go towards the positive energy she is feeling.
After my talks were through I had several students come up to me and ask me questions, some have me high fives and some were sobbing or crying. People are dealing with anxiety and depression all over the place and I struck a cord. I shared some of my own past pain up there on the stage and it connected them to me. After all I am a human being too not immune to the slings and arrows of time.
After taking this calculated risk I want more. I had a filmmaker film the whole thing and he is going to make a full length movie out of it and give me whatever video clips for marketing I want. I will pander this to other colleges and businesses to get more speaking gigs. I love being on the stage, connecting with a large audience, and being as real as possible. I never would have known this if I would have played it safe.