I spoke to a group of financial consultants and advisers at a private consulting firm yesterday. Not a big group, men and women, young to middle-aged. Nice people. Great energy.
Nothing very surprising in that you might think. Speakers speak to audiences all the time. Motivational speakers, leadership trainers, life coaches, facilitators, workshop, seminar and webinar leaders.
Audiences in commerce and industry, educational and religious institutions, service and community organisations, sports teams.
However there were a few observations which are worth thinking about.
- The tangled path of contacts that put me in touch with the right person to set up the presentation.
- The value of networking.
- The interest in my topic – Overcoming and Thriving on Adversity – from people who do not seem to be experiencing Adversity.
- The consequences of decisions made years ago that led me to the levels of confidence and skill necessary to deliver yesterday’s speech.
- The journeys and adventures of my life that gave me the experiences which are the raw material for my stories. Stories that make my speaking unique.
You could make similar observations about your life, every one can, but too often we don’t.
That’s sad because reflecting on these observations can open up whole new futures for us, give us clarity, allow us to focus, discover our mission, our true purpose in life.
Looking back at what we have done, how far we have come, challenges we have overcome, can give us the perspective to overcome adversities that we are facing now, help us thrive on any adversity that we might face in the future.
Each of the 5 observations I listed could be an essay on their own, they might become future posts on this blog. For today, I will string them like small beads on a thread to stimulate you to reflect on your own beads on your threads.
As a shy 18-year-old I left the farm to start my first job in the city. The bravado I thought I had acquired from riding spirited horses and working with unruly cattle evaporated in an instant when faced with the prospect of talking to strangers.
My mother persuaded me to take a Dale Carnegie course to build up my self-confidence. It changed my life. One of the best decisions I ever made. That single decision at that period in my life, started me on the journey which allowed me to experience all the others on that list of observations.
The increased self-confidence, led me along a career and business owning path that gave me my unique experiences. A rich combination of adversity, heartache and success.The path eventually led me to a new country on a new continent, to a new type of business activity.
My past experiences with adversity and turmoil aided by the endurance gained through years of ultra long distance running, helped me survive a heart attack and change direction yet again.
The change of direction created a need to build up a network of contacts which led me to several organisations where I could meet people and develop my speaking skills.
Working on a project with a fellow member of one of those organisations led us to discuss the business of speaking, that led to an introduction and today’s speaking opportunity.
All those beads on the thread representing my life’s journey came together at just the right time and in just the right way to make yesterday’s presentation happen, for me to deliver a message, to entertain my audience and to share a different perspective on adversity.
Some of those beads will enhance another thread that will lead to more opportunities. A new bead is already forming from discussions after my talk, that bead will materialise into more contacts and more speeches.
It’s a reminder of the quotation by Soren Kierkegaard that I quoted in this post:
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward”.
We can’t live in the past, but we can understand events, circumstances and consequences from the past to help us live a better life forwards.
How can you use some of the beads on the thread of your life to live a better life forwards?
photos courtesy photostock & Boykung / freedigitalphotos.net