Am I Being True to Myself?
Do you ever get tired of trying to do something the way everybody else does it? I know I do. It always leads me to the question of whether I am being true to myself.
When I first got into the speaking business, I met a lot of people who wanted to give me advice. I took it. Was it the right advice? Maybe it is what worked for them. It does not work for me.
They told me that in order to be successful, I had to pick a lane and stay in it. The problem was I could not define my lane.
I am an inspirational speaker. I am an inspirational person. That is what I do. I inspire people to live happier, more fulfilled lives. I inspire people to be leaders. I inspire people to take chances. I inspire them to be better than they knew they could be. But it seems the people who select speakers for their programs want speakers who are very narrow in their message. Can I do that and remain true to myself?
National Speakers Association
I was told by other members of the National Speakers Association that if I can’t show the decision maker how it will improve the bottom line, I will not get hired. And you know what? That may be right.
So, being faced with that dilemma what should I do? Should I fashion a presentation that is not genuine for me, but that companies or associations might buy? Or should I be true to myself and take the chance that I might never get hired to speak again?
The answer, of course, should be obvious. I will not compromise. My message is too important. It is who I am. Will I take a job talking about some other subject if asked? Sure. I am not against making money. I am a skilled public speaker and have been for almost 60 years. I am able to speak about a variety of topics. And if you want to hear me give a presentation on one of those subjects I will.
That, of course, necessitates that you know I am available as a speaker on that subject. Do you see the contradiction there? If I don’t publicize that I speak on those topics no one would know. And so, I have chosen my lane finally. And it is not the lane people have tried to put me in heretofore. I am going to spend my time helping and inspiring people to live the lives they want to live without fear.
Most of the advice I received was well-intentioned. Some of it came out of jealousy or fear of me encroaching on their territory. That is alright and perfectly understandable.
Your takeaway from this is that you must be true to yourself no matter how difficult it might be. You will know how important your principles are when you suffer a hardship or disappointment that challenges you to choose between your beliefs and a desired outcome. If you really believe in your thoughts, philosophy, aims, goals and principles then stick to them.
In the long run you will be happy that you did.