Several years ago, I heard what can best be described as an ‘inspirational’ speech, in which the presenter…whom I’ll call Jessy…shared one long story about a single main character…whom I’ll call our hero. Now if you’re thinking, “Not another HERO’S JOURNEY article!”, please stay with me. Believe me, that’s NOT the focus of my remarks.
Jessy skillfully took us on our hero’s life journey, spanning pretty much their entire life. I won’t go into the details here because they really aren’t relevant. At the end of the presentation, I remember thinking to myself, “Jessy ticked all the boxes for presentation style, language, stage presence, vocal variety, setting the scene, creating empathy for the hero, and painting a clear picture of their struggle and success.” However, it felt hollow, firstly because it was impersonal; Jessy said NOTHING about their own story or the impact that the story had on THEM. (I’m not going to elaborate on that here; I wrote about the PERSONAL STORY earlier this year.) Secondly, the story was about a well-known Olympian…well…well-known if you’re familiar with the 1960’s! 😁 That elicited an “I’ve heard this before” feeling within me, because I had. Several times. That, I confess, is why I was so neutral about the speech.
Since then, I’ve reflected on that experience, and I’ve spoken about it in workshops and during one-on-one coaching sessions with clients. Recently, during one of my moments of reflection, something else about that presentation got my attention. It was obvious from Jessy’s passion for the story that to them, our hero was, and continues to be, a great source of inspiration. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought, but I’m older now (and I’d like to think a bit wiser) and I realize that several speakers continue to tell stories of famous athletes, entrepreneurs, entertainers, business tycoons, adventurers, etc., because they have one thing in common. They are all INSPIRATIONAL. And who doesn’t love a good inspirational speech? This begs the question: how can WE make our next inspirational speech more personal, especially if we don’t think our lives are inspirational? Here’s an idea. Find inspiration CLOSER TO HOME. I did.
My Princess, my firstborn, my daughter Andrene, is MY inspiration. In November 2018 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS. It is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. THERE IS NO CURE FOR MS, but my Princess isn’t waiting around to see what will eventually happen to her. No. She chooses to live her life to the full. If she experiences pain, she finds a way to cope. She remains active, and consistently goes to Orangetheory Fitness several times a week.
If her knees hurt, she uses kinesiology tape and keeps going. Without trying too hard, she inspired me to start going to Orangetheory Fitness as well…even though we don’t even live in the same state!
For my birthday, she and her husband Roland bought me various weights, a 12-pound medicine ball, an exercise mat, resistance bands, microfiber cooling towels, and even weightlifting gloves! (Were they trying to tell me something?🤔) When the pandemic prevented us from going to Orangetheory, she pointed me to the AT HOME WORKOUTS on YouTube. When she visits during holidays, we usually attend a class together, or work out together on the back deck.
My Princess could justifiably make excuses for slowing down but she’s having none of that. She is excellent at her work as an attorney and she pushes through all her physical challenges. She loves and fiercely protects her family, and since she calls herself a Daddy’s Girl, the blessing of being her father is my Daddy’s Delight…a delight which overflowed last year when I had the joy of officiating her wedding. Andrene’s work ethic is an inspiration. Her attitude is an inspiration. SHE is my inspiration.
Am I sharing all this to brag? OF COURSE! I’m also sharing this to encourage you to FIND INSPIRATION IN FAMILY. I realize and acknowledge that some individuals reading this may not have inspirational family members…or family members at all. Believe me, I’m sensitive to that and I respect that. However, I’m asking you to LOOK for sources of inspiration within your personal circle. When you share stories from your personal sources of inspiration, you reveal a piece of you, and you establish or strengthen your connection with your audience.
I believe that we can reach the world abroad, by looking closer to home.
DREAM BIG; WORK BIGGER!