Answering A Calling
“Do you get nervous before you speak?”
It’s a question I get asked often. In fact, someone asked me that today right before I spoke at a volunteer appreciation luncheon. And, the answer is always (truthfully) “No.”
I don’t get nervous before speaking. In fact, it’s very comfortable for me to speak on stage, to one person or 1,000. Teaching a leadership workshop, a communications class, coaching a class on fitness, or teaching a time management workshop are all subjects that I enjoy talking about and teaching on to help others. I’ve got thousands of hours teaching others from one sort of stage or another. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, said the wrong things, and learned to laugh at myself and move on. I think I’ve always felt very comfortable speaking and teaching. As long as I wasn’t speaking about me.
When I first started to share my personal testimony, it wasn’t that I got nervous about it, I just didn’t want to do it. Plain and simple. I didn’t want to talk about me. I had a story to tell – but I didn’t want to share it. I didn’t want to talk about my pain, my scars, or my past. More than that, I didn’t know HOW to talk about it.
I don’t know if we ever get completely comfortable when sharing our vulnerability, our grief, our hurt, and our past shame with others. Of course, it’s gotten easier over the past few years but there is still a little piece of me that wants to keep the topic of my speeches on a safe subject – anything but my story.
Do I get nervous? No. Excited? Yes.
Why? Why do I get excited about speaking on a subject that I don’t like to talk about?
“You have a story. Someone needs to hear your story and only you can help that person.” ~Les Brown
Because I know the power of sharing my story. Because I know how being transparent and sharing my pain can help someone else work through their own. Because I left my career nearly three years ago to answer a calling. That calling is to speak and teach on leadership and resilience, share my story, and help others learn to do the same.
A calling is something bigger than a career and you can’t say no to it. A calling is something that fulfills you in a way that a mere career never will. A calling is something strong enough to get you to share a story that you never wanted to tell, and leave you excited to have done so, because you changed someone’s life when you shared your story.
We all have a story to tell. Who needs to hear yours?
Like many, Resilience and Leadership Expert Ria Story faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. She was forced to play the role of a wife and even shared with other men due to my father’s perversions. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Unlike many, Ria learned to not only survive but thrive.