Updated: Oct 28
We land in Nagpur, India, around 7 am, ready to be picked up for the last part of the journey to Amravati. Nine of us, out of the total of 18 speakers, are on the same flight from Delhi. We see a young man running towards us with a big smile. He greets everyone with a genuine hug, and we all get on a bus. Halfway into our journey, I realize he is the same guy who reached out to me a year prior, offering to sell an app that (among many other nifty features made specifically for authors) would allow you to record your audiobook. It sounded tempting, but not something I wanted to prioritize at that moment. We agreed to connect at a later time. I apricated that although he was a VP of Sales, he didn’t push. Now, over a year later, I can proudly say that on October 14th, in honor of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj, in Amravati Maharashtra, I delivered a speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
WHAT IT TOOK TO SPEAK IN FRONT OF 500+K LIVE AUDIENCE
Have you ever gone through the process of connecting all the events that led to something particularly meaningful in your life? Being on this journey to Amravati, Maharashtra, to deliver a speech to a 500K live audience started with that one LinkedIn message and my agreement to get on a zoom call. There were many actions taken prior to the call and after the call for all of it to come together. Still, had I not agreed to that call, I would not have connected to the person leading this mission. In turn, he would not have reached out to me with a message on LinkedIn letting me know that he is heading to India to speak and looking to bring speakers with him if I was interested. What did it take for me to end up on that stage addressing the crowd and inspiring thousands to be kind to one another? In this blog, I share what I felt and thought it took going into this, as well as my reflection after the fact.
HOW I FELT TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO DELIVERING THE SPEECH
🎁I feel honored to be part of this experience
⛑ I feel ready!
👓 I feel confident!
What did it take?
😲 Open-mindedness to even get on the initial call
🤔 Guts to say yes to something that hasn't been done before
😚 Encouragement from my children to go for it
🤓 Support from my spouse to follow my gut
😨 Being comfortable being uncomfortable to stretch your comfort zone!
HOW TO EMBRACE FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE
There were so many questions that needed to be answered. The whole thing sounded crazy. My main question, besides making sure that it wasn’t a scam and it was safe, was to understand what I could say that would be relevant to this particular audience. When I learned the audience would be anyone from field workers to doctors and C-level executives, it became even more apparent that I had no idea what I could say for it to be meaningful. My own limiting beliefs of what I had to offer were taking over, and it took this one powerful sentence to help me get over it, “All you have to do is show up with love for the people. I thought, “If the person selecting speakers to join him on stage has no doubts, why should I?” I was faced with a choice. I could either say,
1. “Thank you, but I don’t feel comfortable agreeing to this with so much ambiguity” or
2. “I am willing to take one step at a time and be ok with feeling uncomfortable.”
I decided that I would go to the Bootcamp, organized to meet each other and to work on the speech. If, after taking this next step, I didn’t feel comfortable with delivering the speech or going to India, I wouldn’t go. What helped was to take something as big as “Speaking in front of 500K people in India” and break it down into smaller, more achievable tasks. The key was to decide what would be a breaking point at which I would just walk away. I decided on the following,
1. Feeling unsafe was a strong reason to walk away
2. Feeling “uncomfortable” due to lack of clarity or experience was not a good enough reason to walk away.
I committed to embracing feeling uncomfortable. If you look at feeling uncomfortable as an opportunity to grow, you are more likely to welcome it rather than try avoiding it. And with that in my mind, I embarked on this journey of delivering a speech in front of a 500K live audience.
The most surprising part of all was that by the time it was time to deliver the speech, I was so prepared and so confident, there was nothing uncomfortable being on that stage addressing the large crowd. Not a single butterfly in the stomach.
WHAT I THOUGHT IT TOOK AFTER IT WAS DONE
When we reflect on our experiences, good or bad, we often extract valuable lessons. After all was said and done and I was reflecting on the experience, I added a few other things to the list of what it took to deliver that speech and inspire hundreds of thousands of people,
🤔Flexibility and being OK with ambiguity
🤔Ensuring your Emotional Intelligence was at its highest
🤔Encouragement from the incredible group of speakers embracing the same journey
🤔Embracing the unknown
🤔Knowing that even if it does not go how you want it to go, you will learn, and you will grow from the experience
🤔Trusting people you didn't know
🤔Respect for everyone around you
🤔Actively looking for the good even at times when doubts took over
🤔BEING A KIND HUMAN not just with words but with ACTION
My speech was about spreading kindness.
It is important to lead by example and walk the walk in everything we say and do. How do you lead by example?
We all face challenges in life. Some challenges define us; some try to break us, but all challenges give us valuable lessons.
We can NOT control what may come our way. However,
WE CAN CONTROL THE CHOICES WE MAKE AND THE ACTIONS WE TAKE.
A few years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
As my daughter and I came home from the hospital, her being extremely sick and me still having a full-time job, I faced a challenge.
Have you ever had to prioritize and sacrifice for the sake of your family?
My employer and my co-workers were there for me every day throughout my challenge.
THEY CHOSE TO PRIORITIZE MY CHILD’S HEALTH
THEY CHOSE TO SUPPORT ME DURING THE WORST TIME
THEY CHOSE TO BE KIND
THEY CHOSE TO BELIEVE THAT
WE ARE ONE!
In Business, we often need to be reminded that
WE ARE ONE TEAM
When we create an environment where all voices are heard, and solutions are created collaboratively, our customers get better products.
WE MAY FACE CHALLENGES, BUT THAT’S OK
WHEN WE FACE CHALLENGES, WE GROW;
WE BECOME MORE RESILIENT;
WE EXTRACT LESSONS AND WE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE!
F. Y. A. I. L = FYAIL
This acronym stands for FACING YET ANOTHER IMPORTANT LESSON.
As my daughter's cancer treatment began... I experienced FYAIL.
While in the hospital there was some noise in the background. I was focused only on my daughter.
My daughter, however, turned to me and said, "Mom, do you remember the shell I painted while waiting for my Chemotherapy? Can I give it to the little girl that is crying ? Maybe she will feel better?"
I had been so focused on my daughter that I didn't even notice the other little girl crying.
WE CAN ALL CHOOSE TO BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER
WE CAN ALL CHOOSE TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND
TO SPREAD THAT KINDNESS BY INSPIRING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME!
WE NEED TO BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE
WE ARE ONE!!!
WE ARE ONE TEAM!
WE ARE ONE!!!
OH, AND ONE LAST THING
MY DAUGHTER IS NOW CANCER FREE!!!
You can watch it on YouTube!