A note from my presentation coach Doug Stevenson:
I'm pleased to announce that I have not been awarded anything lately. I'm not in the Top Ten of any list. I'm not a #1 Best Selling Author. I'm not the world’s top sales or leadership coach. I haven't won any meaning-ful awards and I don't have many designations after my name.
Heck, I dropped out of college to become an actor. I hitchhiked from Chicago to Hollywood with $200 in my pocket and after 13 years giving it my all, I left with my tail between my legs. Hollywood beat me down.
But I am resilient. I'm a Chicago kid who learned to work hard, long hours and to get back up when I got knocked down. Like many of you reading this, I just kept trying. And so, I moved to Colorado Springs and began again. I became a realtor and I helped people find their home. It was an honourable career choice.
Then I discovered professional speaking and my life has been a fascinating adventure ever since. The most important moment in my life, however, was not a career achievement. It was when I proposed to Deborah and she said "yes". That was the pinnacle of success for me. We are coming up on our 25th anniversary soon.
I am no longer driven to prove that I am worthy. I don't need an award or certificate to lift me up. I’ve made a full-time living speaking and teaching storytelling for over 20 years. When I was an actor, I acted inside someone else’s story. I played my part and said my lines. Now, I tell my own stories. I am the author of my own play. I get to use my acting chops in a new way and by golly, I get paid to do it.
I get hired to speak often enough and every once in a while, I get a standing ovation. More often than not, people applaud and stay seated when I'm finished. But I wasn’t there to be celebrated. I wasn’t going for the standing ovation. I was there to help them, to serve them, and to make them think and feel differently. I was there for them, not for me.
I share my wisdom through my stories. They are my gifts, the songs that I sing that make people think, feel and smile. My life has come full circle. I am where I started out to be, only better. Every failure has led to a new beginning. I have lived a life of significance. There will be no Academy Award on my mantle.
My reward, if there is one, is to be happy on a daily basis and know that I am providing value with my words and deeds. I do my best with what I've got. It is enough.
At some point in your life, perhaps you will tire of the striving for accomplishment and settle into the warm cuddly present. Know this: What is yours will find you. Regardless of your age, you've already done enough. Take a deep breath. Breathe in the perfection that is all around you.
You are loved. You are respected. You are worthy.