This last Sunday morning, I “signed my talk.” You might remember from last week’s Coaching Digest that I said: “When I get up on the stage on Sunday morning in San Antonio, I will be “signing” my talk. It will be recorded, and in that way, frozen in time. That’s the best it can be in that moment. Do I feel pressure about that? Yes, of course! And pressure is a phenomenal catalyst for growth. One of the things I’ve learned since publishing Dancing the Tightrope is that the book is what I could digest and communicate in that moment. It was already out of date by the time I published it. I’ve continued to learn and grow, but that is no reason to wait to publish the book.
The journey to prepare for this talk has helped me clarify my thinking in ways I could not have anticipated before I started. Every mistake along the way has given me another chance to recalibrate my internal guidance system, so that I’m more and more finely tuned into the signals that guide me along the way.”
Every moment of this event, which started on Thursday evening, was an opportunity to tune into the signals that surrounded us. While I was tuning in, so was everyone else. Imagine for a moment one of the best conferences you’ve ever been to. What made it so good?
I’ve been reflecting on what made this one so good. On the first day, I was one of four presenters on the panel on Self Awareness, right before lunch. When we finished, I sub-consciously expected everyone to run for the doors, which is typical for the conferences I’ve attended for the years. Instead, most people were standing around talking to each other, or waiting their turn to talk to the different members of the panel.
The other thing I noticed was that there were no “us and them” cliques. Everyone seemed to like or want to get to know everyone else, without a barrier between the presenters and the participants.
The level of engagement was off the chart. When I was on stage, both for my speech and on two panels, the whole audience was paying full attention. We were speaking to their eyes, not the top of their heads while they scrolled their phones. This is remarkable and with 200 people in the room, that level of attention creates a palpable energy.
In truth, that energy carried everywhere. When I attended this event last year, I noticed something on the first day that I found to be true again this year. The presenters each shared their message in their own unique way, and they did it from the heart, without having a sense of competition or trying to prove themselves.
If you have ever heard a beautiful choir, whose voices blend in harmony in ways that make a sound that no single voice ever could, that’s what I experienced this weekend. While the TIC (Teach, Inspire, Connect) talks were delivered solo, and the panels were a quartet, the overall experience was that of a choir, where every voice lifted up the other voices, each singing their part of the whole with their full hearts.
It takes generosity of spirit to show up as an orchestrator, and the Schiller family, who organized this event overflowed with sparkling selflessness. As a result, they generated something that none of us could have created alone.
Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself for the last few days:
What would happen if you let go of your personal agenda for a moment to lift up someone else’s? In what ways can you turn your full attention to someone that matters to you? How can you be more generous of spirit in everything you do?
One of the ways others have been generous of spirit with me was to give me honest feedback on my talk. My daughter Jen arranged for me to deliver it to her National Speakers Association chapter in Asheville in late September, and my Writer’s Salon group also gave me the floor to practice in mid-October. The feedback that both groups gave me was essential, especially around the opening story I told. I absolutely LOVED the story and felt like it would be the perfect opening for the talk. Neither group agreed. In fact, it fell completely flat both times. Since it was two for two, I listened to them and dropped the story. I’m so grateful that they were willing to give me such honest feedback. I have no doubt that it made the speech land in ways that simply would not have happened if I had stuck to the original plan.
If you didn’t catch any of the event on the livestream I mentioned in my last Coaching Digest, you can still do so.
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