Talking to the 2020 Vision Conference earlier this week I came face to face with the difference between what I know that I’m to do, and actually doing it. There is a difference between fantasizing about something, agreeing to do it, and then spending time in countless meetings or hidden away during a weekend in order to prepare. It is also something else entirely to deliver. Deliver I did. I am proud. I am proud, not because of what anyone else has said to me, but because I knew I could do it and I did it while staying true to my vision.
My vision was to share my story while revealing my process and offering practical steps on how others might craft their own story. I am a believer that it is not just our decisions that others can learn from, it is our process. We need to know that others struggle also…but more importantly we need to know that they survived that struggle.
What resonated for me, as I listened to the other speakers, is the need to be clear, entertaining, and practical. It is my preference that people also get to the point. In my mind I did that, and I’ve long since been my toughest critic which is why I’m so proud of my performance.
I could tell that my message resonated by the responses I got, and that helped to spur me on with the knowledge that I mattered. In this moment, a seed was planted, and I mattered. During the speech I illustrated the point that I have success to talk about when I mentioned that I have, in fact, won an Emmy ®. I heard audible acknowledgment and I knew I had someone’s attention. I also knew that the conference organizer had been a student of my friend so as I mentioned my friend, who is a professor at the university, and I asked who else had her as their teacher. Many hands went up. I saw more hands raised in that moment than at any other time during the conference and I knew I had more people engaged. What really got my attention, and made my night, was the audible acknowledgment I heard when I pointed out that I made an intentional effort to define success for myself, without outside influence. The sound of acknowledgment let me know that there is someone who hadn’t yet considered shutting out all the other voices that could speak into their life. I continued by pointing out that even if I changed my mind to go in another direction, at least I would know which direction I originally had in mind. With another audible acknowledgment I knew that it was important to someone that they could both change their minds and differentiate between what they wanted and what others wanted for them.
Everything we do is not just for the benefit of others. In writing my speech I realized that it was important to note that I didn’t have one goal or destination in mind, I had a set of criteria to meet. I even through in the wisdom of my husband who pointed out that you can achieve a goal and still not feel satisfied (which also got an audible acknowledgment). Truly, a destination, like a definition of success, can be made up of many things. In encouraging the students to adopt and adapt their own process I realized that I had, in fact, adapted mine from the work of others. And in encouraging the students to celebrate even the smallest of victories I realized that it was, in fact, a victory for me to pursue a job that I had passed on four months earlier. In the end I also realized that it is one thing to talk about success and it is another to live it.
When’s the last time you noticed the difference between wanting to do something and actually doing it? What did you learn?
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