I don’t even know where to begin….
Last week I experienced something that felt like the culmination of my ‘gap year.’ A graduation. A resurrection.
Here’s some background:
When I completed my Ph.D. in 1994 I serendipitously found myself keynoting large conferences all over the country. Even though I’d never taken speech or acting classes, I loved inspiring large audiences because I was so passionate about waking them up to the power of the mind/body connection.
But in 2003, after my husband’s family business bankruptcy, I decided I needed to take a “real job” and I left my speaking career to run programs for a 5-star destination spa and then opened my own business.
I’m beyond grateful to have been able to support my family financially while having the flexibility to be home every morning and afternoon to raise my son. But after taking him to college last year I wondered if it might be possible to return to the speaking career I’d loved so much.
You can only imagine what it was like to begin looking for ways to “put myself out there” again. I felt like Robert DeNiro in “The Intern” when the first potential client asked me to send them a demo speaking video – and all I had was a VHS TAPE (!!) that I’d used to promote my work 15 years ago.
That’s when the angels sent in my circle of friends. Through one dear friend, I was introduced to another woman who became a dear friend. That friend happened to hold a position of authority and, having seen me in action at retreats, trusted that I had what it took to be a keynote speaker at her company’s annual convention.
Sisterhood gave me the big break I needed.
But it wasn’t as easy as it might seem. I had 3 months to prepare – and for the first 2 months, I was paralyzed with fear. I truly didn’t know if I still had what it took.
Then I willed myself into action. Designing and redesigning slides. Making outlines….cutting sections…adding them back…cutting them again. Rehearsing in my mind for miles as I walked each day around the lake.
It turns out that a whole lot of life experience actually made me better at teaching than ever before—as long as I could get out of my own way. That was the key. Getting my old “inferior ego” (I’m not good enough, I’m too old, etc) in the back seat— not letting her take center stage. (Can you relate to THAT?)
Once my slides were done I focused on the big question of “what to wear.” I tried on dresses, jackets, pants, shoes….finally deciding on what felt like the real me.
During my prayer and meditation every morning leading up to the event I asked for guidance and envisioned myself successfully delivering the keynote to an engaged audience.
The day of the presentation I woke up at 5 am to pray and do my morning yoga. Then I hopped on an elliptical in the hotel gym and mentally rehearsed the talk. I showered, got dressed and walked to the convention center where my client so graciously provided a makeup artist to get me ready for the stage.
My prayer as I stood backstage was: “May the words of my mouth meet the needs of their hearts.”
When I walked onto the stage I wasn’t nervous. I was happy. I looked around at the 1800 shining souls and felt a surge of love in my heart and a wave of enthusiasm to share what I came to teach.
50 minutes flew by. There were “ahas” and laughter. There were moments of recognition and reflection. And at the end, there was cheering and applause.
This was my resurrection. I’m so grateful.
Do you have a burning desire to do or be something that you’ve pushed aside thinking it’s too late in life to do or be it? I’m hoping my story inspires you to dust off those desires and go for it!
It’s never too late to create the life your soul desires to live through you.