Thursday, September 23, 2010

Speaking Season - 37 of 37?

Six Great Reasons to End Speaking Season

What happened to 107? Well, I happened - in fact I happened to resign the day after Labor Day. Too much time away from the family combined with not enough belief in my product put me in a position to make a choice many might not understand in today's economy, where many would kill to just have a job, regardless.

But, as a speaker I bill myself as The Champion of Choice - encouraging the world to take responsibility for their  decisions and outcomes, and to make choices that work for them, as opposed to the rest of the world. What kind of Champion would I be to stay in a job that created two highly negative situations: little time with the family I'm supporting, and encouraging families to invest in a program that, while good, didn't resonate with me as much as I'd hoped it would when I accepted the position.

So back to speaking, consulting, coaching, writing, and marketing. If ever there was a time to back up my words as The Champion of Choice, create my Self-Defined Life, and ultimately Speak & Deliver, its now.
Meeting #37 was unique. I had arranged to speak for People to People through Oct. 6, effectively giving a month's notice. This would have put me speaking throughout Colorado, but avoiding a 44-day stretch away from home through WY, MT, ND, SD, and WI. About an hour before the meeting, I ended up on a call with my boss - corporate had made the decision to send a replacement speaker for the rest of the schedule, making my last meeting that night, my last day the next day, to transfer equipment.

I was surprised, since they had previously agreed to the Colorado meetings, but not disappointed. I had given notice with full expectation of any of three scenarios - immediate dismissal, two weeks, or the month I offered for them to find a replacement.

Telling me an hour before the meeting though - that put me in an odd state of mind. A combination of short-timers and anticipation for working the plan I had in place for October a few weeks early. Focus was not easy to get. As I did the meeting in front of a packed house of 400, I found myself second guessing what I was saying, speaking in generalities, and pretty much just going through the motions. My intent was to give a dynamic meeting - go out with a bang, so to speak. But reality is my mind simply left my body on its own to go on stage and rely on muscle memory to get through. I had nothing at stake - so while I was entertaining, I was not effective (by my own judgment).

So, a final learning experience for me - and a teaching point - never tell someone its their last presentation til they've given it!
So now what? In terms of Speak & Deliver, expect posts to go back to speaking advice vs. the travelogue it has been recently. I'll keep updating my speaking career here as well, though much of my day to day experiences will be chronicled on my Champion of Choice blog. I am thrilled (and so are my wife and kids) that I am home again - and more ready than ever to Speak....and Deliver!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Rich. I've been in a similar situation, where I gave the requisite two weeks notice at a job and they told me I should just finish out the week. (It was after 9-11 and,essentially, the publisher figured if I couldn't make this particular magazine a success, no one could, but wouldn't close it down as long as I was willing to keep plugging away with it!) It's shocking and kind of puts your plans in a tailspin. Speaking for myself, it took the "power" I had when I resigned away from me and back in their court. (Keep in mind, this was 10 years ago and I was not the same person).

    All that aside, I'm very proud of you and happy that you made this decision and in such a positive way, too!! You truly are an inspiration to all who read your blog, speak with you, and have the pleasure of knowing you in one way or another.



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