I don’t know how busy your schedule is, but for me – it’s a grind. The longer you’ve been speaking, the more your name is known, most likely the busier your calendar.
For the past few months, I have averaged maybe three days off per month. I might have had a couple days more here and there, but I’ve been on the road at least 26 days of each month.
In one of my recent programs, I felt that my mental approach had shifted back to the old me. I was at the largest high school in Alabama – and I doing ninth grade and a mix of different grades in the gymnasium. They weren’t prepared with the sound system. It was an outside client that brought me in. The kids were all seated – scattered around – so I think you can get the picture.
I had to bring all of the kids closer. That wasn’t a problem. But I shouldn’t have to do that. I started speaking into the microphone, and the battery was dead – so I was getting all of these intermittent squeaks…
The kids were all laughing – about 600 of them. I am sure I would have laughed too when I was 14. But despite these hiccups, I felt I handled it well. Here’s the thing: You can’t focus on the expectation or your contract rider and how they set everything up. This is education. The only thing that we have the power to focus on is the objective, how we approach it – and our attitude…
As as I looked at that night and what did I do wrong, I realized something. I didn’t mentally prepare myself going in.
I want to share what that looks like:
Before I go into a school, I stop my car and I just breathe – I do yoga, it’s called ujjayi breathing – inhale through the nose – exhale through your nose for a count of four – inhale peace, exhale love. I do that for a couple of minutes to really bring down any possible anxiety. This is different from stress. It’s never about stress, because this is incredible. It’s the greatest job in the world – but I want to be present.
I want to be in the moment. I don’t want to think about other speaking engagements or what my assistant is doing. I don’t want to think about what my media team is up to or how the nonprofit is doing. I want to center myself in the present.
When I feel centered, I pray. (I don’t share that with many people.) I just ask God to work through me to reach the hearts of these young people: “Father, please give me the appreciation of remembering my responsibility in the words we use and the seeds we get to plant…”
All these kids and teachers are dealing with something within the four walls of their homes. We have the ability to plant a seed to impact, influence and maybe even change their lives.
I ask God for guidance in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.
When I started doing that years ago, so much changed in my presentations. I was more present. I felt like there is a higher power making me succeed and delivering this message.
We rushed from one school to another that day because we had a couple of crisis situations, and I was a little frustrated that we were in the gymnasium. The auditorium was gorgeous. I know that because we were there last year. I wondered why we weren’t there again – but you have no control...
But that late afternoon assembly was awesome. I was so proud of those kids for being so incredible.
You might be in public speaking like I am. Maybe you’re doing two talks a month – or ten – or maybe your schedule is insane like mine.
I always say, “Take time to think.”
Know the signs. When you start getting greedy or have these high expectations – and you are thinking this is about you – that’s the red flag. You need to do some soul searching.
Remember that you have such an incredible responsibility in who you are and how you present yourself.
It’s not about you. It’s about the message you deliver and the way you deliver it.
I really want you to see the signs. Know your responsibility. Deliver from your heart and plant seeds.
On or off the platform, you’ve always got to check yourself. And this applies to anybody.
Find a routine that works for you. It will make all the difference in the world.
For more about Jeff Yalden and The Jeff Yalden Foundation, go HERE.
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