First and foremost, I would like to thank all of those who voted for me in the Next Greatest Speaker and Author competition. Your vote, support, and kind words mean so much to me. I truly appreciate your compassion and encouragement during this competition. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I have not made it to the next round.
As part of the competition I attended a weekend seminar intended to help with our writing, speaking, and audience-building skills. The workshop was worth the trip. I did learn much in the way of the speaker circuit, publishing business, and online marketing industry composition and the techniques and skills needed in each. There was also much I learned personally, about myself, and about my business. What I learned was not promised in the workshop brochure, but was more impactful than anything the courses provided. There were many ups and downs during this weekend. One moment I felt the possibility of being a world famous writer and speaker traveling the world and changing people’s lives. And the next moment I was in the depths of despair thinking others were more competent than me, feeling others did not understand nor accept me and my purpose, believing if I was not named The Next Greatest Speaker and Author I was worthless and had failed. Needless to say, it was a turbulent weekend.
As I worked through the emotions and thoughts I had, I came to a realization. I had a history of trying to be the Next Best Something. In college I wanted to be the Next Greatest Theatrical Director. Then I wanted to be the Next Greatest Marketing Professional. Then I wanted to be the Next Greatest Life Coach. Each time I focused on trying to win a competition, win the approval of authorities, and win the respect of my colleagues. And each time I failed or decided my goal no longer resonated, my self-worth and self-respect plummeted. Luckily this time was different. This time I realized my core limiting belief. This time I finally stopped looking outside of myself for approval and confirmation of who I am. This time I decided to accept, embrace, and fully become me.
In the past I had defined success financially and through industry recognition, and I based my self-worth by the level of this success I accomplished. Finally, after long last, it has finally clicked in place for me, heart, mind and soul. I have redefined success. What helped me redefine success is the spectacularly perfect event that I also happened to be reading for the first time Neale Donald Walsh’s book Conversations with God on this trip. This book really resonated with me. It gave me the confirmation and encouragement that life is more than the physical world we have created. I have hit on this concept throughout my life. I would throw myself completely into theatre, marketing, school, or writing. I would learn what it took to be considered good in each. But as I rose on the ladder of success for each, I found the payoff at the top to be hollow. I may have won the game but I realized that the “game” was just an agreement between a group of people. The game was a set of standards, rules, and goals decided upon by a group of humans. But none of these games were the Truth.
The Truth of Life is beyond any game to which we agree. There is nothing wrong with any of the games, but the man-defined games need to remain in their place. My focus now is on the Truth of Life. I am focused on why we are truly here. I will no longer judge myself by my career, my bank account, my notoriety, my looks, or the company I keep. My compass is now set on how I live each moment. Am I being my true authentic self? Am I being compassionate? Am I focused on unconditional love for myself and others? Am I in a state of gratitude no matter how my external situation appears? This to me is the real game of life. And I am ready to play it. I am ready to break from the mainstream world focused on their self-chosen games and to concentrate my efforts on the Truth of Life. So I may not be the Next Greatest Speaker and Author, but I am certainly on the road to being the Next Greatest Me.