Tag Archives: speeches

Feel Good 5 Friday … Speeches

21 May

I gave a speech.

Most of the time when I talk I got two television-watching adolescents zoning me out as they watch episodes of their newest show on Netflix or DisneyPlus. But this time I had people paying attention for more than just a minute, or at least it looked that way on Zoom.

An old friend asked for a favor, and even though I thought she probably could have gotten a bigger cheese, you know someone with CEO after their name, I stepped up to the plate and gave my advice and thoughts to a few college graduates.

I hadn’t spoken in front of a group in years, I hadn’t been asked to give a speech before. I mean coaching my kids’ teams I give pep talks and all that, but a formal speech was something different. It was a new experience that just landed on my doorstep and even though I was a bit hesitant I gave in to the opportunity. I remembered that Jim Carrey movie, a while back Yes, Man. He wanted to change his life, as it wasn’t going the way he thought it would. Negative and unhappy with his unfulfillment. He sees the power in yes and it sparks change in him and his life.

And so I Yessssssed my way into that speech and inspired a few women along the way. At least I hope. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, perhaps the fact that it was on Zoom, maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t speaking to a crowded stadium. Maybe they all played a role in making the whole production less overwhelming. Speeches can feel that way I guess.

But I felt good about it. I tried to send out those good vibes you need, the kind you feel when you hear a song on the radio you hadn’t heard in a while, and the beat just makes it happen. You feel better. Powerful. Ready. You need those feeling everyday, not just on graduation day. So I tried to get them ready for the “real world” and give them some advice that I hoped would help. I retold a story of my old college days, before computers, where typewriters ruled and white out was your friend. I talked about obstacles and being able to get back up and know that behind every success, failure fueled the engine to reach the top. Personal anecdotes made for funny moments as walking into the dorms for the first time, or meeting a perfect stranger that was about to be your roommate for a year were experiences everyone remembered.

Toward the end, I was glad I had said yes. Sometimes that happens. You’re hesitant about going somewhere, meeting someone, trying something new, committing to an outing. I was glad that Jim Carrey movie popped into my head.

Why not me, right?

And what I learned from writing and giving that speech is that being a motivational speaker is something parents do every day. I mean you wake up in the morning convincing yourself that the alarm clock is your friend, not your foe and that the snooze button is great! But maybe not all the time. After rolling out of bed and doing the million chores, before serving up breakfast, you give morning TedTalks for an audience of two, trying to get them in the right frame of mind to tackle the day, with good intentions and a strong purpose.

You’re a member of the parent world and we have to be ready to talk about life questions, adding and subtracting fractions, prepositional phrases, and SpongeBob Squarepants all in the same day.

Remembered that I didn’t need a CEO title to give someone a little advice, I had plenty of life experience to share. So the “yes” took me to a good place, where I was able to help and pay it forward in some way. Hopefully leaving them with the feel-good feelings you get after you hear the perfect song and it just lifts you up.

The picker-upper. That was me … Buen Camino.

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Matthew Wilder — Break My Stride

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Billie Joe Armstrong Green Day with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles — Manic Monday

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Kinito Mendez — Cachamba

The B-52’s — Rock Lobster

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Kerris Dorsey — The Show

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