I Can Do That! What Will You Do This Year That Will Scare You?
I learned an important lesson recently about personal growth. I want to share it with you today and issue a challenge to you at the end of this article.
A few months ago I was asked to emcee a banquet for a non-profit organization at their annual fundraiser. Even though I had done quite a bit of public speaking, I had never emceed a fundraiser before, where not only would I ask people for money, but in a way felt responsible for how much money was raised.
In the days and hours leading up to the event, the questions in my mind were: Am I good enough to pull this off? Will I embarrass myself? Will I forget my lines, my jokes, my poignant points? Will this be a flop? It seems these types of questions and self-doubt invade our minds when we are trying to rise to new heights.
My First Experience as an Emcee
I prepared well. I typed my notes. I rehearsed the introduction of several people, including a nationally acclaimed speaker. I practiced the opening and closing lines in front of a mirror, as I always try to do before a public speaking engagement. I wanted to be comfortable and confident. After all, I was asking people to trust me enough to donate money.
It was harder than I thought, but I executed my role the best that I could. My wife and several close friends were there to help coordinate the event, and we pulled it off as a team. Our donation goal was $25,000. We raised $35,000! I felt good about the evening. Several people also affirmed to me that I did well. However, the lesson that will remain with me actually came the week after the event when I was talking with my mentor, Pastor Peter Rahme.
Now I Can Say, “I Can Do That!”
Periodically, I share with Pastor Peter key events in my life and ask for his advice or feedback. As I recounted to him how I had prepared and how the fund-raiser had unfolded, to my surprise he responded, “Okay, now you can say, ‘I can do that!’” I was not exactly sure what he meant.
What Does “I Can Do That” Mean?
Pastor Peter explained that my experience and performance as an emcee did not put me in a position to say, “I am perfect at this.” Nor can I say, “I am comfortable with this.” I cannot boast, “I know everything there is to know about this.” But in the stillness of my own heart and mind, I can confidently say, “I can do that.”
I can do that! means this activity is no longer a scary unknown. Before this experience, my predominant thought was I don’t know if I can do that. Now, if I were asked to do something like this again, it will not scare me as it once did. Now it is in the category of the possible.
Next Peter asked me, “What else are you going to do in 2017 that you can add to your list of, ‘I can do that!’”
First Experiences Are a Rite of Passage
Like anyone, there are things that seem scary to me: things I have never done, things I don’t know that I can do, things I don’t know that I will be successful with. In the weeks ahead, I will be launching a new membership site in which I will share brief leadership videos with other leaders. I will ask people to pay for what I teach. While I have done many live conferences, this is the first time I will do something like that.
The same questions swirl through my mind that I had before I emceed the banquet. Can I do this? Am I good enough? I felt the same reservations and uneasiness before I started my blog, before I first spoke on leadership, and before I hosted my first conference. I experienced the same doubts when I opened my first clinic and launched my first business. Now I can look back on those experiences and say, “I can do that!” I can do all of those things.
I’ve already started recording videos for my new membership site. It’s new, and there are plenty of unknowns. But one thing I do know? By the end of 2017, I will share with Pastor Peter, this is another thing I have added to my list of I can do that! Even though I am afraid at times, even though in some endeavors I fail at first, I can still look back and say, “This is doable. I can do that!”
So I want to issue you the same challenge Pastor Peter gave me: What will you do this year that you can add to your I can do that! list?
For Further Reading: