(Image by Bluehouse Skis from Pixabay.com)
“A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home”.
There’s an area I’ve had trouble making speaking inroads since I’ve been on my Walk into the Future journey—my hometown.
Never thought my hometown would be the toughest place for me to engage, mentor and help others but it has proven to be a tough place to get invites. The passage above is my reminder that I’m not the only one to struggle to get a message to people who know me—better folks have struggled with this same dynamic, so I guess I’m keeping great company! It would have been easy to just give up and focus my energy into more productive environments but that would have been the simple way for me to proceed.
Perseverance requires additional tactics to reach life and professional goals—so I decided to persevere and keep moving forward on this pursuit.
Finally got the invite to speak during the MLK 2020 weekend at the MLK Banquet as the Keynote Speaker! So, I went from seeking an opportunity in my hometown to having the honor of delivering an important message at the premier event of the weekend—no pressure! 😊
My goal when speaking is always to move the crowd. People want to be entertained, laugh a bit and take something tangible away from these events. The theme of the weekend was: Progression not Regression.
Struggled a bit conducting research for the event since it was open to everyone in the community. Different demographics, backgrounds, and denominations so I couldn’t go into the Keynote with a complete understanding of who would attend. This freaked me out for a bit and then I decided to trust my process for building presentations—one slide at a time.
Looked at previous presentations and blog articles to see if I already had something to fit the theme of the weekend. Nothing matched completely but I recently completed a blog article centered around positive energy in daily interactions. Decided to use positive energy as the progression and negative energy as regression during my speech.
Dr. King’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech was future focused and still relevant in 2020. Leveraged this information to continue to build the foundation of my presentation. Didn’t get deep into Dr. King’s speech but wanted to use it to engage the audience since it was an MLK event.
Introduced the concept of self-awareness to help audience members get a more personal appreciation of progression and regression. Didn’t launch a deep dive on self-awareness but wanted the audience to understand how everyone can control progression and/or regression in their lives. Self-awareness helps eliminate roadblocks, generates an Irie (positive) mindset and thoughts to create positive outcomes.
Dr. King’s dream is still alive and believe everyone in attendance was able to discover how they can enhance progression in the community. Really wanted them to walk out of my Keynote and seek ways to make a difference. I left them with three questions to help seal the theme, Progression Not Regression:
- What can you do?
- Who can you serve?
- What’s stopping you?
The audience response was tremendous during my entire time with them. I feed off audience energy and participation—they brought their ‘A’ game and I didn’t want to disappoint since I’ve been trying to get on the hometown stage for years. Extremely happy for the opportunity and proud of the effort to Keynote this amazing event.
Full disclosure had several aunts, cousins, childhood friends, teachers and my mom in the audience. Nothing like your mom watching you work a room! 😊 Things happen for a reason and I enjoyed my time with the group. Feedback has been great so far so hoping I’m going to receive requests to come back and move the crowd again.
Side note: our high school librarian (retired) was in attendance. I made a point to acknowledge her during my Keynote because she allowed me to spend most of my free time in the library with her during my high school years. I was in there so much she let me check out books to other students like I was an employee. This is where I gained a love for books and reading which eventually led to me pursuing a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology years later. Small things lead to big results! She said all my aggravation was well worth it, now! 😊
How do you ensure positive energy (progression) in your daily interactions? What techniques do you use to combat potential negative energy (regression)?
How will you celebrate Black History month? Thanks!
Thanks to the Hamilton County MLK committee for putting me on!
“Home is where one starts from”.
(MLK 2020 Keynote, Jasper, FL.)