Sunday, June 17th, 2012
Be an Athlete!
Years ago, I had a client who didn’t pay me for six months after my work with him was complete. It wasn’t a huge sum of money, but it was compensation for completed work that he, apparently, couldn’t afford to have me do in the first place. Anyway, he finally paid and we both moved on. Three months later he gave me a call asking me to serve as a character reference for him, in some personnel matter he was going through at work. REALLY?! Exactly what would I say? I politely declined, wished him no harm, and moved on again. Earlier this week, the same man called and asked me to invest in his new business venture he was trying to launch, and promised a high return on my investment.
I ask again…REALLY?!
I was sharing this chuckle with some friends and one of my friends said, “I love that guy! That’s the kind of guy I want on my sales team! He’s an athlete!” After the look of shock and amazement finally left my face, I asked what he meant by that. He said, “athletes never think about their mistakes. They may make a 100 mistakes, but they shake it off in an instant and get right back at it for their next try.” That got me thinking about great athletes:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
― Michael Jordan
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.'” – Muhammad Ali
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky
To be a great athlete you have be willing to step up and take a chance. You have to be willing to miss with the hope, strength, and skill of getting it right each time. This guy who kept coming to me, WAS/ IS an athlete! Then it got me thinking about public speakers…THEY MUST be athletes if they want to motivate, move, or even just sway others to act.
So let’s look at what it means for you to be an athlete! As a speaker-athlete you should:
- Practice until you hate hearing the sound of your own voice
- Practice until you can always stay on message
- Take risks, try new approaches, formats, and settings
- Brush off the mistakes…learn from them…and leave them behind
- Practice before you speak, so you don’t have to apologize later
- Don’t be afraid to apologize if you genuinely make a misstep…then leave it behind
Tap into your inner athlete. Step in front of your next audience and win the game. Don’t worry about what could happen, rely on everything you did in preparation to make sure your presentation, interview, or meeting goes well. Speaker-athletes overcome speech anxiety faster than everyone else. Go ahead…take your next shot!
Do you know of some public figures that you would consider “speaker-athletes?” If so, tell me about them!
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