It’s Not About You!

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its not about you“I was afraid to speak in public”, she confessed.

This was a surprising to me due to the fact that the person with whom I was speaking was a professional speaker.

I was meeting with Melonie Dodaro, author of the book, “The LinkedIn Code”, owner of Top Dog Media, and international key note speaker on how to use LinkedIn to drive sales.  She travels all over North America and Europe speaking.  Typically public speakers are not afraid of public speaking.

“Tell me the story, how did you get free of your fear?”, I inquired.

As the story goes Melonie had hired a coach to work with her on a number of things, but one of them was helping her get free of her fear of speaking.  On the day of her breakthrough she was traveling to a speaking engagement, getting more nervous and anxious the closer she got to her destination.

Her coach phoned her Just before the event was to begin.  They talked about a number of things as she told him how afraid she was.  He then said something very simple that had significant ramifications…

“Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about the audience.”

That declaration hit her like a ton of bricks.

She began to realize she was making this all about her.  All she focused on was her fear, her insecurity, her worry, her anxiety.  And what was that fear all about?  It was about how the audience would receive her.  Would they welcome her and receive what she was offering?  Would they think she did a good job?  Or, would they reject her?

She was making this all about her.  At that point in time, when her coach exhorted her to make it about the audience, she decided to do just that.  Her focus would now be on the audience, and delivering content that was informative and valuable, in a fashion that was compelling and engaging.

Her primary objective became ensuring the audience received great value for their time.  She would ensure they left her session well equipped to change their behaviour to get the results they were looking for.

Her fear dissipated when she took her focus off herself and put it on providing value for her audiences.

I believe we can choose to focus on one of two things:  We can look in the mirror, or we can look out the window.  When we spend our life looking in the mirror we’re focusing on ourselves, and everything behind us for that matter.  It’s very difficult to see the needs of other people when we focus on ourselves constantly.

We can choose, however, to look out the window instead of the mirror.  Living your life looking out the window is choosing not to focus on yourself, but on others.  It’s looking forward, not backward.  It’s seeing the big picture.  In Melonie’s case, it’s focusing on the needs of her audience, not on her needs.

So how about you?  Look at the areas of your life and leadership where you may be afraid; now figure out what you’re focusing on.  Have you made it all about you, or about those you’re leading, or serving?  Are you more concerned about the impact of decisions, and directions on you, or their impact on those you lead?

Are you looking in the mirror, or out the window?

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Gandhi is saying, “The best way to find yourself is to stop looking at yourself and look to the needs of others.  Stop looking in the mirror and start looking out the window.”

Who is the “audience” that intimidates you?  Is there an audience that makes you afraid?  You have a choice to make just like Melonie: will you continue to make this about you, or will you choose to make it about your “audience” – those you lead or serve?

The choice is yours.  Stay in your fear, looking in the mirror focused on yourself, or get free of your fear by looking out the window and focusing on others.

It’s not about you!  It’s about your “audience”!

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Leading and Living on Purpose.