“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”. – Mary Engelbreit
In 2018, I got the opportunity to tick off an item that had been on my bucket list for the past 8 years – to do TEDx talk. This was a dream come true and I worked incredibly hard on the script. Around the fifteenth draft, I was finally ready to send this off to my coach for review. At this point, I thought I had nailed it and was ready to move onto the next phase of preparing for the stage.
I waited anxiously and with much eager anticipation for the response from my coach. It reminded me of being a teenager and waiting with butterflies for a text message from that someone special. Eventually, the alert came through and I was so excited to hear the feedback. Let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly what I expected to hear….
The short version being ‘Lori, this is not your best. I know there is more inside you and I know you can do better. I think you should start again and let’s touch base when you have a new version’. Again, not what I was expecting at all. In order to deflect my utter rejection and disappointment, I started scrolling the socials. I came across a post on Instagram that said ‘Remember when you wished for the thing you now have’.
It was in that moment that I gained so much clarity and perspective. This had been a dream for so long and I was finally in it. I was living my best life and this was part of the process. I was so focused on the end goal and achieving the outcome. All I wanted was to get the script part done so I could move on to getting stage ready. In that instant, I realized that I had missed the entire point. The fact that I had to start over was a gift. My coach had my best interest at heart, he was someone who saw potential in me and knew I could deliver more. Having someone like that in your corner is a true blessing.
When you watch the talk, it is pure polish. But what you don’t realize is that it took 8 weeks and 36 drafts to get to that polish.
My lesson from the TEDx experience was that the joy is in the journey. If I went from draft 1 to the stage, I would stayed the same person, the same speaker and not gained from the richness of the full experience.
Being a professional speaker, one assumes a TEDx will be plug and play for me. I learned more about my craft and developing a connection with my audience in those 8 weeks than I could have ever imagined. Besides the speaking skills, I developed a new level of empathy and compassion which enabled me to coach others. The whole joy is in the process and the ultimate goal is the culmination of who you’ve become along the way.
Lessons for Covid-19….
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ― Oprah Winfrey
This story stays top of mind for me during Covid-19. I remember back in January 2020 thinking about how I wished that the day could unfold in a slower way. All I wanted was to be able to begin the day with a gentle meditation practice and then launch into the day’s craziness of school lifts, work and all the multiple roles in between. At that stage, my son had just started first grade so I had to be in the gym by 5AM to make it back for the school run. My vocabulary was ‘just hurry here’, ‘quickly check that mail’. It was always go, go, go!!
When lockdown happened and all the usual activity was taken away, my mornings started to unfold in a much gentler way and I had more flexibility on how to schedule my time.
On the days where I feel frustrated and start to take it for granted, I think back to that Instagram post ‘Remember when you wished for the thing you now have’. It makes me stop, reflect and smile. This new normal has given me so many opportunities to slow down in different ways, to create a new interpretation of abundance and appreciate the way it has changed how we operate.
I remember thinking pre-Covid how I would love to have more time with the kids. Again, lockdown presented us with some unexpected roles like home-schooling which provided a new opportunity to spend time with the kids in a different way. Of course it gets overwhelming when trying to balance the home schooling in addition to so many roles and responsibilities that one tends to take this all for granted. It’s very easy to lose sight of the quality time gained and focus on the overwhelm and what you ‘could be’ doing with that time. Perspective also comes from understanding this is impermanent and before you know it, life will quickly resemble what it used to.
The greater lesson from my original story is to remember that the joy is in the journey and not the outcome. If I focused on ‘just getting to the end of lockdown as quickly as possible’, I would miss the everyday experiences and the hidden gifts. The process is where the growth happens, not the outcome. It is remembering that these new challenges are what create a platform for resilience, inner strength and courage to be developed.
Ask yourself ‘How do I want to emerge after lockdown? How do I want my family to remember this time? How do I want to show up to the people that matter most to me?
Then make the days count so that when the outcome happens –when you are through this chapter, you can reflect on how much you have changed during this time. How you have catapulted yourself from your comfort zone to your courage zone.
With my TEDx talk, I embraced the process of starting again, unlearning what I thought a talk needed to be. Maybe this time is about unlearning what we think Covid needs to be.
Don’t just try get to the end. Make each day a stepping stone to create you into the person you will need to be when Covid is over.
No one wishes for overwhelm and challenge but we do wish for gentler days, more flexibility and less car time. On the really tough days remember when you wished for thing you now have…
Here’s to the journey,
Call to Action
Ready to own your days and not feel like they are owning you?
I’ve created an ultimate guide to Show Up To Yourself: In Life & Business. If you follow this daily, you can build new habits — and actually sustain them; schedule yourself into your calendar, guilt free; and manage your inner critic, free of anxiety and fear.