For a rainy day

November 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm 1 comment

Recently I received a newsletter with this very title from a speaking coach. Not just any coach, but one I know and have worked with. Jeremy Tracey.

As speakers, writers, performers and artists, we are probably more used to hearing about something we haven’t done well, or a way we need to grow. We are incessant machines sometimes when it comes to personal growth and improvement. Or perhaps it’s our own words of an inner critic talking to us.

Jeremy’s line in one workshop was, “Do you want validation or education?”
I answered, “Both.”

I had worked hard to get where I was that day, working on a keynote speech that an audience could identify with. I had worked hard and I knew I had more to learn. But for the moment, I wanted to know what I had done well before stepping up to even greater challenges. I needed to take in what was good and let it soak in, just for a moment or two, much as a speaker or soloist needs to stay on the stage  after a performance and receive appreciation.

Actually Jeremy said these words before I even started speaking, but I still wanted to hear the good words. In the same way at our Toastmasters club, we encourage first, finding something that the speaker has done well. Such as I would offer an author  whose work I am critiquing.

Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever had days when all you needed  was a little encouragement to get onto the next step? A day when the words aren’t flowing and there’s more confusion than anything else.
Over the years of my writing, I’ve saved some email messages from friends, just for days like those:

From Mary, a fellow storyteller, on a certain publishing credit: “One particular thing you have accomplished in this work is to have used a completely authentic voice . ..”

From Sylvia, mother of a dear friend: “Congratulations on the success of your book…I certainly enjoyed reading it as well.”

And words on my (first) book launch from one of my daughters: “Way to go, Mom. I’m so proud of everything you have accomplished.”

I’m sure that you, as a reader,  have also been offered some compliment at some time or other. Save a collection of them, the ones that say what you did well. And then when you’re having a day that the writing or speaking is going hard, when the rain is falling more than the sun is shining, pull out these notes and reread them.

Back to Jeremy for a moment. On one of his days when he was particularly challenged, he went to the mailbox and found a note from an audience member (and I have permission to quote from the newsletter):

On the inside, the words were handwritten and very sincere.  It was from an audience member of a speech I had delivered the week prior and this gentlemen took the time and energy to send a card to share just what a positive impact my words had for him and his organization.

How do you think the rest of his day went? Did he keep the note? You bet he did! And he encourages his readers to keep such notes.
The words I carry with me are from encouragers, words from readers of my book, words of people whose work I edited, from fellow Toastmasters whom I’ve given feedback, notes from friends, family and complete strangers. I just have to remember to pull them out and read them. Some of  the words were verbal and not written, and I remember those words meant for me.

Affirmed and encouraged, I’ m ready for the next growing step.


Entry filed under: authors, public speaking. Tags: , , , .

Saturday Snapshots–Historic Building Thoughts for your day

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Janet Sketchley  |  November 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Carolyn, what a great call to us to be encouragers — and to cherish the special encouragements we receive. What a difference they make.


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