Over the past few days I’ve attended my speaker association’s national convention here in Australia.
There’s a wide variety of speakers who attend, from emerging to certified speaking professionals, to our global leaders, all with a very diverse range of topics, styles and platforms.
But what bring us all together, what creates those magical moments, those change-making conversations, is the sense of community and the power of story to connect.
The conference theme for this year was defining moments, and as a speaker and Theatrepreneur I have certainly had my share of defining moments – moments in time that transformed either my speaking or my business.
At this convention, I finally got the chance to share two of those transformative moments with the people who helped create them. Neither of them knew that the words that they had spoken at the time, the gift of presence and support they had shared, had created those powerful moments of definition for me. So for them to hear of my experiences, and to be on the receiving end of my gratitude, was unexpected and heart-affirming. The fact is, both instances happened over five years ago, and it has taken me a while to be in a situation where I could offer my thanks.
I wonder if you have ever considered those defining moments in your own life – those moments in time when someone has gifted you the perfect words to turn your life around. Perhaps you, yourself, have been the giver of those words, those actions, the support that has created an aha moment, a defining moment, for someone else.
We don’t often know when we have activated someone else’s epiphany – their aha. But wouldn’t it be a wonderful experience if we were to discover how we have made a difference in someone else’s life?
So why not take a moment to reflect on your personal defining moments. Who was the hero in that story for you?
If you haven’t already done so, maybe it’s time to reach out to them, to thank them.
Because your recognition of your defining moment could also be theirs.
In 1971, Don Fardon released a single called Follow Your Drum… a song that reflected on the importance of following the rhythm of your own drum.
It’s never been more important to do just that – to acknowledge that the rhythm of your life is dictated by the beat of your heart’s desires.
I don’t know about you, but I instantly rebel when someone tells me I ‘should’ do something. Now my rebelling is not loud or obvious, it’s not a tantrum, or a diva turn. My rebelling is in quietly, gently yet firmly turning my face in the direction I wish to go, and taking the next step towards it.
How often do we allow ourselves to be nudged, shifted, or manoeuvred, sometimes even removed off our path because someone else has a point of view about how we should be doing our creative work?
At the moment I’m running monthly public events all to do with finding your voice, and sharing your message in a public forum. And there are many different points of view about how I should be doing this. I’ve had attendees (after the event) give me the benefit of their wisdom and tell me I should be running my events this way; other people telling me me that I shouldn’t give so much feedback – that people can’t cope – and that I should use this structure, or that process.
It can be exhausting – if you give it attention. And we often do give it far too much attention. So much so, that often we will find we’re heading down someone else’s path because we don’t trust ourselves and our drum-beat.
I have found the surest way to follow my own drum is to say to people who wish me to be more like them, and less myself, thank you for sharing, and then I go and do what I’m going to do.
I encourage you to follow the rhythm of your own drum. Do not be dissuaded by those who, most times, mean well, but have no idea what drives you, or what brings you joy. All they can see is that it’s not how ‘they’ would do it, and therefore you must be wrong.
They cannot hear your heart beat, they cannot feel your rhythm, they cannot follow your drum.
Be bold… It’s up to you to turn up the sound of your heart’s beat, step out to your rhythm and follow your drum.
In the past few days here in Australia there has been a huge backlash against a Minister for Education who has decreed that ‘the arts’ are not a ‘legitimate’ career and therefore should not be eligible for student loans. I expect that Hugh Jackman, Geoffrey Rush and Cate Blanchett, to name just a few, would soundly disagree.
To say that the creative community is dumb-founded, aghast and retaliating with vigour would be an understatement. There has been a huge upswell of support from around the globe in support of continued funding for students who decide on a ‘road less travelled’ as a career.
Productions such as Pirates [of the Caribbean] employed almost 1,000 locals and over 5,000 companies in Queensland.
That sounds pretty legitimate to me.
However, this attitude that the ‘arts’ is second-rate, insignificant and ‘not a legitimate’ career is rife in Australia and the students of film & television and theatre that I coach and train are moving into an industry that they feel they have to apologise for.
Apologise for following their hearts. Apologise for their career choices. Apologise for using their gifts and talents.
We are not all cut from the same cloth. We are not less than for daring to be different and follow our calling.
Where would we be without the gift of the creative arts in our lives: the gift that our creative entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, sculptors, painters, architects, designers, photographers and actors bring to every day.
Please do not allow your voice to be stopped, to be diminished, to be anything less than the gift that it is.
Continue to share every bit of your talent with the world.
Our creative voices matter
Art, in all its forms, matters.
And you cannot silence us.