I have listened to a lot of motivational speakers. I have been moved by the stories and impressed by the ability of the speakers who present them.
There is much to be gained by hearing of the difficult experiences of others and how they moved beyond them. And yet, something always struck me as being out of place or misleading when I listened to these presenters.
After hearing a passion filled presentation of how the speaker stared death in the face or how they were on the verge of suicide, literally with gun in hand, yet somehow made the decision not to pull the trigger, always made me feel like the only way people can rise above the challenging opportunities of life is to sink to the depths of the ocean. Why is it that most motivational and inspirational speakers share their stories, or better yet, why is it that we pay so much attention to those stories when in truth so few of the billions of people on Earth have these life experiences. Is it that we become so comfortable with our lives, even when we are uncomfortable, that so many are not highly motivated to change until their world is literally rocked by a tragedy or unfortunate event?
Don’t get me wrong. These stories are real and the folks who lived them are to be commended for rising above the challenge that was before them. However, a lot of the stories happen because of a decision the storyteller made that resulted in their experience. This isn’t to undermine what had to be done to move through the experience or that there isn’t any value in the demonstration of the human spirit and willingness to do what must be done.
Why am I speaking on this? What difference does it make? If someone shares a story that motivates another to take action that betters that person’s life, isn’t that a good thing? Yes, it is, but it still implies, perhaps subliminally, that only those who are facing tragedy are motivated to the point of taking the action necessary to make the changes in life they desire.
I was recently asked to appear in a movie (Becoming the Keys) that features a woman who became blind at the age of 6 due to a car accident. If that wasn’t enough, several years later she was struck by a car while in a cross-walk and subsequently had to go through dialysis and a kidney transplant. On the set of the movie she and I had a conversation about her every day experiences without what most of us take for granted. She mentioned that many of her friends have suggested she become a motivational speaker so she could help others who have had similar life experiences or who just need a good dose of reality of how life can change in an instant without warning.
She said she had considered becoming a speaker but that it felt limiting to her. There was much more in life she wanted to experience and achieve that her blindness wasn’t going to prevent. I asked who or what inspired her to get up every morning to pursue these experiences. She smiled and said, “it is people like you who don’t wait until a tragic event or difficult circumstances comes into your life before making the changes you desire. You understand the power we each hold within ourselves to create the life we desire without your back being against the wall. I am inspired by people who just “get it.” People willing to share what they understand and have experienced without it being linked to an experience such as my blindness or any other disability or life challenge one might have had.”
I was taken aback by what she said even though it reflected what I have felt for a long time regarding the most celebrated speakers. Why is it we become so comfortable in our discomfort (accepting life as it shows up instead of creating it as we desire it to be) that we are not willing to do what we know we can do to better our circumstances until it becomes so uncomfortable it appears we have no choice. The truth is there is always a choice, regardless of one’s life circumstances.
We all lead extraordinary ordinary lives. We have life experiences that provide the perfect opportunity to step into and experience our magnificence. No one life is any more important or beneficial than another. We are each here to answer three basic questions as we venture along our respective life’s path. Who am I? What am I? What am I here to do? It is through the choices that we make in every moment that we discover the answers to these questions. And as we answer the questions we realize just how powerful we are and that in any moment we can create the life experiences we desire without having to wait for a tragic or unfortunate event.
Be the inspiration in your own life. Live in full expression of the truth of who you are. Know that whatever you desire in life is available to you. Know that whatever is required to create the experiences you desire is already within you. And most of all, know that you are deserving of all that you desire in life.