Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A Hard Day's Night
I've been absent from my blog. I apologize. It hasn't been because I don't love blogging. It's because I've been in the midst of thinking about and then changing my life's work.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, "Why am I making my life so complicated in my 60s? I could just as easily not have tackled a career change and cruised along teaching yoga, dancing tango, and visiting my family in Vegas."
Keep your routine, Joan. Keep life simple. I hate it when I complicate life.
It all sounded so simple when last December I decided to attended a keynote speaker's conference sponsored by the National Speaker's Association in Las Vegas. I was curious about what a speaking career entails. In November I had made a number of inquiry calls to the local NSA chapter and met a really wonderful woman who was a member on the local NSA chapter and she was encouraging and just plain fun.
"Why not speak?" she said. "You'd be great."
That's all I needed to hear to get my mojo going. I had no idea what I was going to speak about, however. I usually jump into turgid waters without much thought as to whether I could swim my way out to safety. I've done that a couple of times in my life.
I love jumping off a cliff without a net. Does that make me an adrenalin junkie? I do love change and challenge. Perhaps this is what spurred me on to investigate becoming a speaker.
I thought it would be a good idea to use my book, Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer, as a point of departure for a speech. In the narrative of my book, a personal memoir, I discuss many topics about living a full and joyful life in my 60s. I refer to the complexity dealing with adult children, the emotional roller coaster of being a grandmother, the disappointments of dating and trying to find some semblance of a relationship with a man, the sadness of taking care of an elderly parent, returning to therapy, the joy of following your passions, the fact is that retirement is not an option, and much more. Even though I didn't have a clue about writing a speech, I certainly had some information I could use from my book.
The NSA keynote speaker's conference was a revelation. Although I wasn't certain I wanted to complicate my life with public speaking, I was wowed by the quality of speakers and the first rate information presented by top speakers. This was a brave new world, and as usual, I was coming in to this new world with a very late start.
I've always been a late comer and a late bloomer. I'm not sure why that is but it's happened a few times in my life and this last Johnny come lately even surprised me. I don't even know when the interest in speaking hit me. I wish I could remember because it might make a good story. It just kind of materialized.
After the conference, I was supposed to start writing a speech. It took me two months to figure out what to write. By then I has secured a speech coach. I saw him in Vegas; in fact, he lived in Vegas so it was convenient for me to see him when I visited my family. It took him awhile to accept me as a client because these top notch guys don't just take anyone one. Being a speech coach or a coach to anyone is a real pain in the neck. It's probably not worth the money they charge a client for all the pushing and cheerleading they have to do to motivate a potential speaker. Somehow I convinced my coach that I was worthy. I gave him my book and then we strategized a topic. Then we changed the topic and then I wrote a draft for my one hour speech, and then I threw it out after I met with my coach.
I started to watch videos of speakers. I was trying to get the sense of how to deliver a message to an audience, to make a promise to them that what I will propose are actionable steps to change their lives. I just finished the second draft and sent it in to my speech coach.
This speech writing has been all consuming. I feel like a junkie. I feel like I'm on speed. It's like when I used to write screenplays. I'd stay up all night and write when I got an idea and I wouldn't stop. I'm manic.
Why did I complicate my life? I complicated my life because something inside of me is compelled to speak to audiences about living happy, wild and free when the job is over, or a career burns out, or when depression sets in, when the body is too fat and lacks exercise, when relationships are over, when there is no more joy in life.
Maybe I feel that I can motivate people by sharing my experiences with the benefits of yoga and living my passions and telling stories about people who have changed their lives because they have let go of resistance and judgement.
Maybe it's just a dream, but it's my dream and I'm jazzed and motivated by the thought of doing it some day. This might just be my Act 3.