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i don’t want to say I told you so, but …

June 28, 2011

… there is a great deal of wisdom that you don’t hear coming from your listening

This last weekend I signed up and paid my money for a two-day workshop – the Australian Professional Speakers Academy – delivered by some of the leading professional speakers in Australia. We spent the afternoon of the first day under the guidance of a wonderful speaker by the name of Karen Schmidt who is all about growing engaging leaders. She told a story about Ian Berry, a colleague of hers who was looking for feedback from a more experienced speaker on some new content he had developed.

After about ten minutes or so the comment was made that you could see a number of places where Ian had displayed characteristics of many of the leading speakers of the day. A broad smile spread across Ian’s face.

The problem is, I didn’t see much of Ian Berry ….

The lesson?        Be you!

Because that is what you do best and that is the one thing that nobody else will ever be able to do as well as you. That is when you will light up and that is when your audience will engage the most with you.

It made perfect sense! This sort of insight is what I paid the money for.  That is worth the price of admission right there. That is what I need to focus on.

Now if I can only figure out where I have heard that before…

I just didn’t feel like I was seeing the real you up there. I mean that stuff was interesting but when you started talking about your time as a guide at the art gallery … you just lit up. That was when I saw the Paul I know. That was when I was engaged, when you really grabbed my attention. You should do more of that sort of stuff.

That insight into me was offered by a close friend a few years back after he had attended the very first Samurai Game that I led.

At the time I nodded and thanked him but I really didn’t pay much attention to his comments. It was new content that I was trying out for the first time so it wasn’t surprising that it was a bit rough. But then so was the stuff about the art gallery… I  don’t know why I even asked for his feedback if I wasn’t prepared to listen to him.

It’s not that our friends are not wise. It’s that we often don’t hear their wisdom.

They will tell us the truth even if we are not ready to hear what they have to say. That is why we call them our friends.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gavin permalink
    June 29, 2011 9:46 pm

    Paul, how inspiring to be reminded of a simple yet essential part of being a leader – being yourself. My early years into my current leadership role felt like I was on an island – isolated from those I worked with and lead and yet obligated to carry out my duties as a leader?????? Only when I realised who I was (and wanted to be) as a leader could I open up into the role. One of my mentors reflected early on that I should not try to “please everyone” and when I returned to him one day for guidance I could only remind him of what he had offered but added that I “wasn’t pleasing ANYONE!” This included MYSELF. I can only hope that “being me” extends into a natural form of leadership.
    Thank you for your wisdom. G

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