Friends, it has been one heck of a week. In three days, I went to four schools and gave 12 talks. If you would have told me I would walk out into the center of a gymnasium, with the stands full of hundreds of high schools, to share my message of giving, gratitude, and goals, I'd say you were crazy. I never thought I would be sharing my message with kindergartens to high schoolers. What's the saying, "We make plans, and God laughs"?

I did a lot of praying before I walked out and shared some of my stories. And I had a lot of people praying for me. I doubted that this 44-year-old woman could connect with teens. But I was wrong. 

I had to lower my expectations. I knew there was no way to impact every student, but I could go back to the original goal I set back on January 1, 2021. Look for a way to make a difference to another person each day. 

And guess what happened? After my first high school convocation, I got messages from several students thanking me for coming to their school and sharing how my message impacted them. Oh, I was so grateful for them taking the time to share with me their feedback. 

I should have learned my lesson by now and stopped doubting myself. I'm not sure where that lack of confidence in these situations comes from, but it's an area I'm going to spend time working on over the next couple of months. 

The next time you are asked to do something outside of your comfort zone, here are my suggestions/lessons:

  1. Say yes! I'm so grateful I didn't say no just because I hadn't spoken to high schoolers before. 
  2. Stay in your lane. It would have been easy for me to try to put in my message what I thought the students needed to hear, but I couldn’t relate to some topics that came to my mind. I stayed focused on what I knew. The students would have sniffed out authenticity in a heartbeat!
  3. Show gratitude. I've already sent emails and started sending out gifts of appreciation to those who helped or were involved with me getting to the school. Never forget to thank the people that gave you the opportunity. 
  4. Flip your mindset. Instead of telling myself I was nervous, I told myself I was excited. Our body has the same reaction to nervousness as it does to excitement. I chose the positive mindset, and it made a big difference. Whatever you are thinking about negatively, flip it to the positive. 
  5. Keep going. For my last session, the microphone battery died. I didn't panic. I looked for the guy that could help; he walked over, I handed him the microphone, and while he changed the batteries, I continued to speak. I had the student's attention, and I didn't want to lose my momentum. If something that you don't expect happens, keep moving forward!

Will I speak at schools again? I don't know. I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying. Let’s chat if you are at a school (elementary, high school, or college) and would like to bring me in as a speaker! I need to keep doing things I never thought I would do and challenge you to do the same.



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