Motivational speakers are in a constant state of being judged – by audiences, by clients, by agents, by online communities, and by their children. It's like being on that playground as a kid all over again, and being the one they didn't choose. Things haven't changed much, except for now the kids are bigger, there are no teachers to stop it when things get ugly, and the dodgeball hits us harder. And now we can't run home crying to our mother. Okay, well maybe that one still works – except my mother thinks being a motivational speaker is code for being unemployed.
You can't be in this business if you can't get used to being the kid they don't pick. In fact, this doesn't just apply to my business, but to any business, and to life. Yes, it stings. But let me help you get a little perspective on this. Because finally I have a healthier perspective on not being picked.
Yesterday I heard those lovely five words that used to bring me to my knees: You didn't make the cut. And for once, it didn't really affect me at all. (I guess all that mind reprogramming crap I talk about actually works.) Not only was I okay hearing those words, I wasn't surprised. No, it wasn't that self-esteem thing again (like when I was convinced the only reason my husband married me was because he was nearsighted.) The reason it didn't bother me was because I know I'm not a good fit for every group. Gasp. There. I said it. I don't fit every audience. Believe it or not, the fact that you weren't picked doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't any good. It might simply mean that someone else was a better fit for that client, or that Mr. Right. My husband likes heavy metal music, I like bluegrass. He likes movies that are dark, I like happy ending movies that break out into song. He likes silence, I like breaking it. Not everybody likes the same thing. And thank goodness, or we'd all be going for the same guy, and that could get ugly. I am a unique, one of a kind creation and so are you. Embrace it, cherish it, and leverage it in your life and business. Because it's not blending in that gets you places – it's standing out. One rocking pair of cowboy boots can't fit every foot.
So this time I took the words you didn't make the cut as the highest form of flattery, because if I made the cut for everybody, I wouldn't be so unique, now would I? Let me repeat that: If I always made the cut I wouldn't be that unique. There's a risk you take with stepping out of your comfort zone. There's a risk you take in being different. And the risk is that somebody won't like it. Good! Then you're headed in the right direction.
Are you still focusing on trying to be something for everybody? Maybe it's time to cut some strings. Only then, will you truly fly.
(PS Have you ever taken a job that wasn't a good fit for you, and you knew it going in? What happened?)