Right now I’m sitting in a hotel room… by myself… in Florida… in November. Don’t feel bad for me. I live in New Jersey and the weather here is simply fabulous!

Another reason I’m alone is that I am purposefully spending time decompressing and absorbing what I’ve learned at the Heroic Public Speaking (HPS) workshop. In my 26 years of public speaking, I’ve never taken this much dedicated time to improving my craft. There has never been a HUGE chunk of my time set aside for the sole purpose of going from good to great. This week has been my own little mini mastermind. It almost goes without saying that there is a lot of GREAT stuff bouncing around my brain…

The Greater Truth to FriendshipAfter the last day of HPS, I treated myself to a dinner by myself. After three nonstop days of being with hundreds of people, often in very close proximity, I needed the physical and mental space. Because I was dining alone, I got to open both the fortune cookies that came with my bill. Score!! What those cookies told me was something that I knew deep down but probably needed to have written down and put right in front of me.

Generic? Yes. Timely? YES.

You will soon discover a higher truth.

My “higher truth” that I learned at HPS is that I am no longer hiding the fact that I love to be on a stage. I love to inspire people. I love to show them paths to clarity and success. I love that I can finally be comfortable with my desire to have a talk be a performance and not just a checklist of goals to accomplish.

For a good part of my first half of professional speaking, I was tasked with course creation and execution. I loved adding meaningful stories or examples so that people could more closely connect with ideas and concepts. I was shut down by my higher-ups nearly every time. “We don’t pay you to tell stories, we pay you so that these people have all the facts to pass a test / be a better manager / be a better worker bee.”

In my heart, I always knew there was a better way to approach not just delivering robust meaningful content but truly connecting with the people in front of me and making an impact. After attending HPS I now know that performing on stage is not theatrical in my industry, but a seldom-employed and highly-coveted skill. I apparently have a lot of natural talent for public speaking. That plus my 26 years on a stage have given me a solid base to grow from. HPS has shown me the way and given me the tools to bust out and grow bigger.

A wise friend will deliver great advice.

The “great advice” I received actually has been coming to me for a long time but it took me until this week to have it smack me square in the face. Friends. Professional friends. We all need them. Professional speaking can be a very lonely gig. Creating, practicing, traveling, performing. Even when you get off stage, you may chat with some people or sign a few books, but in the end, you are eating a protein bar for dinner alone in your room while you pack to get to your next gig.

It helps SO VERY MUCH to have others you can talk to that understand the profession – the good, the bad, and the very ugly. Not only did HPS show me the need to tightly network with speaker friends, but to tighten my alliance and service to my own speaker group. I’m a part of a speakers mastermind group with people many consider the biggest A+ List speakers in the business. They teach me more just by observing them than I could have ever hoped for.

A good number of my speaker group also attended the HPS event. I have so much to learn and practice from them. Because of that, I’ve decided to up my game once again by attending a private speaker training group in January 2017.