I just returned from five days with my professional colleagues at the annual National Speakers Association conference in Orlando. Despite freezing meetings rooms, Florida storms, humidity, and sleeping rooms that refused to cool off, I am so grateful I went.Why? My community!
Like all of us in a specific profession, we are a practice community family. No one except my NSA colleagues understand the demands of travel, the need to constantly research and improve, the wacky audiovisual glitches that happen all too often, the clients who ask for one thing and then look for something else, and the great joy of a standing ovation and the agony if you don’t quite hit the mark.
But there’s something else that a practice community offers: feedback. I believe this is true in all professions. A caring community doesn’t just offer thoughts for improvement, but probably more important, a caring community validates what heart and soul we bring to our work.
I know for me, I am often so close to what I do, I do not realize the positive impact I have had on a fellow speaker. Thus, it’s really easy to slip into place where you wonder if what you do even matters.
How can I relate the surprise and joy when Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE told this audience that I approached her decades ago, looked her in the eye, told her she was tremendously talented, and affirmed her work.I barely remember that event but to Linda it was a profound moment. This past week, as I stood on the stage next to the panel I was facilitating and heard Linda say this, I started to cry.
Here’s the deal. Linda did not HAVE to share any of this. Her decision to open up in front of 100 or more colleagues was not only kind, but it filled a place in my heart. This event was YEARS ago but it mattered deeply to her. Frankly, it mattered even more to me.
What would it take for all of us to take the time and specifically tell people about how they have touched us? Can you imagine the joy that could resonate --- joy that could warm even the coldest meeting room.