Then There Was The Time My Story Was Interrupted By Bats

THEN THERE WAS THE TIME MY STORY WAS INTERRUPTED BY BATS

No, bats are not a metaphor here.

I am talking real, live, actual bats

And they are only a secondary character in this story about a story. Spring and early Summer of 2019 was quite a transformational and transitional time for me. A long story I will one day share is how buying two tickets to a USA Today/Des Moines Register Storytellers Project show changed my life, as it was the first time I met Whitney. But again, that’s a different story for a different day. The event was in the historic Hoytt-Sherman theater, which sat about 1200 people. Our seats were in the back – I mean in the WAY back, like… the last row back That’s how jam-packed that event was. Somehow, a surge of confidence bust through me when I turned to Whitney and boldly declared: “I’ll be on that stage telling a story before the end of the year.” To this day, I don’t know what prompted me to say those words. Making those bold declarations is now part of my Modus Operandi, but they were not then. It is interesting what happens when we make declarations, even based on no evidence whatsoever. Another long story short (do you realize how I am emphasizing that even though this story has a lot of background knowledge, you don’t need to know it to get the main message…which I also hoodwinked you into thinking was about bats, but it is really about something more important), I ended up securing a spot for the next show in the fall. I had spoken to large audiences before, but this was completely different. This speaking event was not persuading or informing – it was sharing a part of who I am. Talk about vulnerability. Although I had
painstakingly prepared for months (literally) for this talk, the night of the event, I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I was scheduled to speak last. I sat in the first few rows (where all the storytellers sat) and did my very best to focus as the other storytellers went up before me. The extra time was
more nerve-wracking than helpful. Especially when I saw the bats. Bats were flying near the speaker’s faces as they were performing. Some noticed, some did not. I felt like I had to say something, but we were not to ad-lib at all. The entire situation made me even more nervous than I previously was. And then, I remember something. I remembered the most important rule of storytelling: Your stories are not for you. They are for others. Your stories are meant to show how you changed through something so they can see success through your change. My story was about me, but not for me. The more I made it about me and for me, the more nervous I got. The nerves seemed to dissipate when I reframed and realized my “why” and who I was telling this story for. And the perfect line to address the bats came into focus. What did I say about the bats? You can watch the video here. Who was the story for? If you know me and where my heart lies, and you hear this story, you could probably guess who was top of mind for me that evening. Whatever the reason, whatever the occasion, keep speaking up your story

KEEP SPEAKING UP YOUR STORY, 

ENCORE: MORE TO EXPLORE

STORYTELLING STRUCTURE FOR SPEECHES

This video unveils the secrets to crafting compelling speeches, and emphasizing how a well-structured narrative can transform a speaker into a captivating storyteller and leader.

ARE YOU THE SAME ON STAGE AS YOU ARE OFF STAGE?

Confidence comes from being able to respond to your environment. However, if we are not being honest with ourselves and with others, it is nearly impossible to have confidence and to lead others, especially as a professional public speaker. Click the link below to learn more!