When you teach what you've learned, you actually learn it much more deeply. You give language to what you already understand. But don't diminish what you already have learned.
I see over and over again, people who say, this is my struggle, this is my limitation. When you say that you essentially reinforce it, and you make it so much more difficult to move on. Life's too short to keep starting over with something so important and meaningful. We have to plant the flag that says, I've got this, I've learned this lesson. This is my new base camp. This is the point with which I'm going to start and then reach for something even greater. So I can continue that journey of evolution.
If you go down that road, you will get to a point where you can take on the daunting challenges. If you limit yourself to what's comfortable, you deny yourself what's possible. In other words, I've just upped my commitment, are you going to up yours?
When you do, you have to get very specific about the goal. It's not just to catch, it's more specific. That's important, and they're all different. But the moment one of them is out of my hand, it's also out of my control. I need to let it go. So I can handle the next one with equal attention and commitment.
If you feel overwhelmed, it's probably from the inability to disengage from what is already out of your hand. You must let go in order to get a grip. Notice it's not some incredible, unbelievable show-stopping moment. What it is, is a meditation of concentration, excellence, performance, and focus. I'm looking up, I'm slowing down. I'm handling each one uniquely. And then those moments give me opportunities to expand into new variations or opportunities.
How do you leverage the trajectory of your life and step more confidently into the unfamiliar?
When I describe the work that I do for organizations and individuals, sometimes I put it like this: I help people leverage the past and be more present in order to create a better future. That's it. Life is trajectory. You're either on an upward trajectory of improvement, or a downward path of decline. Growth happens when we seize the present moment. But it's often precipitated because we found a new way, a better way to leverage our past.
For example, perhaps you're facing change in your life right now. Maybe it's a difficult decision you're trying to make or a challenge that you must overcome. Maybe it's related to your job, your family, your health, your finances or a passion you feel compelled to pursue. You're not sure what to do because this seems so different than anything you've encountered in the past. When we perceive change as completely new and different, it puts us at a huge disadvantage, and almost guarantees that you will miss opportunities and make unnecessary mistakes. So when people tell me, “What I'm about to do is so completely new for me,” I usually respond by saying, “what you are facing right now is extremely similar to what you've already experienced.”
When I was in my late teens and early twenties paying my way through college by performing, I was constantly going into new venues and new situations—whether I was the opening act for a major recording artist at a music festival, or performing for CEOs after dinner at a corporate function, or as the fire juggler on the ledge of a building outdoors at night. Hundreds of different challenges that were exciting, because I'd have to, in a matter of moments, evaluate my surroundings, my audience, their expectations, my skill set and find a way to rise to the occasion.
How did I do it? By leveraging the similarities. I haven't done this before. But this challenge reminds me in some way of situations I've moved through in the past successfully, or lessons that I've learned along the way. By associating to those positive reference points, I was able to step into the new moment with familiar confidence. So again, if you're thinking right now that what you’re going through is completely new to you, I strongly suggest that it isn't.
What experiences from your past have prepared you for this one? What lessons have you learned that do not need repeating? What skills have you developed that enable you to rise to this challenge right now? I promise you, you've been preparing for your future all of your life. It is time to leverage your past and step into this moment with the confidence that you are ready. Take the confident step from yesterday to today, knowing that your footing is solid, and your trajectory is moving ever upward.
Dan Thurmon and his keynote Off Balance On Purpose excites audiences with an interactive performance while giving a multi-dimensional view of success. He doesn’t stand behind a podium and talk about dealing with fear and change – he does handstands on the podium to demonstrate what being uncomfortable and living off balance on purpose truly looks like. Your audience will talk about this presentation for years to come!