This article will be published in the Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT)’s June Take Note newsletter.
Something struck me as I listened to the television last Sunday night. The preacher was saying that not everyone is going to be your cheerleader. And it got me to thinking about something that I was plagued with for many years.
Many of us as entrepreneurs and executives we strive to make a difference in our sphere. To find our niche and know that we are fulfilling our purpose without our efforts being in vain.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, recognition and respect play an important role in our motivation.
More so for women, we aim to strike that balance and even the playing field with our male counterparts. As a result, we look forward to (not only monetary rewards but sometimes more importantly), validation or approval from our family, friends, peers and customers.
Whether it’s in the form of a smile, or simply by saying 3 very powerful words “I appreciate you” and the work that you do. Sometimes the feedback can be so overwhelming that it brings us much fulfillment to know that our talent has elicited this kind of change, peace or joy in another person’s life.
Then there are times when we do not get this support or approval from the persons we may be seeking it from the most. Whether it’s family, friends, our boss or co-workers, that feeling diminishes our spirit when our efforts, heart and sweat are not acknowledged.
But what I learnt from listening to the popular evangelist Joel Osteen is something my business coach had taught me and what I am still learning and relearning. The message is that not everybody has to like you or the work that you do. Not everyone will support you. Not everyone is your ideal customer. And not everyone will be your cheerleader, so just focus on the people that do.
Many months ago, I got negative feedback from some friends when I rehearsed my speech for an upcoming event. I got to say it killed my spirit and enthusiasm for a minute or two. But by the next day, Adanna (Austin) said to me, “Lyn, these men are not your ideal customer, your target is mainly women, you do know that right? So forget what they said and just be your awesome self, because you are so talented and funny and girl you rock!!”
That evening I rehearsed my speech with her and even did a promo video totally ad lib. I felt my spirits soar again because I knew I stood on solid ground. What is more important is that I started to believe in myself again, because for a brief moment I thought I should quit this speaking career and go back to writing! By the time the day came for my event, I had done so much preparation that it was amazing to see the fruits of my labour.
The response from the audience as I connected to all those pairs of eyes was nothing short of amazing. It was everything I ever dreamt of and only saw on television from international speakers. I spoke for almost 2 hours and before I was even finished I was getting applause, people were engaged, the audience was laughing (almost non-stop!) and the feedback afterwards exceeded my wildest expectations.
During the talk, I expressed that even if I don’t make money from this event, if only one person walked away inspired I would have fulfilled my purpose.
By the end of it, one lady told me she travelled all the way from south despite her busy schedule to hear me and she was moved to tears as my messages resonated with her so much and she even began to take pictures and notes.
There were men in the audience as well who connected with the messages and congratulated me. However, there was another young woman sitting at the back who came up to me afterwards and said, “Carolyn, what you said touched me here (pointing to her heart), and you know what? I am your one person. You inspired me so much. I want to come to all of your events and I will bring all my friends!”
Long ago I looked at other speakers and thought to myself, “How can I do what they do? When will I ever get to that stage? Boy oh boy, what I wouldn’t give for someone to tell me those words!” And guess what? Without warning or fuss, it’s happening now. Chelsie, someone who I had only met twice said those 5 words to me, “I am your one person.” Wow.
Dreams do come true. With the right mindset and work ethic, you too are on your way to freedom and bliss. Just believe!
Food for thought:
Always do your best and whatever you’re doing, do it from the heart. Once you do it for the right reasons, which is to help others, abundance is inevitable. Preparation is key and this is the pathway for success, confidence and repeat business. In this way, you rely on no one else for validation but yourself and your Creator.
Carolyn K. Correia is the author of Thinking out Loud and How To Find Yourself and Claim What’s Yours. She is also a communications consultant, freelance writer, blogger and motivational speaker. See ways to connect with her or shop for her books – www.carolyncorreia.com or Facebook – CarolynCorreiaAuthor.