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From Cowering in front of One to Engaging with Thousands at Once.

I can remember this moment like it was 5 minutes ago. The terror was so deep.

It’s late May of 1989. I am standing in my kitchen our tiny little apartment in Gaithersburg, MD.

The apartment was so small, in two steps from where I was standing, I could be in the dining room, or in the other direction, the living room. In two steps down the hallway, I could be in the bathroom or the bedroom.

I’m standing there shaking, dressed in a full suit and tie. There’s sweat pouring down my back. Melanie, my eight and a half-month pregnant wife is trying to calm me down.

But there is no possible way she can.

Nothing she can say, no gentle touch, no soft encouragement…there’s nothing she can do at all, that can break the grip of this fear of what I am about to face.

Only I can step into the abject terror, or not.

I say to her “please kill me now.” I might even have meant it at the time. Death seemed like a better option.

And then?

I took a deep breath, took the two steps, and began my “presentation” to the one woman who was sitting in my living room waiting to hear about the information I was going to present to her.

26 Years Later…

It’s 10:00 in the morning. I’m in Germany, in the green room behind the stage.

The auditorium is filling up. Thousands of people are finding their seats. The support staff is manning the refreshment stands, and the tables where people are busy buying my books and CDs.

Many of them traveled great distances the day before, paid to spend the night in a hotel, and will travel home the following morning. The tickets have been sold out for months.

There is no one else in the green room. There is no other speaker on the docket for the day. It’s just me.

The event will end late in the afternoon. The amount of time I will be on stage, with all these people focused on what I have to say, is about 5 hours.

I sit quietly alone. The event organizer knows I like to be completely by myself for a long time before it’s time to go on stage. I have butterflies in my stomach.

But not from terror.

These are butterflies of anticipation, mixed with a little self-doubt.

I don’t sit there thinking about what the audience will think of me, or how much applause, or laughs, I might get.

I have one focus. And it’s not me.

When the organizer comes back to tell me that we start in ten minutes, I thank him, go to the bathroom, and then spend a few minutes in prayer.

My prayer is always the same. In short, “God, let me be at my best, so that I can serve these people in the best way possible on this day.”

The time comes. The house lights go down. I step on the stage, and turn to the audience.

And I teach.

What Two Steps Do You Finally Need to Take?

Everything about you is a two-sided coin. This is how the natural world works. Without heading straight into your perceived limitations, you will never in ten lifetimes know who you truly are and what you are truly capable of.

I am a teacher. It is so clear that this is who I am at my core being. Besides the love of Melanie and my children, nothing gives me greater joy than to help someone else do better. Nothing. By light years.

My journey was hard.

Without taking that step, and then continuing through all the rough roads, peaks and valleys, storms, and struggles, I would never have discovered that teaching is my purpose.

I am a deep introvert. I had a self-image that was so poor, that even now, while I live a life that the majority of people could never imagine being possible (it is possible for anyone by the way), I still have to tamp down the demons of worthlessness, despondency, and all the other friends those two hang out with.

I go into deep personal detail in 3 Circles Living about all I have had to wrestle with in my life. Read that, and then consider…

What is your version of the trail? What are the things you allow to keep their grip on you, that you can, with some consistent steps break?

I am still an introvert. I don’t like to be the center of attention. I don’t like to talk about myself. I don’t like to talk much in general. It took me until I was in my 40s to be able to walk in a room and not be looking at my shoes the entire time. And that was well after I had conquered the stage.

Had I not stepped into that fear in 1989, and then kept stepping into it, over and over and over….

It took several years for me to NOT feel that terror. That was my journey. I’m glad it was so damn hard.

Because I love helping people so much, I had to get completely over me, in order to be the best for those I serve.

Teaching is not about me. Yes, I get joy, fulfillment, and it’s wonderfully gratifying. But that comes from knowing someone is doing better. In many cases, I don’t even find out until way down the road that I’ve helped someone.

Stop letting your fears and incorrect/false beliefs about yourself keep you from actualizing. Do the work to become who you are supposed to become.

That uneasy feeling you have at times? When you take a breath from your busy life? That’s your inner being saying “when are you going to stop doing these things that you don’t really want to be doing, and let me out?”

I studied, took risks on myself, embarrassed myself, practiced, failed, read books, tried things, looked stupid, was stupid, suffered criticism, cried, all of it….

And…IT. WAS. ALL. WORTH. IT.

Get busy getting better and start by getting rid of the excuses of what you’re not. How can you know what you’re not, if you haven’t done the work to know who you are?

That’s all for today.

Here’s the front half of the training I did Saturday for my community. This is the part that is 100% life based.

The skills I share in this have been massive for me in being effective with people in the face of my introversion and social awkwardness.

It’s the real stuff. That’s all I teach.

There are several articles in this site on listening, search them if you need more on the topic.

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Many Blessings, Todd

P.S. When you feel better, you do better. If you want to take your physical and mental well-being to an entirely new level, check out my new Wellness page: Wellness – Todd Burrier

P.S.S. Would you like to join a community of people that are making life happen? Where you can flourish and grow and be supported? Where you are encouraged and helped to be better? The community I serve is chocked full of people that are excelling in life and moving towards their best life. If you took a handful of these people and put them in any organization, doing any kind of work, it would be a better place in a very short period of time. If that intrigues you at all, reach out to me directly and we can talk about it.

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