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Preparing to Speak to People You Have Never Met

As I prepared to speak to the Suburban Rotary club recently, I was tasked with some interesting decisions...

First, I had to decide what, specifically, I was going to talk about...that is not always an easy task for me. My brain often makes connections to things while I am talking or writing and it makes it difficult to stay focused on the topic at hand.

Second, I had to choose something that people cared about and not just talk about what I wanted to talk about.

Third, I felt like I had to have a point or some kind of direction. I think this is mostly because I would have felt like I wasted an opportunity if I hadn't used the platform I had to deliver a concise and simple message to an audience that was there listening to me.

So what did I talk about?

I decided to give a very brief bio to qualify myself as an expert, explain why I believe I became an addict, to begin with, and tell the folks how we as a society can do better to change how we think about ourselves and teach our kids to think about themselves to make a slight shift. How though?

What is a question many of us were asked, ask ourselves, or ask our kids frequently? For me, it was, " What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I thought about this question and asked myself, what does this question really accomplish? I think if we are really honest with ourselves the answer would be that three things come to mind...

1. When someone answers the question there is no clear answer for what to do about it. How do you act like a doctor now? How do you become an athlete now? You can't. So I don't really think it is a productive question to ask from that perspective. 2. What happens if you don't achieve what you said, do you feel like a failure or have some explanation for why you didn't become what you said you were? Maybe, maybe not, but I think that even if you become what you said, the question still lingers of what to do next. Also, becoming what you strive to be doesn't necessarily fulfill your personal needs and many of the highest-paid professions suffer from the same levels of divorce, addiction, depression, etc. as any other profession. How do we fix that? 3. The answer to the question doesn't really matter. How many of us become what we said we were gonna be when we were five? Not many. So why even ask the question when there are likely better questions to ask that can help us be balanced humans and raise productive, balanced children.

What if we just change the question a little bit...What if we ask, "Who do you want to be?" What happens when you answer this question? A couple things, it allows you to have a dialogue with yourself or your child about how to handle any given obstacle, situation, or opportunity. It allows you to establish boundaries, communicate effectively and do your best to stay balanced in the toughest of situations.

I think this is a better way to teach our kids...We must teach from our experiences, good, bad, or otherwise. Teach them how we got where we are...Tell them we've been fortunate, tell them how long we worked to achieve our goals, help them make plans, delay gratification, eat healthy, exercise, sacrifice, and so on. These are critical skills that we can teach each other and the next generation better.

WE CAN DO BETTER, but we can't do it alone. Share this to help someone who needs something to talk to their kids or friends about. Kids need to know that not everything is easy, we don't always get what we want and we can't compare ourselves to others without understanding their story and where they have been. Life is hard. Sometimes it helps people struggling to hear about others' struggles. There is no shortage of words in the world. Tell your story. Tell people about times you struggled. Change people's perspectives.

That's what the world needs today.

Kyle Andrews True Self Inc.


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