Many years back, I was lucky enough and blessed enough to speak on the same stage as leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, the Dalai Lama, F.W. de Klerk, Vishen Lakhiani and many more. I was given the opportunity to speak with all of these amazing transformational leaders, and I was just up and coming, rising to the place where all of these leaders already were. I was aspiring to be an “A speaker”, and was so excited that I had gotten this opportunity.
About two weeks before this event, the promoter called me and said,
“You know, we were thinking. You’ve already given ‘the Passion Test’ to our group three times, and they love you, you’re fabulous, you really hit it out of the ballpark. But most of these same people will be at this event. So for you to give ‘the Passion Test’ again would be redundant. We’d like for you to do something new. Okay?”
And I just froze. I swear to God, I froze on the phone. I was thinking,
“You’ve gotta be kidding me! Are you kidding me? Do something new? This is what I do, I’m the passion Queen! This is what I do, this is what I know.”
But instead of saying that, I just said, “No problem. Got it!” and hung up the phone. And I just went completely out of my body, because it was only two weeks before the event.
I was thinking to myself, “What am I going to do?”
So I sat in my room all day, day after day, all day long putting together content for this hour long talk. I was still very much in doubt about what I was doing. I kept thinking, “Are you kidding me?”
I called my friend Marcie up and said, “Marce, I want to go over my new talk. I have to make up this new talk for the Dalai Lama event.”
She said, “You are kidding me, Jani! Call them back and tell them that’s not what you do!”
But I said, “Marce, if I call them back and tell them that’s not what I do, they might take me out of the game. They said I’ve already given ‘the Passion Test’ three times and it’s time for something new.”
Marcie just flipped out, she said, “Jani this is what you do, Jani! I love you and I’ve been in this arena for many many years and you can’t change it up overnight. This is what you do, this is what you know. You’re going to be on a big stage and there’s going to be people like the Dalai Lama and Sir Richard Branson speaking, this is what you do!”
I just said, “Marce, I gotta do this. I’m afraid that they’ll cancel me off of this big event. And this is my big opportunity, I can’t call them up, I don’t want them to take me out! This is my big chance!”
I again asked her, “Will you listen to my talk?” and she said, “All right.”
Marcie is so sweet, she listened as I rattled it off real quick, as quick as I could. I knew it wasn’t solid, I knew it wasn’t complete yet. So at the end she didn’t even really have a reaction, it was so fast! She said something like, “Well, yeah. Okay. You know how I feel.” And I said, “I know Marce, thanks for listening to me!” CLICK.
Then I called my business partner Chris Attwood and said, “Hey Chris, I have to put this new talk together because the promoter said I can’t do ‘the Passion Test’ again.” Chris said, “What? What do you mean you can’t do ‘the Passion Test’? That’s what you do, that’s your brand! You have to do ‘the Passion Test’, you only have a couple of weeks before you’re up on the huge stage. The Dalai Lama is speaking there, do you know how big that’s going to be for you? You’ve gotta do what you know.”
Again, I explained, “Well Chris, I can’t. What if they say, ‘Well if you can’t do something new we can’t have you’? I can’t risk that, this is my big opportunity. I can’t miss it.”
So I quickly ran through my new talk with Chris, and he was like, “Well you know. Okay.” And he gave me some pointers and we hung up.
On the day of the Dalai Lama event, I got up on stage but I was just ‘not there’. I was not in my body. I didn’t know my talk, I didn’t feel my talk. My energy was all over the place.
An hour flew by and I remember getting off from the stage thinking, “Wow, what was that?”
I was so disappointed, I really felt like I didn’t do what I was there to do.
The moral of my story is very different than my experience. Because I left the stage thinking, “Oh my God, I didn’t deliver!”
But that afternoon as I stood out in the hallway, a woman came up to me and said, “Janet,”
I said, “Yeah?” She said, “Could I talk to you for a minute?”
And at that time I could hardly stand to talk to anyone really, cause I was feeling so down, like “Oh no, you gonna tell me how bad it was?” Deep down, inside I was so disappointed in myself.
But she said, “Yeah, I’d love to tell you something really important.” So I said, “What’s that?” She told me, “Well, my husband heard your talk and when you were done he looked over at me and said, ‘I decided I’m not going to kill myself!’”
Years later, while I was with Sir Richard Branson on his island with about 16 people having a brainstorming session, a woman came up to me. She said, “Janet, do you remember me?” I said, “No,” She said, “I was at your Dalai Lama talk!” I was very shocked. I said, “You were at my Dalai Lama talk? And now you’re here?” And she said, “Yeah! I was broke, depressed and suicidal. You saved my life and I’ve always wanted to thank you!”
So for anyone reading this;
You never know what your impact is going to be!
If you’re up on a stage or if you’re telling a story, or doing whatever! Know that, whatever you’re doing is the very best. This was a big lesson for me.
“This was the best you could do!”
So just do your best! Give from your heart and just know, that you’ll never know!
You’ll never know the impact you’re worth.
Janet Bray Attwood