Overcoming obstacles with Optimism


Life Design September 2012.  Thanks Ciesco for taking this picture.

Life Design September 2012. Thanks Ciesco for taking this picture.


I have become frustrated often trying to figure out how to get invitations to speak at schools and community organizations. Yet, I cannot blame groups I reach out to. Until they have heard me speak and understand the message I deliver, I can only imagine their mistrust when someone writes and says, “Hey, I have a whole lot of brain damage. Want me to come and speak to your group about the amazing lessons I can teach?” Okay, I do say it much more eloquently than that. I admit, regardless of how wrong I would be, I, too, would doubt a person with significant brain damage could deliver a coherent message applicable to a group I was responsible for leading. Therefore, how do I get more invites? What do I do to reach more people? How do I share the wisdom I have gained from life?

Probably the most frustrating –yet telling- thing for me is the response I receive once I have spoken to any organization. Every speech I have finished has ended with the leader inviting me back and promising to tell other people about my eagerness to educate groups on neurological conditions. Teachers, leaders, and community organizers all felt I impacted the lives of those who heard my message.

I have been told I need a platform -to narrow down- to a specific lesson I teach. In other words, I need to focus on only one cause. This will draw in a prime group of supporters. It will be easier for people to grasp the message I can share. While I understand the theory behind this statement, I also find it frustrating. All of my experiences link together. If it had not been for developing epilepsy while in middle school, I would not have had brain surgery. No brain surgery would have meant no stroke. If I had not had a stroke, I would not be the person I am today.

Maybe I am the “jack of all trades and master of none.” Yet, the number of people I have touched, and the countless others I will, makes me fear narrowing down my focus to a singular topic would leave out those who need to hear this message. I am concerned this would limit the variety of audiences who could learn from my experiences and realize they are not alone. It is a big world out there with a lot of different people and needs. The world is far too big for me to find a single platform.

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photograph.

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photograph.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman


Comments on: "The World Is Too Big" (7)

  1. Don’t worry about the nay-sayers telling you to focus on just one message. ALL of your experiences are relevant to your ultimate message to keep on trying no matter what life throws at you.

    There’s no better way to grow your audience than what you’re already doing. Word of mouth is powerful. It may not always be the fastest method, but it’s the strongest and longest-lasting.

    Keep on being yourself and I’m certain you will continue to succeed!

    • Thank you so much Diane. That means a lot to me. Thanks!

      Speaking of word of mouth – that is how I first heard about you. I am getting ready to start your newest book “Duplicity”. I am excited, and grateful, that you followed up “Faces” with this.


  2. Be sure to get letters of affirmation from the places where you have spoken to use as references for the ones where you are applying. In your letter, quote snips from the letters that are pertinent to the talk. If one event leads to another, shorten the ones that lead to the main discussion of your address and concentrate on the major issue. What you have to say is important to many people.

  3. oc1dean said:

    ePatient Dave and his Patient Voice Institute might be a good example.

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