Walking into a room full of strangers can be terrifying, especially if you are the one that is supposed to tell the stories. On one hand, I love the rush and adventure. On the other hand, it is scary! They may not like the stories I have to tell. Worse yet, they may not find the stories interesting or useful.
Sharing what is important to you, especially stories that reflect one’s heart, is an act of courage. It is easy to get lost in your story. Whatever you think you are telling, the audience may hear something different. The outcome can be very different than what you expect (hope) will happen.
As the fear grew within me, I sat talking to a good friend. Our conversation reminded me of two truths. It is always easier to go into battle when you know someone has your back. I knew he had mine. Whatever happened, he would be in the frame. When we left we would still be friends. Additionally, while the stories were mine, the truth within them was not. The punch line to each story was a universal truth. While I included a quote from someone wise or interesting, the reality was that I was sharing mantras that transcend culture, time, and place. Paul captured the Christian view of it all; “All actual authority stems from Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11.2) While a Buddhist or Hindu would describe it differently, the truth within all stories comes from God.
I checked my emails as a distraction just before the moment of judgment. I smiled and laughed as I realized a friend was cheering for my stories. With two friends by my side, how could I lose?
I had sixty minutes. I went in hoping that I would not embarrass myself. Ninety minutes later I left energized by the questions, shared stories, and possibilities of friendship. Our conversation did not stop when I left the room. I knew it had simply begun.
Our lives are a series of stories that we should never stop listening to and telling.