February 15th, 2013… The Roadshow of Life

I write this post today from 30,000 feet sitting on (or is that in?) a plane en-route for Sydney. I spent last night in Perth and the night before in Darwin. Next week i’ll be visiting Adelaide and in the coming few weeks I’ll be in Brisbane, Melbourne and Tasmania before flying back to Sydney. Why? Well I’ve just started what I’ve been told is called a ‘Speaking Roadshow’. Thankfully it’s a good thing.

A roadshow for those who don’t know (myself included until recently) is when a group/business/school invites you to speak at series of events that they organize. Two days ago, in a hot and muggy Darwin, my 19 event roadshow began. It was epic!

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Although this map suggests a driving route, I’m happy to say I get to fly!

A few years ago, a tiny school in the middle of the Canadian prairies emailed me and asked whether I’d been interested in speaking to their students about my journey of 100 Things. Jumping at what I saw as being a fun opportunity to make a small room of kids laugh at my antics (I was in Canada at the time to deliver a baby- Number 23 from the list!), I quickly created a small powerpoint presentation and turned up to the school nervous but excited. Thankfully the talk went down really well but little did I know how that talk would develop.

Two years on, i’m proud to say that my one talk in Canada was the beginning of what is now a popular presentation that I now present to tens of thousands of people each year. Not only is it schools that invite me to speak, but it’s community groups, companies and charities around the world. It’s as surprising as it is important.

I truly believe that although everyone has goals, not everyone takes the time to acknowledge them. I ask most people I meet whether they have a list of goals and the most common answer is something to the effect of ‘I’ve never really thought about it’. My goal when I’m invited to speak to groups (and generally now as this journey continues) is to change this so that people do take the time to make goals, better still- achieve them! I’m so passionate about this in fact that I truly believe that it this could be the catalyst for a better world. In my opinion this change is something that can be quickly achieved with the combination of a few key ingredients, one of which being giving yourself permission to do so.

Yesterday when posing this question to the group of people in the room, one man poked his hand into the air and shared that at his recent 50th birthday, he created a list of 50 things that he wanted to do. “So far..” he proudly announced to the room “…I’ve ticked off 18 and I’m working on 2 for next week!“. From personal endeavors to acts of complete kindness, his list was representative of someone who’d given themselves permission to think in depth about about who and how they wanted to be. His smile as his colleagues peppered him with questions after his announcement showed that he was happy. His list as he later went on to explain had given him direction and purpose at a time where others risk losing these attributes.

Moments before addressing the room

Moments before addressing the room

This morning in Perth I spoke to another packed room, everyone before me wearing ties or dresses. After speaking about the concept of making excuses for ourselves, one man shared his humerous story of wanting to learn to play guitar. Having bought a guitar 4 years ago, he’d had a few lessons until one day a guitar string broke. Not knowing how to change a string (a 2-minute operation), he put his guitar in a cupboard and as yet has yet to retrieve it. Needless to say he is currently no closer to mastering the instrument. The beauty of this situation though was that throughout the workshop, which in part focused on how to take the next step in achieving a goal, not only did we address the literal steps of how he would again address his long forgotten desire to play a guitar, but we also identified and broke down the reasons (or better still the excuses) that had held him back for so long. With the virtue of honesty and openness, he acknowledged that laziness was a main cause and on a slightly deeper level he admitted that he’d allowed the first hurdle (that of changing a string) to de-rail his entire dream. His desire had wained and his commitment with it has vanished.

With a workshop aimed at allowing everyone present to identify and address a goal of their choice, the man soon made a plan;

“That’s it; I’m going to learn one song in 2013- ‘Lonely Boy’ by the Black Keys!”

I believed him too. The first step was fetching the guitar from the cupboard of course.

With this roadshow taking me to every state over the next  month or so, I have to acknowledge how fortunate I am with what is turning out to be a part of my life. Being able to spread a positive and important message through sharing my story is not only something that I thoroughly enjoy but it’s something that allows me to connect with people from every level in life. What’s more is that on every occasion, I’m lucky enough to see the best side of people; the side which is inviting, open, honest and generous. I’m certain that it has something to do with a mutual connection based on the ideas of simply trying to be happy. After all, that in my opinion is a goal we all innately share.

It was actually because of this type of generosity that soon after finishing my first talk in Darwin that I found myself face to face with a 5.4 metro crocodile named ‘Chopper’. You see, after delivering my speech, a lady by the name of Jude raced up to me and said in no uncertain way that I ‘needed to go cage diving with a croc!‘. Unaware of this need prior, I welcomed the suggestion with open arms (I’d never done this before!) and after what seemed like 5 minutes of discussion, I’d been taken to Darwin’s main tourism attraction; ‘Crocosaurus Cove‘. Jude as it turned out knew a few people in town, one of whom ran this crocodile sanctuary, and with a special invite to jump into a perspex cage, aptly named the ‘Cage of Death’, that would be soon lowered into a huge swamp-like enclosure rife with huge prehistoric crocodiles, I found myself being quickly lowered into the water with no say in the matter. There would be few moments in my life where I’ve come to eye to with something that in a split second could eat me whole but as Chopper swam around our cage, I couldn’t help but feel thankful that he seemed fairly uninterested in exerting the energy to try and smash open my cage. I should say thanks to Jude and the crew at the cove- great fun.

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So with just 2 days gone in this tour, I’d have to say that not only have the talks and workshops generated some great results, but once I again I sit on a airplane with a big smile on my face. I’m happy for one, but secondly I’m convinced that this journey is doing something far more impactful that I ever thought it could. This isn’t just the beginning of a 19 event roadshow, this is the beginning of something I can’t wait to unearth.

100 Things… What’s on your list?

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