08 Apr The Path Less Traveled- Speaking
Imagine yourself hiking in the middle of a dense forest. You are with one other person, maybe a friend or significant other. This hike is majestic, but far from easy. You encounter various points of extravagance, like spotting a majestic animal, walking along a running creek or gazing out to the distance to catch a breathtaking sunset. But this path you are walking along is not solely encompassed by beauty. There are things that make this walk difficult and intimidating for you and your partner. The food supply is low, you didn’t prepare as much water as anticipated, and you are taking the path less traveled. There are points where the fatigue and duration of this journey makes you and your partner feel that it is no longer worth it. Should you turn back?
The two of you become irritable, frustrated and desire to no longer carry on. You begin bickering with each other because opinions conflict with what to do. One of you wants to take a break while the other wants to keep walking. One of you wants to turn back for good, the other wants to not give up. One of you is so hungry to the point of eating wild berries, the other says that is stupidity.
You are traveling along a path of elegance, and confusion. A path so beautiful that you cannot imagine what the end has in store. But also, a path so strenuous that it triggers the thought of giving up. But you and your partner find solutions to counter the barriers, and move on. You are doing what nobody else is doing, and you know the end is worth it, but the journey itself is even more worth it. You continue the path, and you just go, no matter what, you just go.
I am sure you are thinking, “Why is this a nature talk, not a piece on speaking?” Well, I am getting there. This image of the two of you walking along this remote path is similar to the image I live out while speaking.
Just like you, I have a story. But what good is a book going to do if it isn’t being used to its fullest potential? What good will that truthful story bring to someone if the pages aren’t being opened as much as they should? I don’t want that to happen to anyone’s story, so I choose to take the road less traveled. I choose to take a path of twists and turns, uncertainties and fears. I choose to take the path that will help you. I choose to speak, and tell stories.
I spent 14 months writing, another 11 months publishing, totaling 25 months, and most people would say, “Congrats, that’s it. You’re finished!”
I beg to differ. I chose to step foot on this path knowing that it would be a never-ending journey. I chose this path with the brutal realization that I may or may not make it to the storybook ending that I envision, just like you did with the sunset. I chose this path because I know most people are afraid of the path, just like I am. But someone must do it. Otherwise, millions of stories and works of truth will be sitting collecting dust on our bookshelves.
You may ask, “Where are you along the path now?” Well, good question. I am not at the beginning, and I am certainly not at the end. I am somewhere in the middle finding my way, just like you were. But what’s crazy and tough to swallow is the realization that I will always be at the middle for the rest of my journey, the rest of my life. I will never make it to the end, and, will never backtrack to the beginning. I say this because there is no real end to this career.
What if the end was the sunset you envisioned but it didn’t live up to expectations? What if it was supposedly a 100-foot waterfall but this time of year it was only flowing at 10 feet?
I have learned to find beauty in the journey itself, not the end. In this world, the end is vague and uncertain. The end cannot be trusted, but the path can. Because you know the path is there, as you are walking on it right now. We may not even make it to what our minds have decided “the end” is, so may as well enjoy the journey. When I say “end,” I am not referring to death. I am referring to our dreams, aspirations and end goals. Those can’t always be trusted.
Whether the end for you is to land your dream career, or marry the person of your dreams, live in a certain city, travel the world and so on, the chances of you actually receiving “the end” perfectly to what you envisioned are slim. Life will present its challenges to you, and it is all about the journey, and how you learn to navigate the path effectively.
I am learning to navigate the speaking path as I tremble along this journey. Like you in the forest, the speaking path is scary, unclear and judgmental. I put myself in the center of a room awaiting criticism, judgments and opinions. Despite these obstacles, I trust the journey. I know that no journey is perfectly executed, and these are my roadblocks to accept and navigate around.
Many writers choose not to speak, and many speakers choose not to write. I understand the difficulty of the path I am going down. I know that it is traveled infrequently and is known to be treacherous. But it is also the path with great upside. The journey can be derailing but also extravagant, one that can impact peoples’ lives. So, I take the chance to travel the path of the unknown.
You may have read my story, or at least know what it is about. You may know that my life journey has been far from perfect, and has nearly ended up on the dead man’s road. You may know that my story can be used as a guide to help people struggling in their own lives.
That is why I am choosing the path less traveled, to help you. Speaking provides a platform to expand upon my story and break it down to the point where people can take lessons away and apply it to their own path in life.
As an author who published while finishing my college degree, I have done 15 speaking events. I have spoken to groups such as mental health organizations, self-help groups, churches, college classrooms, fraternities, sororities, and writing clubs. I focus on motivational speaking and how you can apply lessons to better your path. Now at 24, I am planning my path for 2018. I am planning how I can alter my speaking path to help you gain insights applicable to the path of your own.
Although I am taking the main path of speaking, I must say there are many other paths to choose from once I get walking on the main path. There is the path of which people to target, which groups to relate to. Another path is what topics to discuss and deep stories to share. Each talk is different, and I am learning to navigate every path for the best interest of those in attendance. My goal is to focus on the main path, and the side paths, as best as I can so I can guide you when you step into the chaos life may throw at you. I want you to be equipped to handle stressors, break through barriers and overcome obstacles. I want you to learn from my difficult path for how to conquer the path of your own.