I wrote a little bit yesterday about the SETA (Southeastern Education and Training Association) conference. How did I come to be a public speaker? Well, right after As the World Turns was canceled, I joined the Georgia chapter of the National Speakers Association, and set on the task of carving out a career in public speaking – figuring I’d need a new way to make an income.
I’ve learned that you should plan your speech well, have it thoroughly memorized, and easily repeatable.
Well… I’m not quite there yet. When I speak, I tend to go with the flow, making adjustments as I go along. The good news is that some new nuggets emerge along the way. The bad news? I couldn’t repeat most of them if I tried.
However, one of the interesting little truths that popped out yesterday was about family and friends. I confided that whenever I felt defeated or attacked by folks at work (specifically, during my early days at Guiding Light), I’d run home to those I loved and vent about how awful those people at work thought I was. “They think I have an attitude problem! Is that true?!? Are they right?!!!!!”
I asked these questions praying my mom and my friends wouldn’t agree with my coworkers.
They never did.
Instead, they’d get indignant on my behalf. “They don’t know what they’re talking about,” my mom declared. “You’re one of the nicest people we know,” my friends insisted. And, despite any evidence to the contrary, I believed them.
I’m so glad I believed them – because their encouragement did what the criticism didn’t. As I struggled to grow as a person, it was that belief that fueled the growth. The unconditional love of my family and friends is what allowed me to find my way toward my best self. Or at least a “better” self.
If you’ve gotten a lot of grief from your boss and/or coworkers about certain “traits” in your personality, go to the folks who know you best. Ask them to remind you why they love you.
Once you’re armed with the knowledge of what’s right about you, give some thought to how you can bring the “you” your friends know to work. You don’t have to “party hardy,” but you can smile more. You don’t have to give hugs, but you can throw out a few smiles, can’t you?
And once you do, you’ll find (as I did) that friendship isn’t something you leave behind when you head for work. It’s in that office, factory, call center or store – waiting to greet you.
On Friday, September 17, the last episode of As the World Turns will air. If you watch it (and I hope you will), please watch the credits as well. As those names roll by, can you make a bon voyage wish for my friends?
May they be happy, and successful, find work that fulfills them… and lasting friendships. Nothing’s better.