I’m very excited to share a recent experience with you that gives you a glimpse into just how much my life has changed from being on the sidelines to No Longer a Bystander and being fully engaged in life! I said YES to an opportunity for a speaking engagement with my husband!
As an introvert and one who is more of a behind the scenes kind of gal, I truly broke out of my comfort zone and took a place on the platform. My husband and I were the featured speakers at a church in Florida where we were able to share four great presentations. Normally, my husband would be the speaker and I would be quietly (and happily) supporting him from the audience. But not this time because I am No Longer a Bystander! This time, we were both on the platform and both fully engaged in sharing our message. We performed a couple of skits to get things rolling.
Here’s the thing - Bystanders don’t do skits. Bystanders don’t do presentations from platforms.
However, Wonder Robin, who is No Longer a Bystander, did skits and presentations! Woohoo!
If you are an introverted personality, you understand just how out of my comfort zone I was. Introverts tend to be low-key, behind the scenes rather than up in front of people or the center of attention. In fact, many introverts work very hard at not calling attention to themselves at all. If you are interested in learning more about the introvert personality, check out this book, The Science of Introverts.
I have realized through a process of personal growth and development, that I held a belief that as an introvert, I was limited in the possibilities of career choices. I believed that even if I had a desire to have a public voice, it just wasn’t possible for me because I am an introvert. Now I realize that is not true. There are many introverts who are leaders, speakers, and influencers in our world today. Many CEO’s have introverted personalities and yet they lead their companies with great strength and ability.
American society has placed more value on extroverts than introverts.
Have you found this to be true? The message that comes through loud and clear is that the people out in front or on stage or leading fortune 500 corporations are all extroverts. This simply isn’t true. There is also an underlying message that being an introvert means you are valued less, that your place in society since it is usually behind the scenes, is not as important as the extrovert. This is also not true.
First of all, where would the extrovert stage performer be without an introvert graphic designer or sound technician? Where would the extrovert politician be without an introvert speech writer? Where would the extrovert astronaut be without the introvert engineer? Secondly, some of those stage performers and politicians ARE introverts who have developed skills and abilities to perform and orate in public.
Another common trait of an introvert is to say NO. It really doesn’t matter what the question is, the answer, oftentimes, is an automatic NO. You could be asking just about anything, like “do you want to go out after work?” “Would you like to come over for dinner on Saturday?” “We need a substitute for game night. Are you game?” The answer, for most introverts, will be NO!
I remember being asked questions and just saying NO, really without even thinking about it. My comfort zone was my primary concern and going out or doing some activity, was not comfortable. Our kids would ask if they could do something and my automatic answer would be NO. I might change my mind after giving it more thought or listening to their plea, but my first response was always NO.
Growing and developing in my personal life has opened my eyes to many things.
One of the primary changes I have made is that I made a decision to say YES more often. In fact, I say YES to any opportunity that comes my way that leads me closer to my goals and dreams, even if it scares me to death.
I was listening to an album I love of Barbra Streisand’s the other day. I love music, don’t you? Music is a powerful force. It soothes, excites, motivates, thrills and inspires. The album is Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway but the song that really grabbed me was Climb Every Mountain, a duet with Jamie Foxx. I am familiar with the song because I love musical movies and of course, this song was made famous in The Sound of Music.
However, I have to admit, it had been quite a while since I had heard the song and I’m not sure I ever really listened closely to the words. On this particular day, as I was absentmindedly listening to this album, Climb Every Mountain started playing and for some reason, it caught my attention so I stopped what I was doing to truly listen. Check out these lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein…
Climb every mountain, Search high & low, Follow every byway, Every path you know.
Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow, Till you find your dream.
A dream that will need all the love you can give, Every day of your life for as long as you live.
This is an all in kind of song. In two verses and one chorus, it uses the word EVERY 7 times. It encourages us to climb EVERY mountain, follow EVERY byway, EVERY path, ford EVERY stream, follow EVERY rainbow EVERY day of our life! And what is the point of all this? To find our dream, a dream that will need all the love you can give, EVERY day of your life for as long as you live.
WOW! This is a No Longer a Bystander kind of song, right?! If you are living as this song illustrates, you must say YES to EVERY opportunity that comes your way.
You see, I believe that we are given opportunities, not just to benefit ourselves but for the benefit of others. Every time I say NO, I am saying no to an opportunity to help someone or have a positive influence in their life. So now I am saying YES! It forces me out of my comfort zone, gets me off the sidelines and helps me fully engage in life! After all, I am No Longer a Bystander!
Will you join me? Will you get off the sidelines and say YES to the next opportunity that comes your way? I would love to hear how you incorporate saying YES into your life. Please feel free to share it with me by leaving a comment below.
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