Last week I gave a Presentation Masterclass in Amsterdam. There were 30 participants, all of them women, who wanted to feel more confident shaping and sharing their stories, as they were all at a turning point in their careers. We worked on personality, preparation, passion and performance when it comes to making a difference in how you present to and connect with others.
At the end of the Masterclass, each participant had to stand up on the stage, face the group, and say who they were and what they believed in. Many of them were in a career transition, so several women wanted to say out loud what their new goal was for their professional life. Many of them had worked for 30+ years at the same organisation and now were given the opportunity to find a new direction in their career.
Scary, new, big, bright changes.
One woman stood up, shaking, and her first words were ‘I’m sorry.’. She then went on to say that although she had worked at a bank for 34 years, she realised now that her passion, her true passion, was elsewhere. She told us how the day before she had missed 3 trains because she was helping an elderly woman find her rail connection, which was late, and then they ended up talking. And talking. Sharing their stories.
She realised that this is what she wanted to do – work with the elderly. Listen to their tales, make them tea, take a walk with them, and comfort them when needed. As she shared this she started crying. Silence poured into the room. After a while, someone asked her why she was crying. She was silent and looked at the floor; tears sliding onto it. I quietly asked her if she was crying because this was the first time she spoke of her dream out loud. She exhaled and said ‘Yes. That’s it.’
I know what that’s like. Your dream – your dream in your head, in your heart, stays a dream. Until you say it out loud. Until you put it into words and throw those words into the universe. Until you shape that idea and make it real.
And then, my dear, your dream is no longer a dream.
It is a PLAN.
I had tears in my eyes. We all did. I was crying for my beautiful grandmother, who spent the last of her 94 years being cared for someone who loved her so much and was so committed and passionate about helping her. I cried because this woman was so brave to stand up and share the story in her heart. I cried because we need (NEED!!) more people like her in the world.
I gave her a huge hug. And then I asked her if I could hug her once more, this time for my grandmother. It felt so good. I felt the relief pouring into my body from hers; I felt her sense of pride; I felt that this was a huge day for her and I was honored to watch this new part of history unfold for her.
What dreams do you have?
Share them with me.
Share them without me.
Maybe it’s time one of them stopped being a dream and started becoming a plan. There’s one that’s ready. Which one is it?
PS: I’m starting a new, exciting English project for teenagers soon. It’s totally cool, educational, and will be an awesome day to remember. You heard it here first. (Oh, and it was a dream until I typed that….woot woot!!I I’m so excited!)