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Raise Your Hand if You Want a Do Over

By Diana Patton on 11/29/2016 | Remarkable! People

I have a confession. Every time I view my October 2014 TEDxToledo talk, I instantly cringe. I watched it again yesterday in the company of my Women in Success series students at the University of Toledo Eberly Center for Women. I was teaching a course on public speaking. We all watched the video and offered critiques at the end. 

I do not consider it my best talk. When I first watched it on video, I remembered screaming on the inside, saying “Slow down. Stop doing that. Why are you saying that? What does that have to do with the talk? Oh, my goodness…Why, why, why?”  I just sat there, watching, with my hand on my head, in a state of dismay, and with an instant headache. 

At that moment, the negative thoughts started flowing. “Really?…And you consider yourself a professional speaker? This is awful. Give it up. Just stop while you are ahead.” I was devastated that so many people would watch this video. I wanted to ask the curator to remove it. I wanted a do over. 

That is really how bad I felt. I even contemplated whether I should even be in the speaking business. I questioned why God would not have allowed this speaking engagement to be my best talk. After all, that was not my first time speaking. I really fell into a slump.

Some of you reading this are likely scratching your head in confusion, surprised that I would feel this way. After all, I did receive many compliments on my talk that day. Over the years, I have had folks tell me that my TEDxToledo talk was powerful. Some have said that they were blessed and touched by the talk. I have even landed some speaking engagements because of it. So, yes, I concede, the talk is good. It’s just not great.

Has this ever happened to you? Where you felt like you did not do your best work? Where you wish you could have a do over to relive a moment in time? Given another chance, you would get it just right. Worse yet, perhaps your “not-so-best” work is now chronicled in history via video or photograph to be viewed repeatedly in the public eye. 

If you have ever felt that way, you are not alone. I get it. Several people have had moments when they are not at their best. Several people wish they could have a do-over. Think of the many actors who have put themselves out there for public review for their “not-so-best” acting moments to be chronicled throughout history. Think of the people whose professions are always in the public eye and subject to public criticism and judgement.  Think of any leader who has sacrificed their reputation and comfort to say and do things that could have been said or done much better. Think of a social media post, an email, or something you said where you wish you could have a do-over to get it just right. 

It all comes down to a choice. Either you crumble under the weight and pressure of the “not-so-best moment,” or you keep going. It’s a choice to muster up enough resilience to get your butt back out there.  For those that keep going, they view their do over in terms of just that—they do it over. They don’t succumb to the, “I did it wrong and I’ll never get it right,” mentality. Nope. They view their moment in time as a means to get better. Instead of focusing on how bad it is, they see the moment as a learning opportunity. They see it as growth. Instead of living in a state of mortification, they start charting an improvement plan. They seek out mentors and professionals to help them improve their craft. They read. They constantly learn. They practice. They keep taking steps forward. They never give up.  

That is exactly how I have viewed my TEDxToledo talk. Sure, yes, I still watch it and cringe. I have decided not to live in the corner in the fetal position wishing this video would just go away. Instead, I watch it and see so many things that I can do to improve my speaking. I have purchased books on how to improve my speaking, I watch other powerful speaking engagements, and I continue to get out there. Now, I am a grateful for my TEDxToledo learning experience. 

What areas of your life do you need to get up and do over? Have you given up on a dream, an idea, or a path that you thought was for you but because of one moment in time, you packed your bags and ran away? I challenge you to pick that moment back up. Face it. Examine what you are supposed to learn. Devise a plan on how you will move forward. 

After all, there could be people who are missing a blessing that you, and you alone, can provide to them. Do not let a “not-so-good” moment in time stop you.

I am so grateful that I did not abandon my inspirational speaking path. I am going to keep doing it over and over again until I get it just right.

Diana Patton

Author

Diana Patton is an inspirational speaker and recognized civil rights advocate. Diana recently published her inspiring autobiography, Inspiration in My Shoes, in which she uses her harrowing personal story to help others find the courage and strength they need to be successful. Learn more by visiting her website at www.dianarpatton.com.

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