Speak to Your Light

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Today I want to share a personal breakthrough I recently made.  As long as I can remember myself I had this self-imposed expectation of doing my best at everything my hands touched. This also translated to all the people that came into my life or even walked close to it. Being a firm believer that everyone comes into our life for a reason, regardless of whether they are there to stay forever or only temporarily, my philosophy has been to leave each person better off than before they met me. Once in a while I may have taken this quite literally too.

It could be a pretty demanding task to go out of your way for every single person in your life. But I did not get tired of it because it didn’t always have to be an earth-shattering life-altering thing you do  – sometimes you can touch another human’s life in a small yet meaningful way.  Mostly it worked well and was a rewarding experience, some other times my best efforts would lead nowhere. As  frustrating as that could be, I kept operating in this mode for years, being unaware of my blind spot. Until I recently discovered an inherent flaw with my system.

The realization came from an unexpected place, through an idea I learned on Public Speaking. Have you ever had someone say to you “Speak to your Light?” This means that you don’t have to worry about pleasing every single member of the audience when you are speaking publicly. Instead, find your light and speak to it. The light will come in a form of a particularly interested face of an engaged audience member who stands out of the crowd by being there for you throughout your whole speech with all of its ups and downs. This face will remain lit up the entire time, will laugh in all of the right places and will be a source of encouragement when you need it most.

There is no way to miss your light. You will recognize it in a crowd of any size.  Any time you feel nervous, or afraid to lose your train of thought – look at your light and speak to it. This will allow you to build courage if you started off nervously, will help you to remain focused and capitalize on your natural strengths. The key is to keep your energy in the right place instead of stretching it thin trying to make the entire crowd happy. The worst mistake to make though is messing an otherwise great speech because of one fidgety or flat out disinterested person in the crowd.

When I learned of this concept it reminded me of my own past experience of speaking at an event with no preparation. Standing in front of the audience with the microphone in my hand I started speaking but without clearly knowing where exactly my speech was headed. I was feeling somewhat scared and nervous when my eyes caught these two ladies – as I learned later,  a mother and a daughter – sitting in the front raw, right in front of me. Their continually lit faces and unfaltering enthusiasm gave me the courage to go on, to  open up, to be my true self, and to finally look up and see more and more engaged faces looking back at me.

Why is “speaking to your light” so important even outside of the realm of public speaking?

Just like in public speaking there will always be people in your personal or business life who won’t be interested in what you have to say, might fail to understand your message or simply be closed for any kind of help or constructive feedback. Some may be not ready for what you have to offer, some may even never become ready. And that is all fine.

Same as a good speaker can potentially mess up a well thought through presentation by trying to capture the interest of everyone including that fidgety disengaged person, it’s true with other situations in life as well. Your best intention to touch every single person who comes your way by enlightening them,  encouraging them to improve their status quo or helping them otherwise – may lead to nothing special or good. It won’t help those who don’t want to help themselves and will only waste your energy and the efforts that you could have otherwise put towards something more productive and effective.

“People inspire you, or they drain you – pick them wisely,” said Hans F. Hansen. Picking wisely is what will make the difference between enjoying  mutually inspiring relationships and staying focused on the energy-draining ones. I may have convinced myself at some point I had to leave everyone better off than before they met me. The breakthrough now is to realize that some people are better off staying exactly where they are at. My message to myself and to anyone  who might need it is to speak to your “light” both literally and figuratively and believe that everything else will fall in its right place.

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  1. Natella, thank you very much for such an interesting post. By the way, as a byproduct of reading your posts I find myself further improving my English

  2. This happened to me when I was teaching a lecture for the first time in my life. I was so nervous, and then noticed a student who listened intently and nodded to what I was saying. That gave me encouragement. It was 15 years ago, but I still remember this. 🙂

    1. Sasha thank you for sharing this amazing insight. That student has definitely been your light! You know, I got to meet one of the ladies from the front row in my audience the other day and I actually told her she had been my light! It felt so good for both of us 🙂

  3. Natella, I am someone who has been experiencing the magic touch of your hands all my life. Thank you for being so very helpful.

  4. Natella,I am indeed appreciative to have been one of those people who was left better off for having met you and I don’t think it will ever end. Following you for a good number of years I have gained insight and wisdom from your posts and now we have your Blog.

    When I was a clean and sober newbie 33 plus years ago, I was called on to speak at a meeting. I was quite reluctant to go before a crowd of people I didn’t know and speak. The lady beside me leaned over and whispered in my ear, ” Get up there open your mouth and what you need to say will come out”. That was her way of saying “Speak to your light” I did and it did.

    It is quite true that you don’t need to please everyone in the room. When I stepped away from the podium I couldn’t believe some of the words that had come from my mouth. Some people agreed others didn’t. It really didn’t matter because I had said what I need to say to start my journey to being a better person and learning to be kind to every living thing.

    1. Wow, Red, it’s so humbling and at the same time so uplifting to hear from you. You have touched my life too and in a bigger way than you may give yourself credit for.

      I love the idea of getting up there and opening your mouth trusting that what you need to say will come out. What a powerful message you have for us today: it didn’t really matter to you that day that everyone agreed with what you had to say as long as you were committed to your journey of self-improvement. Thanks a lot for sharing your wisdom with us and thank you so much for being the way you are all these years.

  5. “People inspire you, or they drain you – pick them wisely”. What a wise piece of advice to follow. But in real life sometimes it is not that easy to tell them apart. I wish we only had to deal with inspiring people.

    1. In my experience Melissa, one way to look at it is – you will continue sharing authentically who you are and those that are your light will stick around one way or another, or will do something on their own with the seed planted in them. As for the others, you don’t really have to do anything about them, they will just sort themselves out along the way and that will be fine for you.

  6. Speaking to your light is a great way to build momentum with business strategy or new ideas. Focusing early on people within your company who support your ideas and are interested in promoting your ideas can be instrumental in transitioning your ideas from concept to reality. When power is in numbers your brightest lights can help others see your vision through the darkness.