Last month I was giving a lecture at a school in Oslo, Norway. My friend who had invited me to speak organized the event. It was the biggest and best auditorium in the whole school, and as I got there, I thought: Wow what an amazing venue. The sound system and video system were top notch, and I got hooked up to the wireless microphone. I was there well on time, prepared to do my very best for the audience that would soon fill up the auditorium… at least that was what I thought.
But you know sometimes things in life just don’t turn out quite the way we want them to. As the time slowly came closer to show time I realized that no one was showing up for my presentation. This was how it looked.
The only people who showed up were the organizer, his girlfriend, and yours truly. Even though the organizer had done good work with trying to market the whole event, the interest was… colder than Scandinavian winters.
At first, I got really upset, sad and personal about it. I sat by myself and felt a feeling of self-loathing. What had I done wrong and what could I have done differently about this? But then I realized that sure these thoughts are valid to feel, but am I going to let them define this whole experience? I took a moment to decide not to give them more power over me and realized that I actually had 2 people in my audience who wanted to hear my lecture.
Even though I thought more would show up, this was what I had to work with. So, I decided to go through with the lecture anyway and give my all to the little audience I had. And after the lecture, I was satisfied that I went through with it, and so was the crowd (the organizer and his girlfriend).
10 days later I had the pleasure to lecture once more in my hometown with the same subject in the public library. The venue was smaller and more intimate, the audio and video solutions weren’t as great as they’d been in Oslo. But it was still a very good setting.
With the last lecture still etched in my memory, my expectations for this lecture were incredibly low. I’d be happy if 10 people showed up to listen and show their interest. Because my expectations were so low, I wasn’t even nervous. I took the whole situation very light-heartedly.
The first people started to show up and take their places. As we got closer to starting time, to my surprise, we had to bring in even more chairs because we had run out of places for people to sit. When it was time to start, the room was filled with 60 eager people ready to be entertained. Talk about contrast.
I couldn’t believe my eyes as I stood there in front of the crowd. But I went through with the lecture, and I was pleased with my performance. As I was in my car on my way home, I was overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for the people who did show up. Tears were almost bursting from my eyelids; it meant a great deal for me to have the opportunity to talk and relate to people in that kind of way.
But the greatest lesson that these two speaking events have taught me is this: My worth doesn’t depend on how many people view me or accept me. The content of my lecture was the same both times, yet different amounts of people showed up. Does that mean that the lecture in Oslo had less worth? NO. The lecture had identical content, and I was the same person presenting it both times.
Most times in life we judge and compare our achievements to how many people like, view or approve of what we are doing. The more approval and social acceptance, the better we tend to judge the things we’re doing. The dangerous thing about that is that we mix our self-worth up in all of this.
I too have so many times done this to myself. And that was what I first did in Oslo. Felt like a failure because no one showed up, but did that mean that I was a failure? Hell no it didn’t.
It’s up to me to choose for myself what I’m worth, and no one can put a price or value on myself but myself. People can say and judge all they want but they can never take away your sense of worth if you don’t let them.
No matter what happens or what people say to you or about you, your internal worth is always the same. And it’s the value that YOU choose to put on yourself.
Let’s take our internal value system up a notch during 2018 because we’re worth it!
Love & Light