So I gave a speech today to the students at Upward Bound for their Career Day. They wanted me to talk about my career, what I do, and how I got there.
Well, what I do probably isn’t exciting for anyone besides myself… but I thought the story of how I came to my current position might have some elements the students could relate to. I know exactly how boring I can be, and let’s face it, not many people are interested in software development. My journey though… maybe they would listen to that.
So I typed out my story. I highlighted a few key life-lessons that I wanted to deliver as take-aways for the students, and I related my experiences to those points.
You know, I never really thought my life was terribly difficult. I never thought my story was moving in any significant way. My story is about working hard to get what you want – simple as that.
I read my speech out loud last night a dozen times without any issues. But as I was standing there in front of the students, I saw them seeing me. Really seeing me. Not just a person giving a speech. Not just a teacher trying to impart knowledge. I could see them seeing me. The real me. Listening to my story, and taking it to heart.
It was overwhelming, and I had to compose myself more than once. I consider myself a good public speaker, but I discovered today that I’m not very good when talking about myself. But they were patient me. And they listened.
It was a powerful experience for me, and I think it was for them too (there were other speakers as well with truly inspiring stories). By the end of it, I was exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, even physically exhausted. When the students were excused, I grabbed my phone to see who I could call to get a hug. I’m fortunate to have several friends who are ALWAYS good for a hug.
I don’t think I was broadcasting my needs, but it must’ve been obvious. By the time I had my phone opened, I looked up to find a line of students waiting to give me hugs. I couldn’t believe it – there was literally a line of people there offering exactly what I needed.
I love my life. My heart is so full right now! Hakuna Matata :)