Success Your Way: Frank Sinatra Was Right
Subject: Success, Motivation, Self-Esteem, Confidence
Victor Antonio G.
A week ago I did a keynote speech in Los Angeles, California for the telephone company Verizon. The keynote went extremely well. I stayed afterwards to sign books for the group which lasted over two hours. During that time I received many compliments and kind words on my keynote.
A gentleman stepped up to have his book signed and asked me what it took to be successful in business. It’s a tough question to answer in a minute, especially when there was literally a line stretching out of the door behind him.
I told him, “You have to be you. You have to do things your way.”
He looked at me somewhat happy and puzzled at the same time. I believe happy because I took the time to answer his question, but puzzled by my message. I couldn’t elaborate then, so I will do so now.
When I started speaking, I studied the top speakers in the market. I would watch how they'd moved on stage, listen to their wording and study the techniques they'd used to keep the audience engaged.
I would take these tips and try to incorporate them into my speech. What I quickly learned was that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. I tried to turn a phrase like the other speakers but it didn’t seem to have quite the same impact. Even when I tried to use some of their audience participation techniques, it just didn’t feel right when I tried it.
Now let me fast forward (i.e., advance) my speaking career by 2 years.
I was on my way to do a speech at Valencia College in Florida. I also had another keynote address the following day at BellSouth. At the College, prior to going on stage, I was rehearsing the speech in my head; going over all things I wanted to make sure I didn't forget. And as I was doing this, something hit me. Here I was trying to make sure my speech was technically right, but it wasn't me. Even though I was rehearsing, I was really rehearsing how other speakers delivered messages. But that was the problem! All my speeches were technically right and therefore pretty good. But I didn’t want good, I wanted GREAT! At that moment I made a fateful decision that has changed the way I approach speaking and my audience. I decided I would do the speech MY WAY. I was going to be me. I was going to let it all hang out there in public, come what may. I was going to go on stage and just enjoy the process of speaking without over-intellectualizing everything I said.
Go to my website at www.thelogicofsuccess.com. I captured that day on videotape. What you will see when you watch the videos is a person enjoying the process of speaking for the first time in front of a very receptive audience. I was in full-swing of having fun and sharing my message. At the end of the speech, the unexpected happened. I received my FIRST standing ovation. I was shocked and happy at the same time.
The next day I went to Atlanta to speak at BellSouth. I was having a conversation with myself again that went along these lines: “Can I do what I did yesterday at Valencia? This isn’t a college. It’s a corporation. I don’t know if they’ll be as receptive.”
This internal debate went on in my head up until the last few moments before I was about to speak. I can’t tell you what happened next or why, all I know is I said to myself, “The hell with it. If I can’t do it my way, why do this at all? Do I want to be original or not? Screw fear. Let’s just do and see what happens.” I told myself.
I did the speech my way. And, as you can probably guess, the speech was a hit. Another standing ovation!
I learned an important lesson after the second speech. It doesn’t matter who you speak to, it only matters that you’re good at doing it. Delivering content and making it fun have become the cornerstones of my speeches.
I was afraid to do it my way in the beginning and never really felt totally at ease on the stage. I was afraid that the audience would reject ‘my way’. But they didn’t!
Don’t be afraid to do things your way. No matter what challenges you face, personal or professional, you can only be great at what you do when you do it your way. You can’t go through life mimicking what others do. Here’s a question: What makes their style so much better than yours?
The next time you’re in doubt and wonder if you should be yourself, I want you to think about the following: You are unique and so is your perspective. What people want is not some reformulated or contrived you, they want you; your perspective, your ideas.
Society is bent on making us all conform to social norms deemed acceptable. I don’t want you to go off the rails and be a nihilist or non-conformist and say, ‘screw society’. That would be taking it too far. What I'm asking you to do is consider or reconsider how you approach your career, family or profession. Ask yourself if you are being true to your standards of happiness. Are you compromising who you are? Are you selling yourself short or selling out just to be considered ‘accepted’? Are you doing things because society expects it of you or are you doing it of your own free will?
Frank Sinatra had it right when he crooned, “I did it my way!” Sinatra probably knew that you could be good, a euphemism for mediocre, doing it their way. But, you could only be GREAT doing your way.
Please feel free to forward this article to a friend or colleague.
Copyright © 2005 by Victor Antonio G. All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio G.
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Victor Antonio G., Sales Influence All Rights Reserved 2002-2009,
A business motivational keynote speaker for events and conventions
Travels from: Atlanta, Georgia info@SalesInfluence.com
For booking information call: (678) 895-6068
11770 Haynes Bridge Road, Suite 205-501 Alpharetta, GA 30004