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Snacks on the Magic Carpet


It’s one of those words that can invoke an array of emotions.

Like, how I learned that slicing open a package of cheese with a sharp knife can lead to slicing open your finger and needing stitches.

Versus…how I learned that driving a car can lead to personal freedom.

The former was an “in an instant” kind of learn (with a permanent scar to remind me).

The latter… a much longer process that left me with an unconscious competent skill; moving my foot from the gas to brake without thinking.

But last week, I had a “two in one learn” where both kinds sat next to each other in a way that marked me for a life time.

At my first International Maxwell Certification (IMC) event in February of 2015, I saw team members take the stage in front of the audience and share a personal story.

Some made me laugh, others made my heart ache as the pain of life spilled out through words in a way that you sensed a vein had been slit.

And a quiet, but confident voice spoke in my head, “I want to do that.”

What I learned was that the experience of sharing John Maxwell’s stage is called (appropriately) Stage Time.

What I had yet to learn?

Stage Time is a learning experience in itself and indeed…. a process.

I thought, simple enough… create my story, throw my hat in the ring, have my moment on the stage.

And because I’ve been on stages in musical and theatrical productions for years… how hard could it be?

Harder than I imagined.

Fortunately, my life has been full of “story-worthy” experiences, so I’ve never been at a loss for content.

But while I can easily deliver a story what I was not prepared for was …. the point.

For Stage Time it is ALL about… the point…. for the audience.

Over and over and over and over…. I submitted stories to my coach and mentor, Roddy, and he would question, “But what is the point for the audience?”

His feedback:

· it has a nice flow

· the beginning is strong

· try adding more dialogue

· I’m not sure where you’re going with this

and my all-time favorite….

“Keep thinking into it.”

If I heard him say that once, I heard it 50 times!

Stage Time is a process but also… a competition (often 100 or more people).

After weeks of submitting a video, getting critique, tweaking and resubmitting 60 people are selected for quarter-finals, then 30 for semi-finals and finally 10 people are tapped to present their stories on the actual stage.

Making it to the top 30 is a thrill because it means the work you’ve put in has paid off.

An added bonus?

You meet some of the most amazing, kind, talented, story-telling people from all around the world!

But making it to the top 30 on five occasions and never making it to the top 10?

It’s humbling.

“Hold your image” is a phrase we hear often in The John Maxwell Team and I’ve continued to hold mine of speaking on “John’s stage” …both loosely and with resolve!

During the critique of my last video submission Roddy suggested slight tweaks that were easy add-ons.

My confidence building, I asked, “What did you think of the ending?”

His reply?

Uhhhhh, yeah….

And I knew that meant, “Not there yet.”

So, I scrambled for just the right ending, a quote, a thought, a something… that would drive the point home for the audience.

I should tell you… Sam is my trial run audience, so he’s heard every iteration of every speech for the past 3 ½ years (he should have a medal).

As we drove to a family gathering I peppered him for two hours with various “endings.”

Finally, he said, “Yes, that works.”

And he was right!

I made the top 10 and I told my story on John Maxwell’s Stage!

As Roddy handed me the mic and I stepped forward to face my audience of 3000+ people my only thought was, “Own it.”

There was something so incredibly freeing, standing in a place I had dreamed about for so long…that fear had no place beside me.

In that moment… the learning of the years of process and practice joyously collided with an instantaneous learning: goal achievement is freaking awesome.

And I am reminded of a conversation between a dad and his son about the first day of kindergarten.

Dad: Well, what did you learn today?

Son: Learn?! Dad, we had snacks on the magic carpet!

Speaking on stage at the IMC?

The learning was absolutely there…accompanied and amplified by the BEST snack on the biggest magic carpet ever!

Oh…and if you’re curious about the “point” of my Stage Time story, I’ll share that next week along with some other learns that surprised and humbled me.

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