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An Audience of One

Last week I gave the best, most effective, motivational speech I have ever given.

It wasn't for a large group. It wasn't on a fancy stage with a spotlight. I wasn't even wearing any make-up. Actually, it was for an audience of one.

A long time friend of mine had gotten himself into drugs. Every time we went out together he was high. It was making me so angry. I thought, "That's it! Why do I need people like this in my life?"

But rather than getting angry and ending our friendship, I got together with him to talk. Rather than telling him what he was doing wrong, and what he needed to do, I painted a picture of the man I used to know. I reminded him of who he was when I met him. The man who was so awake. The man who was so talented. "This isn't you," I said.

We both cried as we held each other.

He called me a month later to let me know that he is living his life sober, not for me, but for himself.

I always tell my consultation clients to get a gig. But the audience you might want to affect most could be the person sitting across from you at the dinner table.

As speakers, we can make a difference, not by telling others what to do with a powerpoint list of action steps, but by listening, caring, and reminding them of who they are. Love is an action step that each speaker needs to do themselves.

6 comments:

Dr. Audrey Levy said...

Judy, as usual, you touched my heart today, as you touched your friend's heart on that day. I am sure others will be touched as well. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah (balls, for those who aren't Jewish) to continue writing blogs on such a persistent basis, not to mention pursuing the career path you have chosen. I admire you greatly.
With love,
Dr. Audrey Levy

Tony Brent said...

God bless you Judy, for all you do, have done and will do in the future.

Rena Baker said...

Well done. And thank you for sharing this, you have truly touched more than one.

May Jesus Bless you,
Rena Baker (McNut)
Publicist

Anonymous said...

That's great that you helped your friend, Judy. I just want to say, though, that there is nothing wrong with getting sober because someone else wants them too. In fact, I can't think of a better reason than to do something like that for someone else rather than saying," I have to do this for me" Can't personal improvement have a component of selflessness to it? Why is doing self improvement for other people so demonized these days? When people say, "I'm doing this for me," it sounds so self-centered and all about them. I think it's really selfless to give up something like smoking, drinking or whatever it is that is destructive for another person. To me, that is a perfectly acceptable reason to do it. In fact, it's even better than doing it for yourself because most self destructive people need to stop being so self-centered and focus on how their behavior affects other people in their lives. So if he said "Judy, I am doing this for you," that would be so profound and would speak volumes about what a great influence you had on him and just how much he cares about you to give up something he loved so much.
If someone doesn't care enough about themselves to get sober, but cares about someone else enough and gets sober for them, what is wrong with that? Anyway, I think there was a part of him that did this for you and that's totally cool.

Theresa Candelaria said...

Hello Judy. It is sooo important to remember this. And Its wonderful you had the insight to remind your friend of the beauty. When I got sober over 25 years ago, I hit bottom, but at the same time, I had to know that getting sober was going to make my life better. I loved how you talked to him. What great thing to have a gift and be able to share it. Lahmed-vavnik of you! (For those not Jewish, one of 36 righteous people whos acts save the world form destruction. In this case it could be Judy, or Judy was the conduit for her friend to continue on his Lahmed-vavnik course.)

Janet Graham said...

ask not what your friend can do for you but what can you do for your friend...