When was the last time you stretched yourself in a big, uncomfortable way? I recently did just that when I attended the Dynamic Communicators Workshop. It’s a workshop led by nationally renowned speakers, Ken Davis and Michael Hyatt. It was the hardest I’ve worked at a conference in a long, long time. It gave me the opportunity to bring clarity and focus to all of the different ways I communicate as a pastor.
We first learned a method of constructing all different types of communication called SCORRE™. SCORRE™ applies in most every kind of communication, especially pertaining to preaching and public speaking. In addition, SCORRE™ suggests a way of questioning oneself and determining the place to which you will be taking your audience. If you know where you want your audience to go it makes it that much easier to take them there.
Every day of the conference we worked with a personal coach who helped us craft and present a speech to a group of our peers. We had to give three separate speeches to our small group. Each of us were critiqued, evaluated, and encouraged. I can’t imagine a more helpful conference for anyone who communicates for a living.
But it was a stretch. It’s not easy to emotionally open up in front of a group of strangers. But those strangers became friends. They provided constructive criticism. They lent support. They did so because they were in the same boat. We all stretched ourselves.
You can stretch yourself when you adopt three attitudes:
- Willingness. An attitude of willingness is essential. You can make excuses all day, every day that will keep you from stretching yourself and taking the next step. I had to be willing to get away from the demands of every day work life, willing to make a commitment to do something uncomfortable, willing to work hard. An attitude of willingness will stretch you simply by making the commitment to take the plunge.
- Vulnerability. An attitude of vulnerability is a dangerous thing. Studies have shown that one of the greatest fears people have is speaking in public. That’s probably because when we are in front of people we are exposed to all kinds of risks. What if they don’t like me? What if I forget my words? What if I look silly? But an attitude of willing vulnerability is actually an endearing thing to an audience. Open yourself up and you will be loved. An attitude of vulnerability will stretch you by enabling you to confront and overcome fears.
- Creativity. An attitude of creativity means that you are willing to say, “yes” to paths, twists, turns, and trails no matter where they may lead. At the SCORRE™ Conference we had to come up with three different speeches. It stretched my creativity. I had to say, “yes” to doing each of the three speeches because they were expected of me. What a great exercise. Saying, “yes” forced me to explore topics and expand my creativity. An attitude of creativity will stretch you by helping you discover new and exciting paths in your work and even in your play.
What ideas do you have to help me stretch myself even more?