Someone trying to contract with me to give a keynote in a very cool country (*fingers crossed*) today asked me how many talks/classes/keynotes I’ve given in my career. I realized I had no idea. I went back and counted.
I’ve spoken at 207 various events since I started in mid-2002. That’s an average of 20 or so a year. And given that the first few years were very slow, you can see how that works out to a lot more than that in the last few years (and indeed my past presentations list demonstrates just that).
People ask me how I do the speaking and the writing and hold down a full time job. I just shrug and make that weird “I don’t know” sound that includes no actual words (sorta like “uh-ah-uh”). I really don’t know. I just do it. I love what I do–and when you’re passionate about something it feels a lot less like work.
After reading that count, I feel rather old. And rather busy. I would be off to grab a cocktail as consolation for both if I didn’t have a nighttime City Council meeting to attend………Which I love attending– hello City Council
The advice I’d share with newbies on the speaker circuit? Pace yourself for ceiling cat’s sake. You won’t go out of style. Only take what you can realistically accommodate without sacrificing your sleep, your personal life, or your job. I’m taking a lot fewer gigs, especially traveling ones, nowadays largely in an attempt to reinvigorate my personal life (here’s hoping) and to have more mental space to devote to being a new director. So if you’re out there speaking…just be real with yourself, your loved ones, and your employer. You’ll find a balance as long as you’re consciously thinking about it. We can’t all be Stephen Abram and fly from place to place being super smart all the time