My Race, Not Yours

I think everyone geeks out over something.

It’s usually something we really love to do, and we appreciate when people do it incredibly well.  Art, photography, musicians, architecture, cooking, parenting, etc.  Even the stuff that other people might consider nerdy: budgeting, maps, scrabble, etc.

Mine falls into the 2nd category.

Public Communication.  I have a slight obsession with it.  It doesn’t really matter what the topic is, I love to dissect the presentation and take mental notes on techniques the presenter/author uses to communicate their point(s) in ways that I could use at some point in a speech/blog.

I love TED Talks.

I know, really really cool Jason.  You are only still reading b/c you have something you geek out to as well.

It’s probably something really cool like craft shows or star wars.

About 2 months ago I went to a one day workshop that was primarily for the purpose of teaching us attenders how to give better public presentations.  The main focus was religious sermons, but it was also geared towards business leaders as well.

One of the last minute replacements as a presenter at this workshop was a man named Louie Giglio, who happens to be one of my communication heroes.  Louie is a pastor in the Atlanta area who has been incredibly influential in my life.  He started a movement called Passion that has impacted a ridiculous amount of college aged students around the world. I still remember the first time I heard him speak about 12 years ago or so.  He spoke with great passion, but wasn’t limited to only that.  It was obvious he was very well prepared and was able to make a somewhat difficult text, that I had heard several times throughout my life, very clear and practical w/out dumbing it down.

During the session Louie taught at the workshop, he talked about men he looked up to in his career.  He talked about wanting to be like those men.  I can completely identify with that.  I see people who are great at the things that I love and a part of me wants to be them.  Not just apply helpful pointers from their style…but actually be that person.

Kind of weird, I know.

Louie then made a statement that I will always remember.  And it applies to every person who has ever geeked out over how good someone else is at something they love.  Any topic.

“You must become the Michelangelo of you.”

The person that you love to watch/listen to/admire as they do the task that you yourself loves to do…you can never be that person.

As much as I love Louie, I am not Louie.  And I never will be.  And I was never created to be Louie.

It is my responsibility to lean into the gifts that God has given to me.  And it is Louie’s task to lean into the gifts that God has given to him.  And even if we were communicating the exact same message, I have to do it my way.  And if I try to do it Louie’s way…the end result suffers b/c of my insecurities about myself.

I will always continue to learn from those people who I admire in the context of communication.  And there are a ton of things that I can pick up along the way from these people that will be incredibly helpful to me as I strive to become better at what I believe I am gifted to do.

However, I have been blessed with being good at something that I love.  And you have too.  The sort of difficult part is to have the courage to admit/accept what your own gifts are.  And then the really hard part is to work tirelessly to continue to become better at whatever it is you geek out over….because you love it….and because you recognize that you are gifted in that area.

And if I try the rest of my life to be the mirror image of those that I think are the best at what I love to do myself…I will have wasted the gift that has been placed into my life.

And most likely it will be because I am scared.

I am scared that “____” is so much better at communicating than I am.  And instead of setting out to run my own race, I limp around the track in a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit.

And I could still do ok.

But I believe that there is a God who has placed a passion in my heart to communicate.  And even if I never stand in front of a stage of thousands.  And even if I only end up blogging every so often and 50 people read it…

That is my race.  And I will love it.  Unless I try to run someone else’s.

“You must become the Michelangelo of you.”