Invisible Hurdles: I Was Not The Talent
Guest Post By: Natalie Davison
Natalie is the Co-Founder of Marrow Marketing (which was born from a seed planted at Master Mindset) and a two-time Master Mindset speaker.
I watched the room fill with people moving at a pace that said this was their first task of the day. They filed in and took their seats. 1, 2, 3… 17, 18, 19…. 41, 42… The heat of anxiety took over, an uncomfortable warmth spreading through me to the tips of my fingers. I could barely breathe and I was supposed to spend the next 3 hours talking.
I hadn’t planned to be speaking that day. Instead, my associate (or, the talent) was supposed to be flying in from Ontario to lead a workshop on social media right here in Moncton. I was just there to stand off to the side while he dazzled everyone with his energy, humour and vast social media expertise. After all, he’d been speaking for years and he was exceptional. My role was to introduce his brilliance to our community. I honestly couldn’t have been more excited about the event until I received a call, two days prior: my associate was ill. He wasn’t coming. Oh, and it was too late to cancel the workshop.
I spent the following two days in a state of panic. 50 people in my community had registered for this workshop and we had no talent. Sure, I had specialized in marketing in school. Sure, I obsessively poured over consumer behaviour in my free time and could give you any social media statistic or trend off the top of my head at any given moment. Sure, I had successfully run social media for brands. Sure, my work had been featured in publications like Canadian Contractor Magazine and the Financial Post… but still, I WAS NOT THE TALENT. I was the backup dancer. I was the person-behind-the-person. I was really good at throwing my associates into the spotlight. I was NOT THE TALENT.
I ran into a few people the day before the workshop. Their words of encouragement included such gems as “Don’t you think you should cancel?” and “You should email people and warn them.” (Soooo helpful, really). I had no choice, I had to do it myself. And because I was so sure that I would butcher my associate’s content, I built my own content.
I stayed up all night with pain in my chest. I was certain someone was going to ask a question that I wouldn’t be able to answer. Or, that I would rush through the material too fast. Or, that I would take way too long. Or, that I would screw up a statistic. Or that I would be sleep-deprived and incoherent. I knew, without a doubt, that I was about to destroy my professional reputation and never be employed again. As I walked into Venn Innovation that morning on 1 hour of sleep, I was certain that I was attending my own professional funeral and the cruelest part of all was that I would be delivering my own eulogy.
I had no choice. I closed my eyes, took a breath and started the show.
I have no recollection of what occurred during that workshop. I remember starting, and I remember the hour afterward where participants stuck around and chatted with me, asking questions and picking my brain. I immediately thought to myself “Maybe that wasn’t so bad after all.”
After the room had cleared, I looked down at my phone. My locked screen was filled with notifications: lo-and-behold, people had loved the session and they were posting about it! I was shocked, relieved and so freaking proud of myself. Little did I know that teaching people how to communicate on social media would become the very way that I would earn a living moving forward.
In hindsight, there are two versions of my professional self. There’s me BEFORE October 2016 and there’s me AFTER October 2016. What separates those two versions is an invisible hurdle. Leaping over (or perhaps being thrown over) that hurdle altered the course of my entire life since. Lucky for me, a perfect storm of factors combined to give me no choice but to take the leap. That experience taught me so much and I’ve been leaping over my invisible hurdles ever since.
What is an Invisible Hurdle?
In reflecting on the Master Mindsets of years past, we’ve become really clear about what we are accomplishing with this event:
Invisible hurdles are born of the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves – those narratives that define who we are, why we matter + what we are capable of. They are built from the fibre of fear + insecurity rather than of wood or steel. Invisible hurdles block the path between us + the life that we desire most.
Invisible hurdles force a choice: to stop and stay where you are or to gather your force and leap with everything you have toward everything you hope to be.
At Master Mindset, we help people leap over their invisible hurdles. We create interactive experiences in which each person can visualize their own leap over their own hurdle. We share honest stories and show our audience that their invisible hurdles are not as imposing as they may have seemed.
Invisible hurdles can’t be easily seen by others. At Master Mindset, we strive to make your own hurdles invisible to you. The life that you’re dreaming of is possible when you start by asking “why not you?“
An invisible hurdle is something that you believe you can’t overcome. It’s a narrative steeped in the idea that you’re not enough. Not rich enough, not young enough, not creative enough, not old enough, not connected enough, not skinny enough, not normal enough, not weird enough. And if you are committed to it, you’ll find a “not enough” for every occasion.
But the trick to overcoming invisible hurdles is just jumping anyway.
“In the big races, where there is no time to think, you have no control. You have no time to make conscious decisions. You must race. You must react. You must relinquish total control of your race to your body. You have to trust it completely. That’s scary. But only if you face that fear can you run the race that you are capable of running, and can you feel like you are truly running the hurdles” – Steve McGill, hurdle coach.
The beauty of overcoming hurdles (invisible or real) is the rhythm and momentum that you gain. Once you get over the first hurdle, it’s easier to propel you over the next ones until you realize that this is just your new pace.
Two days after I delivered that first social media workshop I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize.
Voice: “Hey Nat! It’s Marcel!”
Me (in my head): I have no idea who this is.
Voice: “I met you at your workshop the other day!”
Me (in my head): Weren’t there like 6 guys named Marcel there?
Voice: “I’m putting on this speaking event called Master Mindset.”
Me (in my head): He wants a sponsorship.
Voice: “I loved your workshop. Would you be interested in speaking at my event?”
Me (in my head): No f$%^ing way. What the hell would I talk about? I’m not the talent!
Me (out loud): “Yes. I would.”
The rest, as they say, is history. The entire course of my career has shifted for the better. Peace out, hurdle.
I have a feeling that there is something you need to say YES to, right now. Maybe it’s a career opportunity, or some more education, or a relationship. Maybe you don’t even know what it is because your invisible hurdle seems too big to get over. But if you’re struggling to get to yes and you need a little help, join us at Master Mindset 2018 on November 23.
Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/master-mindset-2018-tickets-49431083702