said 1 year, 2 months ago:
If I have to choose one of the four items you lay out, I’m going with #1. While I’m not sure I have a guiding manta ray, I do have a guiding principle: luck favors the prepared.
In other words, I take advantage of every reasonable opportunity that comes in front of me. (These days I’m balancing that with saying “no”, as they haven’t legalized cloning yet.)
When I look back on how I got to where I am, a lot of it was luck. For example, we get a lot of free publicity because I am the “tech expert” on Maine’s NBC affiliates. I got that job because I sat on a panel years ago where one of my co-presenters had a gig as the “style guru” on the evening news program over there.
Because I did a good job on the panel, when they asked her if she had any connections to the tech community she suggested they talk to me. I prepared for my first 5 minute segment for three or four hours.
For every presentation I do that’s an hour long I easily put in three to four hours of practice, not including the six or so hours to create the presentation in the first place. (I often try to repurpose presentations for just this reason.)
Life is constantly giving opportunities, but mostly to people who have already taken advantage of previous opportunities. Always give your best, even when it’s a small audience. You never know who’s in the audience, and what doors they may open for you.
I read Obama’s autobiography (don’t stop reading just b/c you may have different political beliefs than me, this next part is important): He often gave presentations to near empty halls and often spoke to just one or two people at a kitchen table. He believed that you give 110% whether you’re speaking to a sold out $1K a plate dinner, or just to a single person.
Likewise, Kurtis Blow, the original rapper recently came to town I saw him. Sadly, I was one of the few. In a place that easily can hold 800 people, maybe 20 showed up.
Embarrassing for everyone, to say the least.
Although he acknowledged the show wasn’t quite sold out, he put on an amazing show, even jumping into the “crowd” at one point and busting a move with the audience.
I promised myself that I would always try and give the same level of energy to any presentation I gave, regardless of how many or how few people showed up.