When comedian and actor Robin Williams ended his life in August 2014 I was absolutely shocked. In public, he wore a convincing mask as the “funny man”. Behind closed doors it was a very different story. I can only imagine the burden of his journey. In that moment, I began to fully comprehend how complex this journey is that we call “Life”.
This summer, a long-time friend ended his life just a few weeks prior to the birth of his first grandchild. Once again, I was absolutely shocked. The "mask" my friend wore, equally convinced the world that "all was well". The “mask” prevents us from ever really knowing how heavy the load is carried by another. The “mask” conceals our greatest pain but it can also prevent us from sharing our greatest gifts.
When my friend died, I made a decision that day to do a better job at letting people know, "I care", and to do a better job at becoming a “Merchant of Hope”. Each of us needs to know that our life is of value; that we are loved and cared about. I believed it was time for me to pay greater attention to that fact.
In September, I began sharing the content of the video link found at bottom of this page. I shared my message at the end of each speech. My hope was, maybe someone having a difficult time with life might find comfort in my words. The first time I shared my message it was REALLY difficult for me! I wanted to hide behind my mask.
I knew that 2% of my audience would judge me. I had to remind myself of what a speaking mentor shared with me almost two decades ago. He told me, if I wanted to move from being a good speaker to a speaker that could change lives, then;
"NEVER let “THE 2%” of your audience determine what you say or do"!
I guess LIFE is kind of like SPEAKING.
Too often we become focused on being "accepted or liked". Too often we hide beneath our mask, never being quite brave or honest enough to reveal our authentic-self in the fear of being judged. If we are not careful we may allow “The 2%” to define, direct and even destroy our destiny.
On the other hand, when we peel away the mask, and summon the courage to truly share our authentic-self; we have an opportunity to make a difference in our own life as well as the lives of the 98% who may REALLY benefit from what we have to say.
Over the last few months, I have revealed myself through my message. Several people have shared with me how they had lost hope because of losing a job, losing a family member, poor health or some other reason. They appreciated me sharing in some small way a “sliver of hope”.
One audience member asked me to share my message with a broader audience on social media with the hope of helping; "even just one person". I have been hesitant to do that simply because it is more comfortable to bask in the safe-haven of my mask.
Once again, I feel the discomfort of not wanting to be judged by the 2%. I have had a hard time following my own advice of letting you see behind the mask and just STEPPING OUT! But here I am any way!
I am writing today to REMIND you to "STEP OUT" from under your mask. Take a chance!
STEP OUT and pursue a NEW GOAL you have promised yourself.
STEP OUT and speak your mind! STEP OUT and let the world know you genuinely CARE. STEP OUT and ask for help if you are navigating a difficult time in your life!
STEP OUT however you define that to be.
YES, you may be judged!
YES, you may NOT be liked or accepted by the 2%.
LET THAT BE OKAY!
STEP OUT anyway!
REMIND yourself that still leaves “The 98%” that may just benefit from what you say or do!
JUST STEP OUT!
Doug "Clydesdale" Comstock
PS. Please forward or share with a friend and leave your comments below.
Here is the message I share at the end of many speeches.