Beauty In The Breakdown

Greetings friends!  I just got back from doing 15 motivational assemblies and workshops at K-12 schools in California, Nevada, and North Carolina over the past 2 weeks.  The students were amazing, and it was such a privilege to speak, rap, beatbox, and dance with them.  

As I was reflecting on the experience, I thought about how differently I felt before and after the tour. 

When preparing to go on the Hip-Hop Motivational Assembly Tour, my business partner and I did some major construction work. 

We knew that we needed the speeches that I would deliver to thousands of students to be entertaining, motivating, thought-provoking, funny, educational, and interactive.  And they needed to be all of those things in under 45 minutes. 

So we went through my then-current version of the speeches and broken them down line-by-line and concept-by-concept. 

Anything that was fun but not relevant had to go.  Anything that was relevant but not engaging also had to go. 

In the middle of the process, I began to feel overwhelmed.  I felt like we were removing and changing parts of the speech that I really liked.  I also wasn’t sure if I could perfectly articulate the powerful themes of choosing empowering beliefs and overcoming the fear of failure in ways that would resonate with the students. 

Fortunately, my business partner kept encouraging me and helping me rework the material.  Eventually, the speeches became tight and powerful, and we felt ready for the first stop on our tour. 

Naturally, a number of things didn’t go according to plan.  The entire kindergarten class had to leave in the middle of my first speech to go to lunch.  My second speech got cut short when I received a surprise time warning, which meant that I had to deliver my final 15 minutes of material in 2 minutes. 

But the reception was amazing.  The students laughed, cheered, danced, and were so excited to be learning new superpowers that would help them succeed at school and in life.  The teachers joined in enthusiastically with the students and came up to me afterwards to say that they enjoyed the speeches as much as the students did.  Overall, the first stop on the tour was a great success! 

After the assemblies, my business partner and I were laughing about how stressed I had been during the composition process.  Once I performed the speeches, it seemed obvious that they were great.  But during the dark night of the soul, I had been filled with doubt and worry. 

If we are going to improve anything in our lives, we have to take a hard and honest look at what is working and what is not. 

Embracing change is difficult, especially when it entails admitting that we need to improve something about ourselves.  Our minds are masterful at rationalizing and excusing habits that don’t serve us but that are just comfortable enough that we haven’t changed them. 

But if we can find the beauty in the breakdown and have faith that the rewards of change outweigh the perceived discomfort of making the change, we will be able to make significant progress in any area of our life we choose. 

When something is “fine” in our life, that’s when it can most easily lull us into a false sense of security.  I had to break the “fine” sections of my speeches to make room for the truly amazing new parts to emerge. 

This process isn’t over yet, though!  I’ll continue to revisit the speeches to look for ways to make them even more engaging and memorable.  As much as I might wish the speeches were perfect in their current form, I know that continuous improvements will help make them even better that I can currently imagine. 

What is an area of your life that could benefit from a little breakdown and rebuilding to make it even better?  I’d love to hear from you and continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!  

Posted on September 10, 2015 .