Turn your mess into your message

Can you turn your mess into your message? That was the question keynoter Judy Carter posed to professional speakers at the Edmonton convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Judy was making a great point. She was telling us that our messes, our life crises, and the way we cope with and overcome them can be more than just a turning point in our own lives. They could help other people struggling with similar problems.

Judy Carter says sometimes – as speakers – we overlook our own experiences when we are searching for stories and anecdotes to make our messages resonate with an audience.

Judy, a laid back, funny Californian, used to be a stand-up comic and humorous keynoter. Then she found her audiences wanted something different. “Rather than entertainment, they needed someone with a message, someone who would deliver ‘take-aways’ that improved efficiency, reduced sick days, and boosted their bottom line.”

That’s how she started on her own ‘mess-to-success’ journey. She examined her life, and identified elements that would make effective teaching points. Now she encourages  others to review the obstacles they’ve overcome: losing weight, conquering a depression, starting a business, coping with loss. Set aside humility, cast off guilt or embarrassment. Simply look for the turning point, the action, that was the start of overcoming the problem.

Find two or three action points and you’ve got the makings of a speech or presentation that may help others who find themselves in the same predicament.

Your mess becomes a message of help and encouragement to others.