My friend Dan Miller grew up working hard on a farm in Ohio. Today, he is an author and a coach and an expert in helping others create careers as communicators. How did get to where he is today? Dan says that while he still lived on that farm he thought to himself:
“There’s got to be something more than milking cows at 5:30 a.m. and throwing hay bales in the heat of summer.”
He discovered the “something more” he was looking for in the books he read – and he read a lot because he had no radio or TV. He went to college, and then to grad school, and then he created a career.
Dan learned three lessons along the way that are imperative for a person who hopes to thrive as a communicator.
The first lesson Dan learned is to find your calling.
To find your calling, you’ve got to identify your passion, your talent, and what Dan calls economic affirmation. Your passions are what you do that makes you feel alive. Your talent is what you can do with excellence. Economic affirmation is a market for the fusion of your passion and talent – people who will pay you to do what you do when you fuse them. Without economic affirmation, you don’t have a calling. You have a hobby.
The second lesson Dan learned is to leverage your message.
Perhaps the product produced by your passion and your talent results in you delivering a message on a stage into a mic. To thrive, you’ve got to leverage it by creating additional products.
A speaker might turn a talk topic into an e-book or sell a keynote on CD – products that will meet needs for your market so that your market still meets your need for an income while you’re not on stage.
The third lesson Dan learned is to blend wisdom with passion.
Passion is exhilarating, but when passion is not tempered, it can be dangerous. Use what makes you feel alive to draw your audience in, but use wisdom to affect their lives for the better while they’re paying attention to you.
I’m a comedian, and a dispenser of information that can change lives. One without the other isn’t as marketable as both used together. It is the life changing information I dispense that gives meaning to the comedy. It is wisdom that guides our passions.