A few nights ago, while surfing late-night television offerings, I found myself entranced by a rather astute looking, young man giving all he had as he delivered an incredibly passionate speech. The topic of his speech was civil rights, and it was being televised by C-SPAN.
In bottom, right-hand corner of television, name of speaker was displayed as "Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Illinois." I quickly realized I was listening to 36 year-old son of civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson. It caught my attention because I didn't even know Rev. Jackson had a son, let alone that his son was a U.S. Congressman for state of Illinois.
The young Congressman Jackson spoke eloquently, authoritatively and passionately. With television camera focused only on him, I couldn't see his audience, but I imagined him to be speaking to hundreds or maybe thousands of people.
He spoke without notes, and his words flowed smoothly. His thoughts were clear, concise and respectful. He confidently addressed questions from press as passionately as he delivered his speech.
As Congressman Jackson completed his remarks, and host thanked him for his time, C-SPAN camera began to "pan out" and take in a wider view of room in which Mr. Jackson gave his speech.
Within seconds, camera showed entire room. As it turned out, audience I imagined to number in hundreds or thousands was actually about 4 people, as well as about a half dozen members of press.
A total of only 10 people sat before Congressman Jackson as he passionately poured out his heart and soul to them!
At first, I was amazed that Congressman Jackson could get himself so "in zone" for such a small audience. It made me think how discouraged I might feel if I were to give a speech and only 10 people showed up to hear me.
Then it hit me . . .
I was guilty . . .
Caught red-handed . . .
I caught myself playing "all or nothing" game. Maybe you know this game. It's when I tell myself there are only certain times I can put myself "out there" completely, passionately and authentically.
Usually, it's only when stakes are high and game is big. Or I can only be totally who I am in certain situations or with certain people. I'm a master at game. I know exactly where, when and with whom I can totally be who I really am and speak my truth with same passion, authority and eloquence as did Congressman Jackson.