201: The magic is in the every day, speakers.

On this week's episode of This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon shares her tips for speakers to help them create talks that audiences remember.

The magic is in the every day, speakers.

Sometimes we miss it, because we’re too “busy” - or too un-enthralled with the slog of the daily grind that we miss out on what’s happening just beneath the surface… if we can just “see” it.

Seeing the magic in the every day is essential for us as speakers.


I was taking my morning walk the other day, and was listening to Rob Bell’s podcast (The Robcast) - which I love. And he said this:

We think some people are called to the big things… and other people… aren’t.

I would do these sermons… there were these big crowds, stage, lighting was right, adrenaline. Everyone was gathered and I would say stuff.

What happened is that my life became about those moments.

I remember doing this event in 2002/2003 in Atlanta…. I had this chair that I was going to use as some sort of prop. And I sat down in the chair…and I remember thinking “Ah, this chair feels nice.” Almost like I had gotten used to the big moments. Because I was a pastor, they were kind of like sanctified God moments with a microphone. They became the norm. And ever so subtly, the rest of life became hanging out, waiting for the next big hit.

And then when I became a dad - I can remember playing with my boys in the backyard… I felt almost torn because I wanted to be present with them and not miss a thing, and yet… I distinctly remember this feeling: just killing time, waiting for the next big thing. But right in front of me was the big thing! Being present with the boys was the big thing.

Something began to break for me.

Because what happens when you end up with the big moments, and then the REST of the moments are what you just need to get through - the slog, the grind, the routine, in order to get to the next big pleasurable, meaningful moment… And what that does - ever so subtly - life becomes the stuff that’s big and the stuff that isn’t. The stuff that matters and the stuff that you just have to get through.

What do I do with this long commute? Diapers? Another morning of taking the three year old to the park? The going home, the nap routine… What do you do with another meeting about the 3rd quarter budget?

Gradually I began to see things in a whole new way, which has transformed everything…

When you sacralize the every day, when you ritualize it - what you do is you’re paying attention to all the little, mundane details. And you’re seeing them in a larger, connected web of meaning.

Everything is about seeing the details of your life in a larger sphere of meaning.

<3 YES.

Rob’s words reminded me of so many conversations I’ve had with my speakers, again and again, who wonder if their blah-blah, regular, mundane life is worth talking about.

Who am I to have a powerful story to tell? I haven’t lived the most exciting life. I haven’t had some tragic story that people are yearning to hear. The day-to-day of my life is nothing worth talking about. I don’t have any stories to tell.

Here’s the truth: If you can’t see the magic in the every day, you won’t have a story to tell. But when we can see wonder and magic in the every day - and articulate its meaning - the stories will leap out at you, and those stories will move people.

The difference between a leader who moves their audience and a leader who doesn’t is a leader who can see the magic and power of the every day moment. Who takes the time to stop, pay attention, and take notice. Who recognizes that the slug and grind of the every day is merely a cover for something bigger, and that it’s not just life-giving and a break from the slog to see something more - but it’s our JOB to do so.

Yep, life’s a slog. It’s brutally mundane, sometimes. But it’s our job as speakers and leaders to find the magic in the mundane, notice it, and articulate the meaning we might take from it. To help shape the experience of this world we’re all living in from day to day.

So, speakers, my Movers…

You have a story to share. It’s right there in front of you, every day. If you can see it. <3


Resources and links:

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