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500+ for 50 – day 20: acceptance speech

Red carpets.  Backstage interviews.  Fashionable attire.  Smiles from ear to ear.  The awards show is certainly a sight to be seen.  No matter the stage, be it Hollywood or your local social club, an event that serves to honor the successes and sacrifices of others among industry or community can be quite an inspiring gathering.  When you gather people of influence together, you can feel the positive energy swell in the crowd around them.  It’s a sight that brings out the dreamer in all of us.  We can’t help but ask the question, “if them, then why not me?”

I find the most intriguing aspect of any awards show to be the acceptance speeches of those honored.  These are the brief moments when we are offered the opportunity to take a look inside the minds of the men and women behind the exceptional service that we have chosen to celebrate.  In many cases, unless we are a part of the recipient’s inner circle, this will be our sole opportunity to evaluate the character of the individual that we may very well seek to model our future successes after.  So their speech is very important.  Perhaps if we are able to catch a glimpse of the world from that individual’s view, we’ll be able to better understand the road that led them to their success so that we can develop a similar journey to prosperity in our own lives.

Unfortunately many of the Hollywood acceptance speeches that we see on TV routinely leave a lot to be desired.  There are very few personalities of celebrity fame that are willing to remain true to who they are on stage.  So the authenticity of their speech is sometimes a bit questionable.  They spend time thanking their families, friends, co-workers, crew members, etc.  But often it feels as though they’re really just naming names.  And anyone can do that.  But to the victor, you’re on stage for a reason…we’ve chosen to honor you because you’ve excelled in your profession or in your service to others, so tell us candidly, what really drove you to your success? 

Anyone that’s ever excelled at anything in life has faced and conquered adversity on their journey to the top of their profession.  So there’s no doubt in my mind that our awards show honorees have a unique story to share, no matter how much or how little they are willing to reveal about who they are on the night that they are recognized among the masses.  Generally we aren’t offered much insight into the battles that they have fought on their way to distinction.  And that’s a shame, because that’s the meaty substance that could serve to inspire many others to greatness. 

Here is a list of 7 of the most frequently “unthanked” life-forming contributors that could and should be a part of nearly every individual’s candid acceptance speech:

  1.  Thank you to the man/woman who broke my heart… we’ve all had to experience loss at one time or another throughout the course of our lives, and without failed relationships, we would never understand how to become better suited to support the key individuals that will present themselves later on in our lives…the individuals who will become our best friends and the backbone of all our successes.
  2. Thank you to the boss who never realized my true potential… while following the pathway to success, much of what we do will go unnoticed by our superiors whose only intentions may be to see to it that we follow our job descriptions day in and day out…if we remain in those dead end environments for too long, we will risk losing our drive to aspire to greater opportunities that will better promote our talent and skills.
  3. Thank you to the environment that confined me… the picture outside of our window at the moment of our dream’s manifestation will not likely match the one that we will view on the day of its realization…the challenging environment where we reside prior to achieving all that we desire is meant to serve us positively, motivating us think bigger and push harder…it’s only an obstacle if we define it as one.
  4. Thank you to the critics who said it wasn’t possible… to a person who is sincere about their commitment to excellence there is nothing more inspiring than a critic…we cannot not be moved to negative thinking by those who seek to direct us off course by highlighting our perceived inadequacies and introducing the idea of failure, instead we must harness our will to assure that we do everything in our power to succeed despite them.
  5. Thank you to the world who set limits on my beliefs… thanks to society’s prescribed definition of what is and isn’t possible, we are encouraged to seek support from a greater power who puts no limits on what a person can or can’t do with their life…through Him, all things are possible…miracles appear with regularity and dreams are realized through faith.
  6. Thank you for the career that left me unfulfilled… if we enjoyed the monotony of employment that lacks the ability to help us foster our own personal growth, we would remain in positions that are not representative of our true callings in life…so we can be thankful that we had those positions in our working careers because it was those vocations that did ultimately spur the internal conflict driving us to seek far greener pastures.
  7. Thank you for the cloudy skies and rain drenched days… life is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows, and while some may stand at the podium referencing all of the bright spots throughout their career, it’s important to remember that our success really depends upon our response to the less than perfect conditions that we will inevitably encounter our journey…without learning to adapt and perform beneath the darkened skies that so often beckon, we’ll never be able to celebrate our victories in the sunshine that is destined to return.

In life it’s really the people and things which challenge us that are deserving of the bulk of our gratitude.  They activate our resiliency and promote personal growth and change in our lives.  So it’s really a shame that they are so often forgotten at the podium.  I know if I’m ever in a position to be honored for my own development and service, I will never forget to give thanks to my adversity.  It’s what’s made me who I am.

May God Bless!

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