Inspirational Direction

It’s almost that time again and it’s anyone’s guess what kind of shenanigans we’ll see at this year’s Oscar Awards ceremony!  Was it only one year ago that Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock?  Whew… talk about drama.

But instead of dwelling on unsavory moments like these, I’d like to shine a spotlight on an Oscar moment from 2022 that you might have missed… Kevin Costner’s powerful speech that he delivered before presenting the Best Director award to Jane Campion for Power of the Dog.  This moving speech is equally applicable to speakers, coaches, leaders, and managers… anyone invested in motivating their people to take some action and reach their potential.

Here’s what Kevin said, “You know, about a half-mile from here, I saw my first full-length adult movie. I know what you’re thinking, but I was seven years old and I was away from my parents and wanted to have some fun.

It was a cowboy movie called How the West Was Won. And what I witnessed that afternoon in the Cinerama Dome was perfect. The curtain, when we still had them, opened to a film almost 4 hours long. It had an intermission where the score continued, subtly signaling at one point that the second half was about to start. I don’t know where everyone went, but I wasn’t going to move an inch. I decided that I would not give up my magic seat. I was determined that I would not miss a minute.

And as I sat in that dark that afternoon 60 years ago, all I really knew was that I was in careful hands. Little did I know that three directors would be responsible for that epic moment in my life. They fired my imagination, and they captured my heart. That’s what can happen when you direct a movie. You can change a mind. You can change the trajectory of a life, of a career. You can capture a heart. But you can’t do it alone.

And directors, tonight’s directors, all know the possibilities. They know what’s at stake. It’s why they give their precious time. It’s why they choose to fight through the long days, and the longer nights, and the endless questions, and the inevitable second- guessing that comes from those who would do it differently if given half a chance.

These five directors have all managed to stay the course. They have all held the line and masterfully given us the gift of a single vision, and for that we honor them.”

I’ve heard people say to me on more than one occasion, “I’m not like you, Katherine.  I’m not a motivational speaker.  I can’t be Zig Ziglar up there in front of my team (or audience.)”  Respectfully, I beg to differ.

I believe that if we take the “front of the room,” we have just signed up for the task of creating a clear, actionable message presented with a strong dose of inspiration so that those receiving our message will feel inclined and even motivated to take a step in the direction we’re suggesting.  Why else are we up there?

You don’t have to become Tony Robbins to be experienced as an inspiration to others.  You do have to integrate some moments of passion, optimism, and energetically present the reasons why, and the steps for how, they can and should follow your advice, example, or requests.  Without this, your message will come across as just one more thing to remember or add to their long to-do list.

Every time you take the “front of the room,” you have the power as an owner, leader, or speaker, to fire imaginations, change a mind, capture a heart, and change the trajectory of a life, of a career.  That is the power of encouragement, of passion, of belief in your people.  This is the power of hope.  And that is the responsibility you have as a leader… to inspire.

Imagine if 60 years from now, someone on your team remembers your team meeting next week (or an audience member remembers your speech) like this:

As I sat in that meeting 60 years ago, all I really knew was that I was in careful hands. Little did I know that the speaker (or my boss) would be responsible for that epic moment in my life. They fired my imagination, and they captured my heart. They changed my mind. They changed the trajectory of my life, of my career. They captured my heart.

Don’t just show up at your next meeting or presentation and let the wind blow it where it will.  Do the work.  Give some thought to how you will craft your message to deliver unmistakable clarity enveloped within a huge dose of inspiration for those who are ready to moved, captured and forever changed.

PS:  If you don’t have a clue how to accomplish this, the good news is that you are definitely not alone and it’s easier than you’ve ever imagined.  At LionSpeak, we can help.  Call or message us for a complimentary 15-minute coffee chat about the options we can suggest.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
~ John Quincy Adams

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