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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Smith

Stage Shift: Embracing Life's Unexpected Turns and Finding Power in the Small Audience

Several months ago, I was invited to be a keynote speaker for a conference with over 1,200 attendees. I was pumped. I spent countless hours, writing, editing, and rehearsing for this large event. It was going to be awesome.

However, upon my arrival, I was informed that I had been moved to a breakout and would be speaking in a small room down the hall. Disappointed and with a bad attitude, I performed a quick sound check and waited anxiously in the front row of an empty room. Just moments before my presentation started, five individuals trickled in and found their seats. I was annoyed…I was supposed to be on the big stage.

Moments later, I was introduced and took the stage, doing my best to channel the same energy and passion I would have had for the larger audience…it was a struggle. Despite the small turnout, I delivered my keynote with fervor. One of my points echoed through the sterile hotel conference room: "Don't worry about what you can't control."

In that moment, I faced a choice: succumb to frustration or focus on what I could influence. I chose the latter. The unexpected turn of events had taught me a valuable lesson in adaptability and resilience. As I shared my insights, I realized the true significance of my words was for the guy who was sitting in the front row waiting for the presentation to begin — me.

The experience became a powerful reminder that life's challenges might change the stage. Still, the essence of the message remains, proving that sometimes, the most impactful audience is the one you least expect.

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