More Personality Please!
Ironic timing with this series. This past week I was in Albuquerque where I was born and raised to speak at a health care conference. I was excited to go home and spend a little one on one time with my dad and eat as much green chile as I could possibly stomach. I am quite sure I achieved my goal!
As I was preparing for my trip early last week I received an email from a old friend named Jason Riggs. Jason and I have known each other since the 3rd grade and he is now a singer and fantastic musician. He was letting everyone know he was going to be performing on Friday night at a little swanky venue in Northeast Albuquerque and I was thrilled. I own several of Jason's cds but have never seen him perform live! And man is he amazing!
As he rocked the little venue he was singing at I couldn't help but have flashbacks of Jason and I sitting in 8th grade drama. Mrs. Wheeler wasn't too particularly crazy about Jason and I because we tended to goof around a lot. Despite all the horse play I could remember thinking to myself that Jason was born to be a performer. Though I tended to get him into more trouble than he got me in, there was no doubt that Mrs. Wheeler was way more fond of Jason and could tell he belonged on stage. Something she often reminded him when she was reprimanding us for screwing around.
As I sat there Friday night the memories came flooding back to me and Mrs. Wheeler's voice popped in my head. "Mr. Harper more personality please!" She pounded that into my head each time we did an improvisation or short skit. She reminded me that personality was what caught the audiences attention and would endear me to them. She would always tell me to pay attention to Jason because his personality, his enthusiasm and energy shined through every time she said "Action!"
As a shy introverted little guy I remember trying desperately to find a way to show more personality. Everything I tried seemed fake and often my reminder reprimands or frustrated corrections from Mrs. W drew snickers from my classmates which caused me to draw even further back in to my shell. It wasn't until Jason and I were hanging out after class one day when he gave me one of the best pieces of advice anyone could give me. He said, "Be yourself and just have fun and your personality will come through. You can do it!"
As Jason strummed his guitar those little interactions and vivid memories came rushing back. I remember the one short improvisation skit that I was assigned that I finally found a way to be funny and drive home my lines. The class laughed, Jason sat there beaming from his chair and even Mrs. Wheeler was left speechless at my delivery - something that almost never happened. It was a defining moment of my life: being me was just fine thank you very much!
I give Mrs. Wheeler and Jason Riggs a whole lot of credit for helping me remember that being myself does in fact help me bring my personality to the forefront. It's that personality we all have that does in fact endear us to the ones we most want to impress, impact and connect with.
It's your personality and charm that people most want to see in this movie we call life. Use it often enough and the draw of the spotlight will warm even the darkest of introverted and shy shells. And remember....each day is a stage and from the moment your feet hit the floor you've gotta remember someone somewhere is calling "Action!" and your audience anxiously awaits!
P.S. Be sure to check out www.jasonriggs.com and support this amazing musician who played a big role in shaping the Ripple Man!