Joseph Campbell famously said "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek".
Could that be true for you? It was for me.
Of course there are lots of caves. Some very personal, some spiritual and some professional.
One of my caves was the fear of public speaking, and the treasure… well that was more than a million dollars in income, but it was also much more, much, much more than that, I'll tell you about the true treasure I received in a minute.
First, imagine this, me in 1977 I was a 23 year old salesman. Clean shaven, experiencing some initial success as I entered sales from my previous labor jobs of commercial fishing, being a longshoreman, a jackhammer operator and a masons tender… all tough jobs.
I was several months into my new sales job and I recognized that public speaking would allow me to dramatically further my career. Very reluctantly I joined Toastmasters, an organization designed to help people develop their skill and confidence in public speaking. After my first session I let more than a year pass before I could muster enough courage to attend another meeting. That's how terrified I was, and after the second meeting I just quit.
Have you ever had anything that you were so afraid of doing that you just absolutely wouldn't do it EVEN THOUGH you were certain that it would be good for you?
That could be the cave that holds the treasure for you.
Fast forward to 1988, I'm a marketing consultant to Tony Robbins. Tony invites me to attend one of his seminars. I have VIP seating, 3rd row center and at some point, and for a reason that only became clear to me many years later.
Anyway, I put my hand up in response to a question Tony had asked.
And I'll tell you, to this day I have absolutely NO IDEA of what came out of my mouth. When I stood up and was handed a mic, and realized that I was about to speak to Tony Robbins in front of 1,200 people I just went numb. Words came out, but I was in such terror I didn't know what I said at the time, and I still don't know to this day.
The week after that experience I joined Toastmasters again. This time I was absolutely, 100% committed and within 18 months I was public speaking regularly… often to crowds of 50 to 100 people.
In the following years I became a professional speaker. I have now spoken before thousands of groups and my audiences were often in the hundreds and even occasionally in the thousands… and I have been on TV shows where I was literally speaking to millions of people… and I have loved every minute of it!!!
Entering the cave called "the fear of public speaking" allowed me to find a true treasure, a treasure that has now been with me for decades.
Fast forward again, this time to last week- Week 2, August, 2014.
Monday- I was in a recording studio with a HUGE Hollywood sound engineer (the guy does a ton of work on the TV program Glee). I was recording an audio track, in a character voice that I created, to be used in a commercial for a cutting edge high-tec firm.
Tuesday- I had a small part in a stand-up comedy routine at The Ice House in Pasadena, CA with retired wrestler Mick Foley.
Wednesday- I went to a rehearsal with the choreographer for the commercial I was I shot on Thursday.
Thursday- I spent 12 and 1/2 hours on set as the lead actor in a major, 50 person, commercial shoot I mentioned.
EVERY ONE of these things came to me because I entered that cave and stepped from my comfort zone to my courage zone all those years ago.
Once my comfort zone included public speaking I was open to many, many more opportunities. Further steps into my "Courage Zone" allowed me to become comfortable being a performer and a voice artist.
Here's my truth… my experience…
The cave you fear to enter CAN hold the treasure you seek.
But not all caves hold treasure… some hold painful lessons, but in my experience those lessons can also pave the way to the treasure you seek.
So what is the greatest treasure that I have personally gained from entering this cave of the "fear of public speaking"?
It hasn't been the money, even though public speaking has earned me a lot of money. the true treasure is the contentment, the fulfillment and the sense of contribution I feel when I know I have reached millions of people with information or entertainment that has enhanced their lives.
I'm a bit awestruck to think that this adult version of that scared young man is now doing things that he NEVER, EVER, could have even imagined doing, and today I'm doing it with SHEER JOY and absolute GRATITUDE. I'M LOVING WHAT I'M DOING… That is the true treasure that I found in that cave, and it's the treasure I have carried with me for decades.
And the reality is I'm entering new caves in my life all the time, challenging myself with new ventures into my courage zone.
What is your cave? How great could your treasure be? What would it take to move you from your comfort zone to your courage zone?
Would you like a little help? A little encouragement? Call me let's talk- 541-941-4840