It’s January 1. The year is 2020. Everyone started this year with so much hope. They used the “20/20” number as representative of a “vision” for the new year. I was booked as a Funny Motivational Speaker at many, many in-person conferences for the year. Everything seemed….perfect. I’d been doing this job for many years and was excited to travel around the country talking about dealing with change, managing stress and delivering it all in a fun and funny way. This was going to be “MY” year! I know a lot of us felt that way in our various endeavors.
Fast-forward to Early-to-Mid-March. As news of this strange and frightening Coronovirus and it’s devastating effects began to spread as fast as the virus itself, people began to realized that drastic measures must be taken. Schools closed. People were ordered to “shelter in place.” People’s conversations were sprinkled with phrases like “New Normal” and “Unprecedented Times.” My speaking engagements were falling off of my calendar right and left. I had been set to have the best March/April/May/June that I had ever had. Now it went to 0/0/0/0. That’s 4 big, fat zeros. You could drive a truck through my calendar for 4 months and not hit a thing.
All of my speaker friends were scrambling. Like many people, we started having “Zoom” calls with each other; online teleconferencing where we could at least see other human faces and people who were going through what we were. We commiserated, we tried to wrap our brains around what was happening, we laughed, we cried. I, personally, really struggled in those first weeks. I thought, “What am I going to DO?” I had no Plan B. I had been “all in” as a live-and-in-person Funny Motivational Speaker.
When I finally picked myself up, I vowed to “walk my talk.” After all, I had been going around the country and helping people to manage their stress during difficult times and embrace change. What more difficult, stressful times could we be having than the times we are in now? And could I possibly imagine the CHANGES people are facing? More now than ever! I knew that it would be quite a while (no one knows for sure) before large gatherings, conferences,etc. would be happening. So, I had to find another way to deliver my message.
Of course! That is where everyone is now! So, I hunkered down and decided to learn how that is done. I turned my dining room into a “studio” complete with a “green screen” where I could put fancy backgrounds into my virtual presentations and 4 “box lights.” I invested in a high quality web camera and microphone. I figured if I were going to do this, I would have to do it right. I read two books on virtual presenting and starting attending webinars put on by my professional organization, the National Speakers Association.
It wasn’t an easy transition and I still have much to learn. But, my existential dread has been replaced by a wary excitement at this new way of doing things. Realizing that I had no control over these circumstances, I opted to change my attitude about it. That is one thing that is always within our control, how we VIEW a situation. I still struggle, have good days and bad. Sometimes, it’s one step forward and two steps back. But, I’ve been down before. And, I’m not going to let this beat me. My resolve runs deep and my focus is laser sharp. Mostly, I feel fortunate and ready for this new challenge.
World, meet Kay Frances, “Funny Virtual Keynote Speaker!”
I’m all in!