Two weeks ago, I attended a Talk on Purpose program, run by Slow School. It has taken a while to recover from the shock of a highly up close and personal examination of self – exhausting on every level. Initially I had thought that I would simply be building a presentation which would serve as a marketing tool for my business. The four day program began with our initial drafts of prepared work, which, I have to admit, I thought was OK. I was expecting a bit of polishing and perhaps a punchier result.
I have stood on many stages in my life and delivered fairly good and spontaneous presentations on my professional subject matters, and I have never been afraid to engage deeply with groups that I am facilitating in their growth. I also know that I die as a speaker when scripted closely, as I have always believed that I am much more interesting when naturally relaxed in presentation.
The challenge for me in entering the 4 day programme for Slow School Talk on Purpose, was that I would have to condense a heap of critical information into a 3 minute presentation – sounds pretty easy, but believe me, the hardest thing I have done in a long time!
At the end of day two, I find the 25th redraft of my topic completely useless and realize that I must go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. Why? Because my peers, with whom I have been travelling an equally difficult road, and the extraordinary facilitators – there are five of them devoted to the group of 11 – have pointed out to me that I am not credible. Quite incredible! They comment, with love and care, that they cannot see the real me in the presentation which lacks passion and warmth, and worst of all, truth!
They ask a simple question… “What was the trigger for your belief that everyone should relentlessly pursue the Truth?” Instantaneously up comes memory which causes a huge emotional reaction from me and I am reduced to a wreck. It is the story I end up telling. And suddenly the message becomes clearer, and the true purpose of who I am and why I am this person today, surfaces.
That’s the truth telling of Slow School, and it’s values of collaborative working relationships. Gently nudging us all along with dignity and respect, this amazing group of people, facilitators and fellow collegians, with huge support, get us all across the finish line, feeling quite proud to be out there in a very different way that what we started out with.
I grew personally and we grew as a group together. A fabulous investment in self, providing clarity of purpose. Well done Slow Schoolers!