A native of Phoenix, Arizona, and an Arizona State University graduate, Lee Robert has developed her unique music style she calls “Cowgirl Jazz.” Her ninth CD, “Swing Set,” was recently voted Best Western Swing Album of the Year by The Academy of Western Artists and, in November 2018, she was voted Best Western Songwriter of the Year in 2019 by The International Western Music Association. (www.leeleemusic.com)
She is the author of two books. One is a biography of her father, Cavett Robert, founder of the National Speakers Association. The other book, published by Simon and Schuster, GenderSell: How to Sell to the Opposite Sex. Lee has completed more than 1000 hours of research on the topic of risk-taking to manage life in the fast lane.
Lee and her husband, Rick, live half the year in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and the other half in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
We live in a world of transformational change. When we experienced a computer, we could never go back to a typewriter. When we started listening to music on a “take it with you anywhere” mobile device, a record player took on a whole different place in our world. Google, Wikipedia, and Bing have become our go- to sources for inquiries about the world around us, and The Encyclopedia Britannica has become a dusty set of books in a library. Siri, and her directions, complete with dialects, has become the “map” of the twenty-first century.
Expect more change in the next fifty years than in the previous 500 years. There was more information for us to assimilate in this morning’s newspaper, than the average person in the sixteenth century had to assimilate in an entire lifetime!
How can we keep up? How can we deal with this level of change and disruption in our lives? Things are never going to be “business as usual” again. How can we change with accelerated change and finish strong?
Take my hand and let’s walk through the door of the life we will have five years from now. Will we look into the eyes of our best self, or will our eyes be filled with regrets? Are we willing to enter the “discomfort zone” to grow a better life for ourselves? Will we bet on our bright future and be willing to learn to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable” to make the rest of our lives the best years?
Risk-taking is a powerful tool we can learn to finish strong. Risking is defined by Dr. David Viscott in his book Risking as “the ability to exceed our usual limits in reaching for any goal, and fear, uncertainty, and doubt must be part of the process.”
Taking risks and being able to expand our ability to tolerate the emotions he cites will determine if we finish strong.
I remember a time when I joined my dad’s public speaking business. I had been a professional singer and musician most of my adult life and thought it would be a way to increase my revenue stream. I figured I needed to build some skills, so I joined Toastmasters International and proceeded to learn more about public speaking.
Within three months of my joining Toastmasters, my dad and I were invited to speak to a group of 12,000 people. When I heard the number of people in the audience, my knees buckled, my mouth went dry, and my hands started to sweat. Stage fright descended on me like toxic fumes. I was not ready to speak to 12,000 people. When my dad went to speak to this group without me, I breathed a sigh of relief.
About a year later, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. Maybe I’d let a chance of a lifetime slip through my fingers. Two years later, I started to feel remorse and regret that I would never have the opportunity again. I started thinking I’d made a mistake by not grabbing the opportunity when it came to me.
Three years after the initial invitation, my dad and I were again both invited to speak to the same group. The audience had grown to a size of 25,000 people but, this time, I said, “Yes! I’ll do it!”
The experience of singing and speaking to this group and receiving a standing ovation before 25,000 people, was one of the highlights of my life. It felt like a tidal wave of positive human energy washing over me. A dream come true!
When I feel myself being intimidated by fear, uncertainty, and doubt I remember the analogy of passing in a car. Let’s say I want to drive to the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona. I get stuck behind a big truck on the freeway... the diesel fumes smell awful. I decide I’m going to have to pass the semi—the pain of the problem has exceeded the price of the cure. I look up ahead and it appears clear to pass—do your homework, your research. I put the pedal to the metal—your courage is your main tool of growth. After you pass, you glide back into your lane and look in the rear- view mirror—evaluate how things went and assess your performance. Reward yourself.
By learning the art and science of risk-taking to finish strong” you can face your challenges knowing you have a proven method of growth that will never leave you wondering if life passed you by. You will never be left with regrets. You will become the best you possible, which ensures a strong finish.