Your Vulnerability May Truly Be Your Strength

Last month I had the utmost pleasure of speaking to an amazing group of hard working, athletic, goal driven people that work for a company that is headquarters right here in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The CEO and founder of the company picked up a copy of VOID magazine and read my article. He then tasked my now awesome friend, Aaron, to find a way to contact me and have me speak at their Monday “All Hands” meeting. I put “All Hands” in quotes as they have much cooler and imaginative names and times for their meetings and traditions that are very inspirational and uplifting!  
 
I went into this speaking engagement thinking it would be 15 people max but to my pleasant surprise not only were there 40 or 50 associates but the CEO pulled his 10 year old twin son and daughter out of school to hear me speak. No pressure :)
 
When I am lucky enough to do speaking engagements I speak from my heart, love humor and tell the audience what my sport means to me. But when I get to a certain part of my story and talk about my family finishing Ultraman Canada hand in hand I start to tear, choke up and apologize for my pause. I feel embarrassed that I get so emotional in front of people I just met. 
 
At the end I was so happy to be able to talk to some of the amazing associates who in my book are so much more accomplished and driven than I am! I met a woman named Maggie that is about to start training for IMFL, her first Ironman. I met a young lady named Tay who is all of 22 years old. She talked to me about wanting to run her 1st 5k while pushing her mother as she had lost her leg. Come to find out she is a childhood cancer survivor and started up a charity, WithLove. The mission and heart of WithLove is to give children battling cancer the opportunity to simply be kids. She should have been up on the podium speaking :) 
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After the speaking engagement I was so elated to get an amazing Thank You card that literally had me smiling ear to ear for hours! Then I received an email from the CEO and from each speaking engagement comes not only meeting new friends but also a lesson. My lesson came from this note:

Hi Kellie,

I too would like to thank you for sharing your amazing story with our team – They loved it!

I also wanted to share what an influence you had on my children, especially Jordan. Since seeing you speak she has stepped up her training and desire to compete.  I think Aaron mentioned to you that she had amazing results in a recent small 5k. She was the first finisher under 15, she was 6th amongst all women and 20th overall in a field of 90.  Pretty good for a 10 year old. She loves to compete (maybe too much).

She told me that she remembered you talking about everyone starting out in front of you or faster than you and how you love to real them in.  In her last race she displayed great patience. She passed 15 or 20 runners along the course and was passed by no one.  I road my bike behind her (I could never keep up with her running).  When asked what their favorite part of your talk was both Logan and Jordan said when you got emotional talking about your family.

Keep telling your story and being vulnerable with your audience. It changes lives!

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One Response to “Your Vulnerability May Truly Be Your Strength”

  1. Damn you! You always make me choke up! We will be 95 years old and still get emotional about UMC, Epic Man, and all the other challenges we face as a family. Colorado… here we come!! The 3 Baby Bears and Papa Bear :)

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