When You’re Facing an Empty Calendar
Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are treating yourself tenderly in recovery week. Christmas is coming, but it’s ok to take a nap today if you need it. You have my permission! 🙂
I’m going to write a short-ish post today because I really need your help with some problem-solving. I hope we’ll pull together here in our community to share some ideas that will help us all. Please read and then share a comment–it won’t be the same if you don’t add to the conversation!
Here’s the problem I’m facing that I’m guessing you’ve faced from time to time too:
My speaking calendar is almost empty for 2017.
First of all, is it safe to confess to you that I felt a little shame typing out that statement? Eeeeekkkk! Here I am part of a national ministry with a huge platform of its own and a speaking coach, but nobody is currently asking me to speak. Seriously, y’all. It’s pretty much crickets.
Have you ever experience this kind of season?
I want to go ahead and call it a season because I’ve seen it before and have lived to tell about it. Before I launch into ideas about how to solve “the problem”, let me first acknowledge that it might not be a problem. It might be God’s grace.
For example, during the whirlwind year that I wrote, edited, launched and promoted my book, my coaching clients were almost non-existent. One day when I expressed my concerns to Barry that my speaker coaching seemed to be “dying”, he said, “Really, Amy? When would you have time to coach anybody? I think this is God’s grace for you.”
Sure enough! The book stuff has slowed way down, and the coaching has picked back up to record speeds this year. I’m thankful that God knows me better than I know myself, and He always provides my portion. Nothing more. Nothing less.
If your calendar is empty too, prayerfully consider this. God may know what’s coming in 2017 and know that we won’t be able to meet the expectations of a busier schedule. He may want us to pull away for a time of rest. Maybe He wants to do a work in us that He couldn’t accomplish if we were speaking.
But there’s another thing that might be happening. He might be waiting for us to take steps of obedience. My wise and experienced friend says it this way:
[Tweet “I feel called to do all I can do and to pray that God will do what only He can do. ~Lysa TerKeurst”]
I’ll keep my eyes open for what God’s doing, but I’m feeling led to take some pro-active steps to build my speaking calendar. Here’s what’s on my list:
Create a new sample video— I had one produced last year, but I’ve got another message videoed that is begging to become a sample. I want it to look fresh and to be a second tool I can use on my website and social networks.
Have some outsiders look in— Based on some great advice my savvy friend Lisa Allen gave in a Compel training, I am going to schedule two people to look at my website and give me advice about how to highlight my speaking more effectively. One friend is the founder of Vend Raleigh, a networking group for mompreneurs, so she’s genius at connecting through social networks and media. She’s also an event planner, so she’ll be able to look at my site from that point of view. She does this professionally, so this coach will be paying for some coaching. My other friend is a speaker who has been taking some classes on building your blog. She’s innovative and will help me up my game, and she’s bartering her services for mine. (Just wanted to give you an idea on a budget but to also say that a monetary investment is sometimes needed.)
Contact event planners from my past events— I feel a deep connection to the event planners I’ve served, so I’d love to get to minister with them again. I’ve already built trust with them, so an update with an expressed desire to come back will (hopefully) be received well.
Now it’s your turn! What kinds of steps have you taken to fill your speaking calendar? Please share the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’d love to learn from what’s worked as well and to save time by knowing what hasn’t.
Amy – I had to look twice to make sure you were actually writing about yourself. I cannot thank you enough for your transparency. You are brave , such a servant and I appreciate you. After having a busy speaking schedule for the past few years ( after my second trip to SS), I also have a very empty Spring calendar. I have one retreat in March that I am really looking forward to, but that is it until another booking in September. I am doing my best to trust Him with my ministry and accept that only He knows what will be going on in my family and ministry in 2017. He has the plan – I do not. I believe any kind of ministry is completely dependent on His direction and His movement. He alone opens the door to opportunity. I have to remind myself of this often and that He really did call me to this ministry. He has cleared my calendar for a reason. I know this is nothing new to you. 🙂 I could write more but I will leave it here. Thank you for the encouragement today. I will be praying that God will use our free time to grow us and prepare us for what is next. xo
Laura, thanks so much for sharing. I felt comfortable writing this post because I’m like you. I’m not afraid. I stand confident in my calling and in God who calls. It could be that He wants me to do these little projects to propel me and stoke my passion, or I could do the work and still not see events scheduled. There are things we can do, but God alone opens those doors.
About 10 years ago, I was asked to attend a conference as the guest of an organization. It seemed like the fulfillment of a dream I had nurtured for a long time, but the scheduling was complicated with my family’s schedules. When I prayed, God clearly said “no”. I was confused. It seemed like a door God had opened. Why would He then tell me not to go? But I obeyed and sadly turned down the opportunity. When the date arrived for the conference, I knew exactly why God had directed me not to go. My uncle died that week, and my parents would not have been able to stay with my children. God knew that I would need to be with my boys and supporting my mom. I was so thankful to see His sovereignty in the whole thing!
We can trust Him with our schedules, and I’m praying for all of us (including me!) to do just that in the moments when we’re tempted to doubt and feel discouraged.
I love speaking to women’s groups no matter if it is a Mom2Mom group or a room full of women for a fundraising event! I love speaking at women’s conferences and to a small room full of women in the fellowship hall. I just love sharing what God is doing and how He can help others. I love encouraging women to be all that they can be. I love helping women set goals and make to-do lists and make a difference to someone every single day through acts of kindness. I just feel like I could pop with joy that I get to do this. But I, too, feel very discouraged when all I have on my calendar is one or two events or NONE. I have a full-time job (4 days a week) and run a non-profit as well and I don’t want to get too many irons in the fire but I want to SPEAK!! hahahha So I certainly feel the discouragement you write about. I feel better (not to sound mean) that maybe it’s not just me. I know that God called me to do this but I agree that maybe He is waiting until we can do it and do it RIGHT! I know in the past I have said “Lord I am just itching to speak to women’s groups and share what you have placed on my heart. Please open up doors for me to go where you want me to go and when.” And I am always amazed!!! When I surrender to Him, I am amazed how He seems to work it all out. I know we have to be proactive in making our websites look appealing and be sure we have the right things online but I guess what I am saying in this long post is that if we just can trust the Lord with our WHOLE being, then He will open those doors. Ask Him to tell us what we need to do on our part to make our websites what they need to be and to do the legwork He wants us to do and then leave the rest to Him. Think about the stories we will have to tell when we leave it all up to Him and watch Him do miracles!! Thank you for being so raw and honest and giving us tips of the trade and encouragement. My sessions with you were wonderful!!! You are the sweetest, kindest and smartest gal! We will all pray for each other to have opportunities to spread God’s word in the unique platform He has created for each one of us. Watch out world! God’s got a plan!
I definitely don’t think you’re mean, Deanna. (In fact I’m rubbing all those sweet things you said about me into my heart right now!) Even though part of me was reluctant to share, I want each woman in our group to know she’s not alone. I think you’re exactly right. All the external stuff (websites, speaking opportunities, etc) is icing on the cake and should only be the result of an internal and growing relationship with God.Thanks for encouraging all of us!
As a coach and speaker myself, I have to say it was helpful to read this write up. Not that I wish anyone to go through those “desert” seasons, but I too have those times where business is ebbing and flowing…ebbing…then flowing. It can really mess with a girls heart! Especially when you feel confident of God calling you to it. It’s encouraging to see God’s grace in it, and know we’re not alone. I find that in those waiting seasons He is doing His “undercover” work in my heart and so much more! For me, going forward in 2017, I am clearly identifying those I am called to serve so I can reach out intentionally and help build those relationships. I am also challenging myself to speak more frequently, even if pro-bono, so I can continue to develop my skills. Toastmasters has been a great support group to help do this! Thanks for your blog. I always enjoy your transparency, tips and encouragement!
Jenn, thanks for sharing great action steps with us! I’ve had quite a few clients who have done Toastmasters, and I always learn things from them as we work together. Also, I agree that building relationships is key.