Real Help for Real Living: I got the Rose – now it’s off to “Shark Tank”

Anthony MarcianoI have been secretly appearing on two TV shows – “The Bachelorette” and “Shark Tank.” I recently got the rose on “The Bachelorette.” Now it’s off to the final presentation with “The Sharks.”

I’m not a TV reality star. I’ve been in Charlotte’s own version of these shows.  It’s called Seed20 – a Social Venture Partnership to significantly impact people in need.  Seed20 chooses 20 charities who give a three-minute pitch to say what new project they would do with an extra $20k.  On March 1st, all 20 participated.  Ten were selected to go to the final presentation on March 27th where they present to 800 people (the “Sharks”).  I got the rose to be in the top ten.

This has been one of the most difficult things I have done. As much as I love public speaking, this was very difficult.  I was limited to three minutes.  I had to make my speech with no notes.  If I went over the three-minute mark, I could be penalized.  I couldn’t re-write the script while I was speaking because there was a time limit.  I was stressed.

Of all the things that have been on my plate lately, this is at the top of my stress pile. I rehearsed my speech while exercising on the elliptical trainer at the Y.

At our first practice session, I volunteered to go first. My speech had 557 words. I talked fast, very fast.  I covered every facet of the Mission and our project.  I thought it was wonderful.  No one understood me.  The consistent comment from the coaches was “slow down.”

I practiced even more for our second practice session. I rehearsed and rehearsed in my backyard, trying to convince the squirrels this was a worthy presentation.

The night arrived for my second practice session. I chose not to go first.  After a few presenters were done, I came to the stage to make my presentation.

It started off great as I gave my first paragraph. It was dynamic.  It was powerful.  It was the last thing I remembered.

I could not remember the next paragraph of my speech. It wasn’t hard; it was just my name.  But I couldn’t remember that.  My mind went blank.  I was a polar bear in a snow storm trying to find the white board.  The harder I thought, the more I was convinced I had no idea what to say next.  I knew the clock on the timer was ticking.  I was in trouble.  I expected them to tell me to sit down.  I would have wasted my practice session.

I pulled out my sheet and remembered what to say next. Then I asked for a “do-over”.  I didn’t deserve one.  I should have been told “no.”  Instead, the leader said, “Go ahead.”

I began at the first paragraph and continued with the entire speech. It came off well.  This time there were 484 words.  I spoke slower with more phrasing.

What I most recall is that I was given something I didn’t deserve – a “do-over.” I should have been told to sit down.  I was given a second chance.

Isn’t that what God gives us each and every day. He gives us a second chance.  There is a scripture verse that says, “God’s mercies are new every morning.”  Whether I mess up my diet or say or do something I regret, each day God offers me a “do-over.”

Consider attending the final Seed20 event on March 27th.  Be one of the 800 Sharks who will decide between the Rescue Mission and 9 other great Charlotte charities.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.