Last week I spent a couple of days with two good friends and business associates in sunny Tampa, Florida. Oh, they also happen to be married to one another!
Dennis O’Connor is the founder and President of Salon Business Partners, a company that represents REDKEN, the hair care manufacturer, along with many smaller, but strategically important salon industry companies that REDKEN endorses.
Carolyn O’Connor, Dennis’ wife, is the Senior Director of Training for REDKEN here in the U.S. Carolyn played a huge part in my growth as a salon owner and was instrumental in bringing some new programs into our new salon, Salon M², in September of 2006. Carolyn was also responsible for my very first speaking engagement for REDKEN in January of 2007.
Dennis had invited me to fly down from Birmingham to shoot a video for Solutions for Salons, an internet-based company, which is a spinoff of Salon Business Partners. Solutions for Salons serves as an on-line “one stop shopping” resource and information guide for salon owners, stylists, salon consultants, and others involved in our industry .
Dennis had been in attendance when I was make presentations on quite a few occasions during the past few years, and felt that, with the economy being in such a state of turmoil, it was time for me to reach even more people. I couldn’t have agreed with him more!
The plan was for me to spend a day in the studio and do three different segments, or messages. The first of the three would focus on our salon “story”, which begins on October 9, 1989 and runs through the present. (If you’d like to read it, click on the link titled A Seed Was Planted at the top of the home page) The second segment would be more specific to those companies represented by Dennis that we have used in our salon and their role in our success. The third and final topic would be the one that I am most passionate about: God. Each of the three segments would have its own link on the site.
In the studio
We met at the studio on Monday morning at ten-thirty. I was so pumped up that I could hardly contain myself! It’s funny; I’ve shared our story with others more times that I can count in the past few years, but I’m as thrilled today about it as I was the very first time. You see, it’s not about our accomplishments, or material possessions, or “look at what we’ve done”, or anything that has to do with self.
It is about delivering a message of hope…that it’s never too late…that we all have gifts…that with God, anything is possible! It’s the reason behind The Seed of Hope…not to share with you what I have done, but to tell you the good news of what GOD has done…for me…to me…in me. It’s all about HIM.
I’m sorry, but sometimes I just can’t find the words to convey exactly what it is that I’m trying to say to you…perhaps it’s because there are no words…
So anyway, I was more than ready to do the videos; well, almost.
I was a bit apprehensive because I’d never spoken into a camera prior to that day. If you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation with me, you know that I’m very animated. I use my hands a lot when I’m talking (perhaps it’s an Italian thing), and if I’m standing I have this tendency to rise up and down on my toes. When I’m talking to a group of people I tend to walk around, trying to make eye contact with as many as I can. When I’m searching for the right words to express a particular thought, I have this habit of looking away for just a moment. And then there are those times, when talking about certain things, that I’ll begin to cry.
Well, I knew that while standing in front of the camera there were some of those habits that I couldn’t do, and one or two that I didn’t want to do! So the night before I practiced focusing on and talking to the thermostat on the wall in my hotel room, all the while pretending that it was the camera lens.
“Five, four, three, two, one…”
We began filming. And I began talking…trying to remember not to walk around, or to look away, or rise up on my toes. Oh, and I had to remember what I wanted to say. And my mouth was as dry as the Sahara Desert. This was not going well.
I think that I lasted for about 5 minutes. Things were falling apart, and I was gettin’ frustrated. At some point I just stopped talking, and asked the videographer to give me a minute. I turned my back to everyone, closed my eyes, and quietly offered the prayer that I always do whenever I make a presentation, or for that matter, write one of these posts…
May God use and overrule my mouth. May His Word only be spoken, and His Word only be heard. Amen.
I took a deep breath, thanked God for giving me what I needed, and turned back to the camera, this time seeing its lens as my amazing wife Jackie.
Twenty minutes later it was done. One take. No stopping…no starting over. I didn’t even want to review it. It was what it was; our story. It’s not that I thought that it was perfect. In fact, it was probably far from it. But hey, I’m not perfect. I’m no actor, and I don’t do this for a living. I’m just a regular guy tryin’ to get God’s message out there. It would be good enough.
The second segment, featuring Dennis and myself in a Q & A format, went much the same as the first. It was two good friends, having a good conversation, which just happened to be in front of a camera. I was havin’ a ball!
It was time to shoot the final segment, the one about God and my faith. The one that I was the most passionate about. The one that was the most important to me. This was gonna be awesome!
I began speaking. The next several minutes were a blur. I remember taking my coat off and showing my tattoo, telling the story of how I was born again. And I remember thinking that it wasn’t good enough. I remember talking about miracles, and the one that God performed in me. And it wasn’t good enough. I remember talking about having a relationship with God, and knowing Him, instead of knowing about Him. And it wasn’t good enough. I remember saying that with God all things are possible. And it wasn’t good enough. I remember saying all those things…saying so much more… “witnessing” to God’s goodness. All good stuff, yet in my mind, none of it was good enough. “Why not? What’s wrong? What else do I need to say?”, I remember thinking even as I was talking. And then it was over. Everyone in the room thought that it was great; I thought that it wasn’t good enough.
One week later.
Today, one week removed from my trip to Tampa, I have some insight as to why “it wasn’t good enough.”
The Seed of Hope was launched on October 31, 2008. Since that date there has been a new post on this site every Monday. So that’s what, close to sixty posts? And each of those times I have tried to share all that is in my mind and my heart about God…I give you what He gives me. And yet I don’t think that it’s good enough…I haven’t shared enough…there’s so much more to be said, so much more that I have to learn; about God, life, and myself. Why would I ever have thought that I could “sum up” God and all that He is in a fifteen minute video? Impossible.
But there’s more.
I mentioned earlier that sometimes I can’t come up with the right words for you…
I can give you my thoughts, and my words, and my heart, and all that I have come to know about our awesome God. But I can’t give you the feeling that comes from an intimate relationship with Him. You have to find that for yourself, and it comes from welcoming Him into your life, working on that relationship every day, and giving yourself to Him. Completely.
And you’ll find, just as I did, that when nothing else in your life is good enough, He always is!
See you next week!