This finding motivation 'When It's Hell No, Don't Go' Mantra was uniquely realized and created by me, after I REALLY embarrassed myself. Here's what happened:
My college sorority drafted me to sing a solo in a silly and fun play we put on for new members. They picked me because I’d been in plays, had four years of high school chorus and no one else would do it!! I’d never sang a solo before.
There’s a reason for that...
I’m just not that good.
Because the play and my solo was 'karaoke-like' (and we were finding motivation and inspiration with a little bit of drinking) everybody loved the play – and surprise, surprise, surprise my performance was a hit!
For a little while - I felt like a star! I went from this under-the-radar-not-very-well-known sorority sister to being the 'coolest cat' in the house. It was nice to be noticed. That’s when the most popular girl on campus, Jolane Harper, decided that I should be her new best friend. Jolane was a blue-blood southern belle from a long line of Southern royalty.
I can see her now: big hair, real pearl earrings and matching necklace, pink and green Izod button down sweater, matching socks, perfectly creased khakis with buff and polished leather loafers.
She'd waltz into the sorority house from a long weekend at the Harper family compound and yell out in a loud-southern-yodel, “Yoo-hoo... I'm baaaaacccckkkk! Mamma and I made a home-cooked meal for ya’ll - fried chicken, biscuits and gravy – and it’s ready! Ya’ll better hurry up if you want any. Be sure to save some room for apple pie- it’s a Harper family secret recipe. Come on now.”
Jolane represented everything that's Southern.
'In my budding relationship with Jolane I found out that she and Jimmy Joe, her high school sweetheart, were planning a 'ginormous' traditional Southern Baptist wedding.
She wanted me to sing in the wedding. Jolane oozed with romance as she shared her vision with me, “Well (dramatic pause here) in the middle of the ceremony Jimmie Joe and I will light a candle together. We'll be awash in the glow of love and candlelight and then your angelic voice will ring out --- it will be soooo romantic.”
In that moment I said, “Hell No!” Weeeelllllll, I never actually said "Hell No!" I just felt it, strongly. I was sure one of our sorority sisters was going to jump out at any moment and yell, “You’re on Candid Camera!" But they never did.
I was completely clueless about southern traditions and weddings - Jolane and I had grown up in two different worlds. My parents weren't from the South, were non-traditional and eloped when they were young. My mom tried meditation, vegetarianism and is a free thinker. My sister was living-in-sin and I’d never had a steady boyfriend.
Asking me to sing a solo in a southern Baptist wedding is very different from singing karaoke at a college party.
I means it’s possible – but it's just not natural – AND it’s probably not going to turn out very well. Even though I really couldn’t sing - I WAS kind of flattered that she asked me and I wanted to continue to be her new best friend. I felt "Hell No" screaming in my head, but I said, "Okay, that'll be cool."
I worked on my song by practicing...A LOT!! The more I practiced the worse I felt. I was stressed, worried, full of dread and I couldn't sleep. What had I gotten myself into?
I don't know if you've ever been in coastal S.C. in July - but it's like trekking through the Amazon in pantyhose and high heels. It's hot, sticky, humid AND there are weird southern belle animals and traditions everywhere!
I stepped up to the altar in my hot pink taffeta gown, my long white gloves and my big fancy hat - the heat and my nerves had my heart beating out of my chest, and I was sweating like a gorilla running a marathon. I could see Jolane and Jimmie Joe --- they WERE 'awash in the glow of love and candlelight...' . It WAS romantic. Then, I looked up. The church was filled to capacity. Standing room only. The organist started.
Surprise, surprise, surprise... Well, no surprise really - I was off step, off key and squeaky. I was awful. It was a long and painful drive home. I was embarrassed and sick with regret.
25 years later Jolane and Jimmie Joe are happily married with three children. My bad singing has long left their memory. But I’ll never forget the lesson I learned:
'When it's hell no, don't go.'
I’d known from the beginning that singing in that wedding was not a good idea. I'd received Guidance through my feelings. They were telling what I needed to do (or in this case not do.) But I ignored my Guidance so I could please someone else.
By ignoring this my instincts and my own 'Knowing' I experienced tremendous stress, tension and embarrassment. Finding motivation in situations where we've ignored our Guidance is not possible.
If finding motivation is important to you, and you want to wake up eager more often - you must tune into and honor your feelings and preferences, which is really Guidance around your next best steps.
Take it from me (and from all the people at that wedding who had to endure my terrible singing): When you feel hell no, DON'T Go!
I know you'd never get yourself into something like this (that honor is uniquely reserved for me!) but:
Hit me up with your comments about finding motivation. Am I the only one who's ever gone into a stressful situation by saying yes, when I meant (and should have said) no?
How do YOU know when something's right for you or wrong for you? Do you trust your own preferences? Share any lessons, stories or insights you've learned about your own Guidance and finding motivation.
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Agree I Should Have Stuck to My Guns.... Not rated yet
What you say in this finding motivation article rings so true. I changed my job just because my wife wanted to live in a different part of the country. …
Finding Motivation When I've Not Followed My Guidance... Not rated yet
...is not possible. I love that comment. That is soooo true. Thank you for sharing this story - I was cringing as you stepped up to sing. I have had …
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