When I first became a speaker, initial conversations with event planners went something like this:
Planner: May I speak to Amy Carroll please?
Amy: This is Amy.
Planner: Hi, Amy! My church is planning a women’s event in the spring, and I got your name from XYZ.
Amy: Oh! Thank you so much for calling me. I’m honored to be considered for your event.
Planner: Our planned theme is (fill in the blank with any popular topic for women) are you available to speak on that topic?
Amy: I’d love to speak for your event!
Can I just reveal to you that I got myself into some pickles that way? I was so pleased I was being asked to speak that I made the mistake of thinking that being a speaker qualified me to speak on any topic. The truth is that having the gift of gab is both a big advantage and a huge liability. Just because I could fill their allotted time with words didn’t mean that I should present myself as an expert on any topic.
Several years ago, our Proverbs 31 Ministries executive team brought in a trainer for our ministry team. The first thing he said to our group left us with our mouths hanging open. “I don’t mean to be critical,” he said. “But quite honestly, you all seem exactly the same on paper. When I look at your bio sheets, I don’t know how event planners ever choose between you. You all have a parenting talk, a marriage talk and a mother/daughter tea talk.”
We started to breathe a little easier when he followed, “I know that God has created each of you uniquely, and you each have a unique calling and ministry niche. I’m going to help you to find it and express it.”
That initial call started a very powerful journey for me. It took a while to figure out my particular ministry niche, but I feel so empowered now that I have. I have the ability to say “yes” to speaking events that fit my calling and “no” to ones that don’t. (I usually happily recommend a friend with the calling that the planner needs.) I also don’t feel as intimidated by other speakers. Although I still sometimes struggle with comparison, I have the power to remind myself that I have my own calling to fulfill without trying to step into someone else’s.
You have a ministry niche too. It’s a calling from God that only you can fulfill. Some of you probably know your niche (we’d love for you to share!), and many of you are probably still on the journey to finding that niche. I’m cheering for you as you listen to God, seek the counsel of people who know and love you, and consider your passions and experience. Amongst all that input is your calling.
If you’d like some help from a fantastic speaker who has taken the same journey, Karen and I would love for you to join us on our first Group Services call on June 21. Each group call is $25 and will include a handout as well as Q & A time at the end of the call. Please click over to the Group Services page to get all the details and/or to register.