“If you bring in $500,000 to $1 million worth of business there isn’t any part of how you want to be creative that won’t fly here.” shares the owner of an international conference services business I was interviewing with. Why did I feel so afraid during my time with him, his Vice President and Executive Assistant?
I prepared so well for this interview yet I could not string two articulate words together and was not able to give these men any sense of the accomplishments I had accumulated in my business life. As I left their office I wondered, what the hell just happened?
I emailed my friend Joe, who opened the door to this opportunity, to thank him. I shared my disappointment with how I thought it went and apologized for not making a greater impact. He wrote back saying, “Thomas, you’re amazing. I am sure you’re underestimating yourself, we are all our own worst enemies.” I never heard a word from that company.
Being a soul who prides himself on learning, I committed to understanding what happened to me in that office that day. Why was I so afraid?
The phone rang early one morning not long after hell’s interview. Upon picking it up I heard a woman’s voice say, “I’m managing the recruitment efforts for a Directors position at the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education and am impressed with your resume. Would you be interested in meeting to discuss the position?”
One of my thoughts was, this is a cosmic joke, the Universe and the Dalia Lama were conspiring to mix me up even more because I was still reeling from such a dismal interview with the ‘power three’ connected to the conference services interview. Why I was so afraid still eluded me.
I’ve had many intuitive whispers in my life that I have ignored. When I first learned of the conference services opportunity that little whisper said, “No.”, very gently of course, but I ignored it. This Dalai Lama opportunity came with a whispered, “Yes.” that was equally as gentle.
So I met with Maggie, from the professional placement firm, to discuss what the Dalai Lama Center was looking for and had a powerful sense I might contribute to something very special. I also noted not being afraid.
Within a week I found myself being interviewed by the CEO and Director of Administration of the Dalai Lama Center and nowhere present was there a sense of fear. The connection was effortless; I could string two words together and was able to share, with great ease, my business experience.
This time as I left the interview I heard, “We may have just found our new Director.” That being a projection I made on both the people who just interviewed me.
How is it that I shifted from a place of fear to a place of ease and effortlessness during an interview without having a sense of how I did it? There had to be something rich for me to learn here and like a dog with a bone I wasn’t giving up until I had the lesson.
Two more interviews would take place with the Dalai Lama Center and both were equally as comfortable. Support from friends and colleagues reminded me to be myself and I spent more time preparing for these interviews than I did for any interviews in my entire working career.
I must admit that there were times when I wanted to make up the story that this process was about getting the job, but a wiser part of me invited me to trust the process – so I did.
On the morning of April 20th the CEO from the Dalai Lama Center called to share that the Board had chosen a candidate with more development experience. I heard myself say, “I’m thrilled you’ve chosen the best person to do the Dalai Lama’s work.” The CEO countered with, “That’s very gracious of you to say.”
What I have not shared was a revelation that took place two days prior to the call from the CEO. As I walked home from the YMCA that day it suddenly dawned on me that I used fear as a motivator to get myself in front of the conference services folks. There was something else I used to get myself in front of the Dalai Lama people.
Motivation comes from a place of fear. It creates an attitude of scarcity and self-concern—“I want to change your behaviour with a reward or incentive, so that, if you meet the targets or goals I set for you, I will meet my own needs and goals.”
Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from a place of abundance, service and love, with no strings attached—“I love you and wish to serve and teach you and help you to grow.”
When we motivate, we serve ourselves first; when we inspire, we serve others first. Motivation comes from the fear inside us; inspiration comes from the love inside us. They are complete opposites.
So what’s in it for me is a lifetime realization that love need be the only inspiration for any work I might contemplate in the world. I’m not afraid anymore.