Several years ago, I was booked to speak for a small staff of 25 hair stylists in a strip mall in Antioch, Tennessee. It wasn’t a very impressive event, even for me that early in my career.
Mannequin heads lined the edge of the tiny, stuffy classroom. The lighting consisted of flickering, fluorescent bulbs overhead. And I didn’t have an Audio/Visual director assisting me from behind a sound booth.
In fact, since I was speaking to such a small group, I didn’t have a stage or microphone at all. I simply stood about three feet away from the stylists, who were seated in small rickety chairs around the classroom as I gave my talk.
Going into that event reminded me of a quote a friend used to say: “Play to the size of your heart, not the size of the crowd.”
I kept that in mind as I gave my Life Balance talk with the same passion, energy and conviction that I always do.
Later that month, this small event was featured in our Ramsey Personalities newsletter. The newsletter features a different speaker each month and highlights upcoming events. The list goes out to about 68,000 recipients.
As it turns out, among of those 68,000 subscribers was the CEO of Sport Clips – one of the fastest growing franchises in the nation. He read that article, called his event planner, and had her book me for their annual meeting a few months later.
This Sport Clips event was the exact opposite of the event in Antioch. It took place in Las Vegas, where I stayed at Caesar’s Palace and spoke to the largest audience of my life at that point. The event was in a giant ballroom filled with 1,200 women seated at round tables.
It had top-of-the-line equipment, giant screens, and a greenroom backstage for me to get ready before I came out. When I was introduced, they even played intro music to get the crowd excited! It was flashy and intimidating—and impressive in every way.
But I always want to remember that it didn’t start there. It started in Antioch, Tennessee.
See, the impressive things in our lives usually don’t start off as impressive things. They start by having heart and excellence in the small things. They start by having faith without the fame.
God will give us more opportunities to make an impact in the big things when we demonstrate faithfulness in the small things. He will give us the Las Vegas experiences, but only once we’ve been excellent in the Antioch’s.
And at the end of the day, it’s not about the size of our audience, our book sales or our Twitter following anyway.
It’s about who we become in the journey from stuffy classrooms to ballroom stages.