In December I attended a three day workshop on becoming a better keynote speaker. I learned so many things, but one of my biggest takeaways is that all good keynotes must have a fall line. In skiing, a fall line is the most direct route downhill. Skiers try to follow this line, detouring just a bit to each side rather than going way off trail – especially if they are trying to go fast!
In keynoting, the fall line is essentially the central promise of your speech. In other words, if people pay attention, what will they gain from listening to you? The catch is that nothing should deviate too far from this line, you don’t want to weave around through the trees – just get to the point. Even if you have a funny story that kills every time, if it doesn’t support your fall line it shouldn’t be in your speech.
This got me thinking – maybe my LIFE needs a fall line. What is the central promise I am making to myself this year? How do I intentionally live into that promise and not veer too far off?
Stay focused on your line
As we discussed this time last year, I’m not much of a believer in resolutions. The past few years, I have been setting annual intentions instead, which are more mindset shifts than specific behavioral changes. For this year, however, my focus is really a single goal: I want to write a book on being Thoughtfully Fit. This will be a big project, and it’s hard to fit big projects in around all the other day to day stuff.
If I think of writing my book as the fall line for my year, then I can weigh other choices around whether or not it supports that central promise. I can look at professional and personal invites and opportunities, and ask myself – is this along the fall line? Does it help me achieve my goal, or does it take me way over to the side of the mountain? If the answer is the latter, then I am more likely to say no.
So, if you look ahead to 2018, what is the promise you are making to yourself? Is it adventure? Relaxation? Achievement? Celebration? Health? Whatever your promise is, try to keep it central to your activities and choices throughout the year. Get clear on the fall line of YOUR year, and only keep in the things that help you keep your promise to yourself.
Let’s say your friends are organizing a girls weekend across the country. If your promise this year is to save for retirement, then even though that weekend sounds amazing, you might want to say no for this year, and then catch up with them next time. However, if your promise is about making more time for fun with your friends, then obviously the answer is a resounding yes! Sadly it’s not always quite this crystal clear, but you get the point.
Even if you have a smaller goal around health, work or relationships, you can set your fall line, and evaluate whether different things are on the line or unnecessary detours. Hopefully this can keep you from crashing head first into a life you don’t love!
You decide what is in bounds
Here’s the thing: you are in charge of your own fall line. You get to decide how far you want to deviate. But if there are things in your life that aren’t helping you keep your promise to yourself, get rid of them! Don’t spend your life criss-crossing the mountain. Dive in, ride downhill, and be proud of the run you have made when you get to the bottom. But don’t worry – it’s okay to take the occasional detour. Life is supposed to be fun!
Join me next week to talk about Stop-Doing Lists – even more ways to keep you on your fall line!
P.S. In 2018 we have committed to providing weekly tips on how to be Thoughtfully Fit in your life, instead of our previous monthly newsletter format. Hope you enjoy! And if you do enjoy, we’d love if you forward to a friend.