Your first anything - the first time you hugged a girl, the first time you kissed a boy, the first time you had sex, had a beer, spoke in public, flew in an airplane, tasted alcohol, became a mum, or a dad ....
We've all probably had a string of Firsts in our lifetime, some of us more than others. I've had many, many Firsts and this past weekend was one of them.
This weekend, I had my first official experience as an MC (Master of Ceremony) at the Single Mothers Diary Book and Film launch. This is an anthology of 10 women's stories of their single parenting journey, as compiled by Dr Ava Eagle Brown, global master coach, multi-award-winning international speaker and author, who has helped thousands master their mindset and take control of their lives.
When I walked into that nicely decorated hall and I saw the sheet of A4 laminate with my name, my title and my photograph on it, it was a GOOD feeling. It said clearly 'Clara Rufai, The Shine Strategist, Master of Ceremony'. I smiled with satisfaction. This was officially a First for me, and I was pretty excited about this first.
Why was I excited? I mean, it's not like this is the first time that I've presented at an event. I work as a corporate lawyer and compliance manager in the investment management sector, so I do presentations as part of my day-job, whether I'm participating in meetings with external parties, taking my colleagues through compliance trainings or just presenting to a smaller internal group of legal and compliance professionals, presentations are not unusual. I first started doing presentations as a keen member of the Debating Society at my primary and secondary schools. I was great at memorising my speech and I never fluffed my lines – ever! My secondary school mates still remember me playing the lead role in many plays put on by the Drama Club at secondary school too. Yet all of those experiences pale when compared to the feeling of joy and satisfaction that I felt while officially MC-ing as The Shine Strategist for the very first time!
There was a sense of achievement from the very moment I walked into that hall and saw the seat specially prepared for me as Master of Ceremonies. I made sure to arrive early as I needed to calm my nerves and be fully ‘mind-ready’. You know how it is when you're cutting your teeth on something for the first time and you're a little apprehensive? You want to make sure that you're in your best state - that state of being Ready To Shine. I had that ‘butterfly feeling’, but I wasn’t going to let it rain on my parade – no way! I figured the best thing to do to calm those butterflies was to arrive early and come prepared, which I did.
I walked into that into room way before my audience arrived and as I surveyed it, the thought that popped into my head was: "This is your room and this is your moment, OWN IT!" I told myself: “In the next 30 minutes or so, you will have the opportunity to control the experience of the attendees and influence the impression they go away with. It is all up to you now.”
I'll admit it was a little scary, but only a little. 🙂
Overall, it was truly exhilarating to have the attention of a roomful of people focused on me, tuned in to what I was saying. That power to influence people's experience and to some extent their thoughts, is humbling yet exciting at the same time. That ability to navigate an audience through an event and to control their feelings in a simple, natural and fluid manner as they sit in those seats across from you, that must be what makes a great MC.
Soon, the hall was packed as guests filed in. As I took my stand behind the lectern as MC, Dr Ava gave me a little nod of the head and a secret wink. I got the silent message: “Are you READY TO SHINE? The floor is yours, Go For it Shine Strategist!"👍
I was reminded that being Ready To Shine means showing up and giving it your very best shot, every time. The act of 'showing up' and of 'standing up to be counted' even when you may not feel fully prepared or equipped, is something the universe never fails to honour. It is an indication to the universe that you mean business and that you consider yourself worthy of the opportunities that life presents to you.
I'm proud of those 10 co-authors of The Single Mother’s Diary for standing up to be counted, for sharing their personal stories to inspire, encourage and instruct others on a similar path. I’m also proud of Dr Ava Eagle Brown for compiling this wonderful resource book and film which will certainly empower parents bringing up children on their own. Former Mayor of Croydon Councillor Toni Letts and Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor who was in attendance predicted that this is not just a book, it would grow into a movement that would attract the attention of the United Nations. I totally agree with them! Councillor Toni Letts and I shared a brief moment before the start of the event, and we both agreed that as we are all a part of one big human family, a project like this would bridge the gap as it would resonate with ALL single mothers navigating the challenging path of single parenting, with its highs and its lows.
I’m glad I said YES to Dr Ava’s invitation to act as MC as I’ve had fun experiencing this First, so much so that I am looking forward to repeat performances! I loved shining my light as Master of Ceremony for the Single Mother’s Diary Book and Film launch, and I cannot wait to repeat the experience when I stand before an even bigger audience as I declare open my Leap and Shine Conference in February 2020! That will be ME birthing another First! I am looking forward to it, as I can’t wait to host the global leaders who will speaking at my first ever LIVE conference and awards ceremony. The Leap and Shine Conference 2020 and the Shine Legacy Awards 2020 is a special gathering of Shine-Stars, and it will be a memorable experience, I guarantee it! Tickets are already on sale via the event website at www.LeapAndShineConference.com. Go get yours, then tell a friend to tell a friend – if you come with your friends or community, special table arrangements can be made for you and your party!
Tell you what though, in the course of planning the conference, I have experienced my share of challenges, but really, that is to be expected. It comes with the territory when one subscribes to the Shine mindset, when they decide they are called to S.H.I.N.E. (S)oar (H)igher (I)nto (N)ew (E)xpressions. I'm facing every challenge with a Shine-Star Warrior mentality, and I'm learning valuable lessons about what it means to be truly READY TO SHINE. One day I will share about them.
I would love to take the opportunity to specially invite YOU to join us at #LSC2020 in February! There are various opportunities available, to sponsor the event, exhibit products and services at the conference, be specially recognised as a Shine Ambassador, advertise in the Shine Magazine, and to work with us as a media partner etc.