Reluctant self-promotion (sigh…)

I’m not good at self-promotion. I’ve always believed that a surplus of humility is more admirable than a just a splash of arrogance or self-obsession. The entire reason I started writing this blog was to have a way of sharing the story of my recovery without having to inundate my community with personal emails or unrelenting status updates that could get lost in the shuffles of baby photos, restaurant check-ins, flight details and snapshots of meals (seemingly the majority of my Facebook newsfeed these days). Call me old school or what you will…

Well, at the behest of my closest family and friends, I’d like to (still reluctantly) share some recent developments and accomplishments .

A few months ago, a friend invited me to speak to a large conference of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists, investors, and entrepreneurs. Not knowing exactly what I could offer or say, I decided to craft a story about my injury, my journey on the path to recovery thus far, and my marriage proposal standing up on my own two feet.

While I had always felt comfortable speaking in front of a group in a variety of contexts, having presented in professional settings many times and at social events like fundraisers with my friends and community, I had never done a TED style talk in front of 300 paying attendees, which was the setting of this event. I spent a great deal of time writing my speech, making sure to abide by the imposed time limits and keep it engaging, clear and concise. When it came time to remember the key points of my presentation, I was at a loss.

My friend, a recently published author, conference organizer, and master of integrating comedy into business who hates self-promotion as much as I do which is why I am shamelessly calling him out, told me about the Memory Palace: a millennia-old technique using visual imagery to remember long presentations, recitations, or speeches. “I promise you it will work,” he said. With only three days before my presentation, I was a bit skeptical but I trusted him and decided to give it a shot, especially since I really had no better option on the table.

I drew out my own little memory palace, abandoned any other methods for remembering my talk and off I went. My presentation went quite well, and not only did I remember everything I wanted to, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being onstage and sharing my story with a roomful of people.

Since then, I’ve been invited to give more speaking engagements and have continued to refine my skills each time, all while still having lots of fun doing so. Following one of my recent talks, I met a very interesting guy who after a long career in broadcasting became a speaking coach and is now the premier presentation coach in Silicon Valley. Unbeknownst to me, he is also a regular contributor to Forbes magazine and decided to write a story about the memory palace and my use of it in Forbes. I’m including the link here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jerryweissman/2015/04/20/how-to-remember-what-to-say-and-four-ways-to-make-it-stick/

I’m enjoying these speaking opportunities greatly especially when I find out that people are impacted by my story and able to take something away from me and apply it in their world. In a struggle as big as mine, to recover from this traumatic injury and its devastating effects, knowing that I’ve positively impacted just one person is extremely gratifying and fulfilling and I’d like to keep that going. I’m open to other opportunities so if any of you have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas, don’t be a stranger and let me know.

17 thoughts on “Reluctant self-promotion (sigh…)

  1. Dear Arash, This is so great. I have always admired your writing – you express yourself so well and inspiringly – I am really glad that you are now getting the chance to express yourself to a wider audience – and to speak on your feet that is fabulous. Have you thought of the Hay House community? – there is Hay House Radio – where you can talk and be asked questions. There is also Evolving Wisdom – I do personal development online courses with them. Katherine Woodward Thomas has written 2 books: Calling in the One and Conscious Uncoupling. She runs courses with her colleague Claire Zammit and some wonderful coaches – Calling in the One and Feminine Power. Feminine Power is currently only available for women and I would love it to become available to men too. Claire and Katherine do wonderful interviews with all sorts of people (eg John Gray, Gay and Kathleen Hendricks) on relationships which they then package together and sell as audios – they are so inspiring and informative. I would not be surprised if they might like to interview you and your fiancee on your relationship if you were up for that. Take a look anyway – you can google these things. If this does not make sense but you are interested anyway – do contact me back to ask. Love and blessings, Melanie

    • Thank you so much for the recommendations. I will reach out to you privately to get a better sense of these opportunities. -AB

  2. Arash, I think you are a great writer, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that you have found an audience, or an audience has found you. Congratulations. The experiences you share are indeed valuable to many people facing many different types of challenges. Keep up the good work.

  3. How wonderful! I think it’s great that you are a “motivational speaker”. You are certainly motivating in your quest to regain mobility. I think hearing you talk about your injury and your road to recovery would be amazing. Maybe you could even have one of your motivational talks filmed and then share it with us here on your blog? Love from Australia. xo

    • Yeah that may have to be the next step. Or maybe I can make it out to Australia for one of my talks. That would be even better! -AB

      • Haha. I’d love to meet you if you ever made it to Oz! My brother in law is a motivational speaker and is very popular, so I believe.

  4. “Motivational’ speakers have an enormous amount to offer the community. I used to think they were just out for a ‘quick buck’, but then I came to realise that there are many shy people out there. They lack self-esteem (for various reasons) and have no confidence in their talent and creativity. Many people think they’re a failure. They think they have nothing to offer others. If life knocks them down, they can’t see how to get up again. They drown in a pool of negativity or, keep swirling around in a never-ending whirlpool.

    They have little voices in the back of their minds holding them back from being the person they were meant to be.

    That voice causes them to stagnate and dwell in their own pool of insecurity.

    Motivational Speakers can give people the confidence to move forward and express their ideas openly and with conviction.

    Motivational Speakers give others (what they cannot give themselves) – a voice to be heard.

    All I can say is Well Done, Arash.

    • Thank you so much. I agree with you that I had my own skepticism when it came to Motivational Speakers but I have come to understand and appreciate how helpful they can be. I will keep you posted of the developments as they continue. -AB

  5. Wow Arash! That is quite a fete to get up in front of so many movers and shakers of Silicon Valley and share your inspirational story. So proud of you and perhaps one of these days you will share your presentation, if it fact you were able to capture it on video, with the rest of us. Congratulations on a job well done!

    • Thanks Denise. Yeah it was cool to get up there and share and maybe soon I’ll have an opportunity to post one publicly. 🙂 -AB

  6. I have no ideas – but am not one bit surprised as how well received your speech was, so much so that it bled over to Forbes! I know you didn’t plan to become a voice for Spinal Cord Injuries, but it sounds like you are being led down that path for a reason, and the world needs more voices like yours! Sending you good energy as you continue on this journey!

  7. Hi Arash… Been following you ‘pretty much’ from the beginning! And one of the largest compliments I can offer please… is that you not only helped me through my own difficult situation, and well I’m still learning!!!

    • That means a lot to me. Thank you for telling me. I can only hope that my situation and story can hopefully help others on their respective journeys. -AB

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