by Jake Thompson

Swap "No, I'm Not Ready" for This Instead

We're never ready or confident when we get started. We can justify ...
Swap "No, I'm Not Ready" for This Instead

Seven years ago today…⁣

I gave my very first keynote.⁣⁣

The amazing HR team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston reached out about participating in their annual HR week.⁣

Everyone got a Compete Every Day shirt and they asked me to speak.⁣

“About what?”⁣

“Just tell your story.”⁣

“Ok…. (Secretly wondering WHY anyone wants to hear that).”⁣

⁣“What’s your fee?”⁣


“To speak. How much do you charge?”⁣

“Umm.. nothing. Just fly me to Houston so I don’t have to drive on 45.”⁣

I spent half the day meeting the team, sharing my story and lessons learned building my business, starting with the first sales out of the trunk of my car.⁣

I used “ummm,” “yea,” and “so..” often. I fumbled and bumbled my way through it.⁣

But afterwards, something special happened.⁣

The VP pulled me aside and said, “I think there’s something here & you should go do more of this.”⁣

Initially I nodded “ok,” then internally dismissed it. "I'm not a speaker," I thought.⁣

Unbeknownst to me, a seed was planted.⁣

Years later, when I was looking to shift our business from relying so heavily on trade shows & events, that seed started to grow. I saw someone coach speakers at an event and wondered, could I make a career of teaching from the stage?⁣

  • I then went to a conference in Florida to learn more. (Seed grew).⁣
  • I hired a coach to teach me how to create & tell stories from the stage. (Seed grew).⁣
  • I hired another coach to teach me how to actually build a business with it. (Seed grew).⁣

And thanks to a member of our community, I received another opportunity to keynote. (Seed breaking through the soil).⁣


My entire career these days can be traced back to one opportunity & the encouragement planted in me afterward.⁣⁣

You never know what certain opportunities will do to change the trajectory and course of your life.⁣

I could have easily said “No, I’m not a speaker” and missed that seed ever being planted in me.⁣

I could have justified to myself that I “didn’t know what to do,” or lacked the confidence to do it “now,” or any other reason of why I should skip giving my first, messy talk and I would’ve missed out on what I’m doing today.⁣

The start isn’t perfect. ⁣

It isn’t shiny. It’s often something we fumbled through instead of fly.⁣

It. Doesn’t. Matter.⁣

No one remembers how messy your start is when you’re rolling at full speed in the future - except you.⁣

You just have to start.⁣

  • Say yes to that local chamber of commerce asking you to come talk.⁣
  • Say yes to your mentor pushing you to apply for that promotion.⁣
  • Say yes to that inner voice encouraging you to write your first book, join that gym, or bet on yourself.⁣

Most people spend their entire life saying “NO” to opportunities, believing they’ll feel more ready & confident later and can say “YES” then.⁣

They die waiting to for a chance to say “yes,” never realizing that you’re not ready, confident, or perfect when they start. ⁣

You just start and with each rep, get better.⁣

Seven years ago my life changed because I said “yes” to something I wasn’t ready for. ⁣

What “no, I’m not ready” do you need to change to YES today?⁣

I’m cheering for you. 👏⁣


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