Leverage times two

The first time I stepped into the opening session of Leverage I was filled with trepidation.

The second time I stepped into the opening session of Leverage I was filled with calm.

What was the difference? At the first I was an attendee; at the second I was the emcee. And believe me that made all the difference!

Why I doubted Leverage was for me

When I was considering attending the first Leverage in August, 2016, I was doubtful it was truly for me. I was a casual blogger (read: undisciplined!) and my speaking engagements came like rain in a drought. I felt frustrated that my writing didn’t seem to connect with an audience. My ministry had no focus. Among the list of first attendees were authors of real published books and regular retreat speakers and even a stand-up comedian. Fear of being seen as an amateur loomed.

But Leverage’s motto is: “Leverage is the safest place to do the scariest thing.“ In my small group, led by the gentle, wise coach, Michele Cushatt, I was encouraged to embrace my own style and even reach into the more vulnerable places of my story. Our group connected through tears of laughter and heartache. Our connection and continued learning lasted long past the end of the conference. The tools I received to hone my ministry focus were invaluable. Looking back, I realize Leverage was exactly designed for someone as flustered as I felt.

Leverage times two

Fast-forward seven months to the second Leverage conference. I was asked to be the emcee, and I wholeheartedly accepted. Calm filled me as I approached the podium that opening session, not just because I wasn’t giving any talks (though that was a part of it, I must admit!) but because I knew the outcome each and every attendee would walk away with. Looking out at the bloggers, mothers, IT workers and widows, I smiled. I knew in their heads they were looking sideways, trying to see where their notch was on the measuring stick of speaking success. Yet I knew they would soon discover there was no such measuring stick at all.

I knew they would soon become allies, collaborators and cheerleaders for each other. I knew that someone from that table on the left would forge a lasting friendship with someone from that table on the right. I knew that the coaches and teachers were going to share a concept that was going to light that bulb to illuminate the next steps in their ministry. And knowing that filled me with calm.

How will it feel at my third Leverage? I’m not sure exactly, but I know I will savor the moments seeing attendees move from fear to peace to excitement in their own journeys as I did in my own! Join me for the third Leverage conference in November 2017!

Emily is a fellow sojourner, loving God and desiring to live life abundantly in the daily. She encourages people to take their faith beyond the ‘pew’ to the pavement through her writings, speaking and video devotions. Emily lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and loves exploring and eating through her adventures, framing the perfect shot for Instagram (@emilydavisnelson) and pampering her three grown boys and daughter-in-law when they come for a free meal visit. She is a sometimes blogger at beyondtheredchair.com and contributor of video devotionals on the Refocus App (refocusapp.org).

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