Last seat on the lifeboat…Who wants in?

If someone asked you this question, what would you say? What could you say about yourself in 30 seconds that would convince them to give YOU the coveted seat?

I recently attended a writer’s workshop at Blissdom, a women’s blogging conference here in Nashville where the instructor asked us that very question. It didn’t sound as scary at first. She originally asked what our elevator pitch was. I had perked up when she said that. I knew how to do that, I was a publicist. I could do this right? Some of the women didn’t know what an elevator pitch was so I explained, “Pretend you only have an elevator ride, the time it takes to get from one floor to another to make your case for your product, service, etc. What would you say?”

The women still looked a bit like deer in headlights.

“Think about it this way,” the instructor explained, “If we were all on a boat that was sinking and there was one seat left on the lifeboat, what would you say about yourself to convince the captain that you are the one who needs to be spared?”

OK, maybe I couldn’t handle this. I come up with pitches all the time for our authors and our books, but for myself. I sat there in silence as the women, all older than me and most of them moms, said things like they needed to live for their kids or for their husbands. I don’t have any kids. I’m not married. What could I say that would convince someone that I needed that seat? In the brief 5 minutes I was thinking about my life in a way I never had before I went through all the things I want to do, places I want to go, people I want to meet, and the person I want to be. I’ve always been a person with a plan, seeking to live a life full of purpose and passion, so why didn’t I have any good reason why I should be on that boat?! Then it came to me.

I’m not done yet.

That moment was like a kick in the butt. I’m not done yet. I have so much I want to do. I shared my realization with the room and the women began to echo the same feelings. No one is done; we haven’t crossed that finish line yet. We have so much to explore, learn and give. No matter where you are in life, what you’ve accomplished or what you have left to accomplish, now’s the time to do it. Now’s the time to fight for that last seat in the lifeboat.

I think I get so caught up in the daily routine of busyness that I forget to really live and live with purpose. We all have things we want to do in our lives, big goals and huge dreams.  Are we living that way? I wasn’t. I was complacent. Daily now I remind myself, I have so much more to do, I’m not done yet.

What would your elevator pitch be? How do you remind yourself each day that you aren’t done yet?

By day Jacklyn Johnston is a publicist for Tommy Nelson, Thomas Nelson’s children’s division, a dream job for any self-proclaimed bookavore. By night her routine has recently consisted of eat, run, sleep repeat as she is training for her first marathon in May. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, after a detour in Atlanta, she finds herself living in Nashville, Tennessee. Stop by her new blog at www.jayewalking.com and find her tweeting like a bird at www.twitter.com/jayemarie


Billy.J · 19 Feb ’10 at 3:34 pm

Wow. What an awesome post! A great thinker, that I’ll have to dwell on for awhile. I’m amazed at the depth in that single question, “Why do I deserve to live?” That’s a question that will either show you what you want, or what you have. Thank you for this great post.


    Jacklyn · 22 Feb ’10 at 4:53 pm

    That’s exactly what it did for me. It makes you stop and think. I’d love to hear what you think after giving it some thought.

      Billy.J · 24 Feb ’10 at 11:11 am

      After some serious thought, and hoping you’re still checking. I’d have to say that I would give reasons why I deserve to life. I mean, I’m only 13, and I know God isn’t even close to being finished with me. He’s blessed me and given me so much, that me not being able to try and do something for Him is heart-aching! I know nothing I can do can compare to His greatness, but the least I can do is use his blessings and try and bring others to see His Amazing Perfection. That, is why my time is not over. God’s not finished with me. I’m ready for death whenever it comes, for it means I’ll be with God, but He isn’t ready for that. And I trust Him, not me.

        Jacklyn · 25 Feb ’10 at 6:01 pm

        I love it. You are wise beyond your years 🙂

mooney · 22 Feb ’10 at 4:36 pm

That is something to think about. My wife and I recently watched Last Holiday (hilarious!), where a lady has only 2-3 weeks to live. She takes this info and runs with it, cashing out her retirement and doing everything she dreamed of doing before we die.

Unfortunately, I fall in the category of putting things off. Thinking in terms of the life boat, I had better get with it before my time is over and the race not won.

I’m trying to understand that time is a nonrenewable resource.


    Jacklyn · 22 Feb ’10 at 4:55 pm

    I’m on that learning curve too! I think it’s that living with intention and as cliche as it sounds, making every second count. I’m learning and that workshop where they asked that question was like a swift kick in the pants.

      mooney · 24 Feb ’10 at 2:58 pm

      I have noticed that living with intention is a big theme with these guest posts. Maybe God is trying to say something loudly to get through to my thick cranium. hehe

        Jacklyn · 25 Feb ’10 at 6:02 pm

        haha. You and me both. Seems like a lot of us stubborn people are dealing with the same thing 🙂 All the more encouragement as we got through it!

Sarah Houghton · 23 Feb ’10 at 11:50 am

I really loved this! I like being asked tough questions and really thinking out the answers.
Really related to this line “No matter where you are in life, what you’ve accomplished or what you have left to accomplish, now’s the time to do it.” – I don’t want to wait around. I want to get things done!

Thanks :O)

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