Never play the victim card, on stage or in life.

Don't use your audience as a therapist.

Your triumph over cancer, escape from an abusive relationship, or successful battle with addiction is admirable but…

When we're in pain, we tend to feel like we're the only one who has ever felt quite that way.

And that just isn't true.

In all likelihood, thousands of people have bounced off the same bottom you have.

That doesn't diminish what you—or they—went through … but you run the risk of allowing a dark moment to define you.

Another mistake we make is to compare our pain to other people's pain.

Who's to say whether John's bankruptcy or Jill's divorce or Jackie's spinal cord injury is the most painful ?

I've heard too many speakers introduce themselves as survivors of various types of trauma.

When you're battling tough circumstances, survival can seem impossible-to-achieve goal, but shouldn't we shoot higher than that?

To brand yourself as a victim and live in that is tragic for you and tragic for your audience.

I'm not saying you shouldn't speak about painful times. Those experiences offer valuable lessons.

Just be aware that some people in your audience might think your trauma sounds like a luxury compared to what they went through.

Someone in the room may have experienced the divorce, the bankruptcy, the spinal cord injury, and the addiction all at the same .

Having successfully battled adversity, you're a stronger person with deeper perspectives than most.

Share those strengths with your audiences. They're so much more valuable than your victim .