There are times that I’ve forgotten my roots. Unfortunately, it happens.
What roots, you ask?
The basic principles and fundamentals of public speaking that I labored to grasp. The ones that were necessary to shed my fear and improve as a speaker. It’s easy to get caught up in the fleeting nuances of life and forget to send gratitude to the trials that molded you. The embarrassments. The self-criticism. Outside criticism. And of course the time and sheer effort (physical and mental) set aside to practice the craft. Those are more important than any single victory you might capture.
A few months back I was talking to a friend who made the “leap of joy” into public speaking. He was just 3 months in and was moving along at an “I’m all in” kind of way. A kickass fellow.
We were talking about how tough it is and he very eloquently laid out the struggles he was having. What he described was everything I went through—frighteningly similar to my journey which scared me for the sake of his well-being.
Anyway…it brought me back to my first days in Toastmasters when I yanked myself out of my cubicle of comfort. All those emotions came roaring through my veins. No, I didn’t cry or anything like that but I have an absolute soft spot for every single person who accepts the challenge of public speaking.
The reason? Because it’s damned difficult.
His story emphasized just how tough of a decision it really is. He had been wanting to do it since 2003 (not a typo) and here we are in 2015. Only 12 years, not too shabby.
Nice little lesson in that it’s never too late to go after your dreams or conquer new challenges. We’ll leave that for another day though.
One thing he said that resonated with me was that he’s hostile toward himself. BAM! He had my undivided instantly. This was my number one flaw that kept me from progressing when I first started learning the art of public speaking.
What I mean is that after each speech, there was never a “Good job Matt!” There was plenty of “They hated it. Man I sucked!” Each time I spoke it would be WWII all over again—destruction of all encouraging feelings. I’d have been removed from the home by the Self Protection Agency if there were such a thing. I was a self-abusive prick. But I found Jesus…err, Self-Encouragement.
I gave my friend some advice about self-beatings and he seemed to understand. I also think he’s smart and will change his ways to improve faster than he already is. Or maybe he’ll choose to suffer more like I did. Only time will tell.
I got so caught up in the nostalgia that I was ready to dump on him all the lessons that I’d learned the hard way…but I held back. The last thing a new speaker needs is too many things to think about.
So my message to you is this: Take it slow. One step at a time. When you hit a snag, reach out and ask for help. Ask me even. I’m beyond happy to help. You may have to shut me up though.
And lastly, don’t forget your roots. Don’t forget where you started out, what pains you endured to get where you are now, the lessons learned…all that good stuff. Because it’s that which has made you thus far, and that which will continue to make you—should you choose to endure.
P.S. Developing these roots is crucial, but that doesn’t mean you have to start out blind. I’ve got something for you to help give you a foundation for becoming a confident speaker…that something is my upcoming book. I want you to have it…for FREE…if you pick it up during the pre-release period that is 🙂
I know it can help you overcome the fear of public speaking, and that’s no small feat. Think about it. What would it mean to you in your life to be able to stand up in front of any group of people and share your passion? To share your ideas, your products or services, your embarrassing stories, and to do all that…w i t h o u t…f e a r? Fears such as “what if I look foolish?”, “what if I forget what to say?”, and that’s just scratching the surface…These thoughts and many more ate into my soul when I began my journey into the realm of public speaking.
But there is good news for you: It is absolutely possible to overcome these barriers. Like for real.
I’ve had a blast writing it. There’s been plenty of snags here and there, but you’re worth it 😉
So, click here to get more details about your book.
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