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I was cleaning up recently and found this speaker card from TEDx SIUKirkee from Dec 2019
This was my 2nd TEDx talk
Interestingly, I had never been into public speaking as part of my professional career
I never had the fear to speak in front of an audience or stage fright as such – I had simply not done it
Once I left my corporate career to start my coaching practice, one fine day I decided that I want to speak on a stage
And from the day I took that decision, over the course of next 6 months, I spoke on 4 different TEDx talks
Eventually, I built a service offering as a corporate speaker and now, I get invited to speaking engagements and conferences
Why am I telling you this?
Because the only way to find out whether you can do something you have not done before is by doing it
There is no other secret mantra or formula
You simply have to start doing it (or atleast try it out) – only then you will know where you really stand
This might sound overly simplistic, right?
What happens if I fail?
What happens if I screw it up?
You might have these and many similar questions in your mind - and these are perfectly valid questions
The truth is that in most probability….
You will not get right the first time or the second time or the third time….
You might fail at it – not just once, but multiple times
You might completely suck at it – it might not be your cup of tea to begin with
The opposite can also happen....
You might discover that you are really good at something
You have an innate skill or passion for it
You might discover that you actually enjoy it so much that you want to pursue it further
Either way, without doing it, you will just not know, right?
And the more you do it, the more you will learn from your experiences – what is working and what is not working and then, you continue to learn and improvise
While you continue on this journey, you collect feedback and also seek external help and support if needed
Most importantly, you don’t stop
You continue to work on it, because every time you do something, you take one extra step, you build your confidence
Do. Learn. Improvise. Do again
That’s really the equation
The next question you might have is: If I have not done something before, where do I really start?
And again, the answer is simple and straight – start with the smallest step or task in the direction of the goal you want to achieve
In my case, I started speaking on a smaller stage and gradually, built my confidence to speak at larger platforms with time and experience
Let’s stay with the activity of public speaking as an example
The only way to become a good speaker is by speaking!!
So, start small. Pick up small opportunities at workplace to speak – be it a team meeting, floor huddle or monthly updates
Prepare. Practice. Speak
The first few times you speak - you may fumble, you may forget etc and that’s perfectly fine
Collect feedback from people around you and improvise
Practice more and then volunteer yourself for the next speaking opportunity. Repeat
Let's take another example:
Say you want to become an author or a writer and you have never written before
No problem – start small
Start with something very basic - list down some topics you might want to write about. That’s it!
Once you have a list ready, pick up one of the topics and then write a simple article or blog
Share it with a few people in your network and collect feedback
Improvise on the next article. Repeat
This way, you will improve your thinking, creativity and writing skills
The first time you speak, the first time you write, the first time you do anything for that matter – it might not go the way you would have wanted to. That it is bound to happen – no matter when you start
So the important thing is to start
Infact, the first 10,20.. or even 100 attempts at doing something new might not give you the desired results, but with each attempt, you will get better at it
You will get clarity of what you need to do and what you need to avoid doing
You will also get clarity of whether you really want to do it or not
The only way to find out whether you can do something you have not done before is by doing it. Period
So go back and reflect on the below:
1) What is the one thing you have been wanting to do for some time now?
2) If you still want to do it, what is the smallest step you can take in that direction?
Stay with these thoughts for now. Do share your insight when you read this email