An interesting side conversation popped up the other night while I was teaching networking. I had mentioned that I got a lot of the material for the course from the many mistakes I made when I first started to learn how to network. What came out of the conversation was that many of us seem surprised when someone we consider an expert “levels with us”. In other words, when someone admits that they still make mistakes, weren’t always proficient in their area or expertise or are still learning or working on improving. At first, I was surprised that many people feel this way but then when I thought more about it, I can understand why.
If you’ve ever had a bad habit or some type of behavior you’ve wanted to change, you know that it’s not easy. But what I’ve found from both personal experience and from talking to others is that making the change isn’t the hardest part – it’s convincing the people around you that you’re trying to change and blocking out their negative feedback.
I’ve heard that the best way to double your success rate is to double your failure rate. The rationale is that if you have to fail a few times before you can have a success, you’ll get more successes if you have more failures. I think it works in some instances but in other cases can make your situation worse. Especially if you take it too literally.
Where it works:
Back in January, I was rushing about town doing some errands when I came across a country music station. I had never been a fan of country music, but a song caught my ear as I was trying to find something other than news or commercials to listen to. The song was about how things may seem bad, but there’s still a lot to be grateful and thankful for. The song was “Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the movie “Cannonball Run 2” because it was the first time I fell in love. The movie opens with a white Lamborghini Countach having some fun with the police on a desert road. Yes, I fell in love with the car (especially after the car pulled a costume change and turned red) although the passenger in it – Catherine Bach, “Daisy Duke” from the Dukes of Hazzard – certainly caught my attention as well. From that day on, my goal in life was to own a red Lamborghini Countach.
So you’ve heard (or read) me say it over and over again that the only way to overcome your fear of public speaking is to get up there and speak. Like telling someone not to rub their eyes, it’s easy to say but not so easy to do. Just keep in mind that the hardest step to take (and the most terrifying one) is that first step. After that step, everything gets easier.
Taking that first step: