I recently joined Toastmasters. There are five core competencies Toastmasters teaches.
- Public Speaking
- Interpersonal Communication
- Strategic Leadership
On the handout, the fifth one is grayed out with an asterisk that says, “Confidence is unique because it can’t be taught, but it is gained in every path.
My first thoughts were, “Lovely. I joined Toastmasters to gain confidence, and there is no manual, no sequence to follow, no directions?” But after a few weeks of showing up and participating in meetings, I am beginning to agree that confidence isn’t something you teach; instead, it is gained by doing the hard things.
I prefer texting to phone calls because on the phone you don’t know what the person might ask. I like to have time and space to process my answers. I’m working on going into the uncomfortable and not panicking or trying to control the outcome. For me, that means repeatedly volunteering for a two-minute impromptu speech.
Today my topic was climate change—a subject I don’t know much about. I stood up there and spoke about how I had hoped I wouldn’t get that question and how I could relate to someone else who spoke on liking the climate in her home to be a consistent 74 degrees.
When I finished, I realized I succeeded not because I gave a great speech but because I showed up. Even if what I show up for is messy or things happen out of my control, I win when I show up.
What hurdle are you facing today? You just need 20 seconds of insane courage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just done. Show up and you win.