I cannot tell you how many times during a typical week that I see people who complain about living a routine, boring life. They tell me that they get up, go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed. They get up the next morning and do it all over again. I can understand the fact that a lot of us get into a career with a fixed job that doesn’t allow for much creativity. Even still, one can choose to push oneself within the career field, or, in your off time embark on something that does challenge you.
I laughed as one of my martial arts students recently told me that they have so much time on their hands that they truly didn’t know what else to do. This person spends two hours in the gym in the morning and then comes back for another hour or so at night. While this has some positive characteristics, I have shared with him the idea of finding something to PUSH himself in that would help him grow and discover more of who he is as a person.
How many of us truly look deep within ourselves and reflect on what areas of our life we might want to either improve upon or simply explore? In building a platform with my media consultant, she recently asked me to consider researching an organization that many of your may be familiar with: Toastmasters. I have heard of Toastmasters for years but have never engaged them personally. I have done trainings and given talks to thousands of people and I rationalized in my mind that I was already competent at speaking. The truth was something different.
The truth was I was afraid.
I was afraid of getting up and making a fool of myself. I was afraid that I would be so out of my element that I would literally stink up the room. Not only stink up the room but demonstrate to the people in the meeting that I was an idiot. I could just hear them saying, “This guy has a Ph.D. and he talks like that?” All kinds of negative thoughts went through my head and it made it very easy to come up with an excuse as to why I shouldn’t push myself to confront my fears, explore more of my own life, pursue my own dreams by making myself better at something that I truly love to do: speak about what I’m passionate about.
Last week I researched a group, found a local one, emailed the gentlemen in charge of education and found out about the meeting. I made my first meeting this past Thursday and even though I couldn’t get there on time due to a physical therapy appointment, the gentleman, Clay Baskin, told me to come anyway. What I witnessed was something that surprised and inspired me. The people who came to this small meeting were passionate individuals looking to improve themselves, meet other good souls, and have a good time. It was a perfect description of personal growth.
I came away so impressed not only with the people in the meeting, but with Clay himself. I found him to be a passionate man with a strong desire to grow as a human and make the world a better place. Those two qualities alone put him very high on my list. I was so impressed with the man that I asked if he would be willing to mentor me as his platform skills were that impressive. Clay, the kind soul that he is, graciously accepted and I am now set to get to work on truly improving my ability to speak.
I encourage anyone and everyone to find something that they can engage in that will push them in a way that allows them to stretch their comfort zone. Maybe it’s something as simple as volunteering at a soup kitchen, coaching a team, taking a class you always wanted to take, confronting a fear like public speaking. I will tell you that if you ever wanted to be a more confident person and confront a huge fear that most people have in public speaking, head to a Toastmasters meeting as their curriculum and philosophy is nothing short of heaven sent.
Maybe you’ll get lucky like me and meet a wonderful soul like Clay whom you can hook up and mentor. What Clay doesn’t realize is this will be a two-way street. (He realizes this… hee) I will push my new friend to continue to grow as I want him to achieve his goals. He wants to get out and speak professionally and so I will do my best to push him to do so. I can’t believe he’s not out there now as his skills are truly awesome. This is where I will be a good coach and help him as much as I can discover what he thinks is lacking and help him overcome whatever that is so he can go out and bless the planet with his mind, heart, and wonderful words.
I have typically been speaking in an environment for at-risk adults. These are people that have had some challenges… Maybe they’ve had experience with drugs, dropped out of schools, or been involved in gang-related activities. My comfort zone, while maybe not many people’s comfort zone is with this amazing, wonderful, challenging population. I’m comfortable there. I need to learn to as comfortable speaking to other populations as I am with this one…
What do you need to push on to develop yourself to another level?
I hope you choose to engage many things that allow you to appreciate the incredible talent that you are. Don’t see yourself as limited…rather, see yourself as a perpetual student who is hungry to learn, grow, discover and evolve. That is what makes life rich. That is what makes life fun. That is what keeps us from living a stagnant life.
Engage something new and let me know how it went. As always, I would love to hear from you!
Blessings to all!