Five years ago, someone told me something that changed my life. This person had told me that I don’t speak very well. And back then, my fragile ego couldn’t handle it. I don’t even think I can handle it now.
Truth is, I don’t speak well at all. I stutter a lot. I chew on my words. Certain syllables I can’t pronounce.
If you really looked closely at what I say, I don’t really say much – I just say it much louder than anyone else. It covers up for the fact that I can’t enunciate properly most of the time.
And no matter how much I say I have the gift of gab, I’m an awkward conversationalist. My brain chases after topics even before I’ve finished talking about them. I’m the most confusing person in the world to talk to.
And stagefright? I get the heebie jeebies before I speak to anyone. I literally freeze in front of a crowd. I have a surplus amount of nervous energy that makes me want to walk around before I speak.
When that person told that to me five years ago, I was devastated. But it changed me. It sent me off on a grand adventure that led me to where I am today.
You see, I didn’t solve any of these problems. I still stutter. I still chew on my words.
But I changed how I use them. The stutters, the awkward pauses, I use them for dramatic effect. When I tell a story, it’s more real somehow.
The loud voice? I literally wake up the crowd. My mind racing ahead of me? It allows me to think ahead – ten steps before anyone else.
In a pitch or any speaking engagement, I always think that I’m not good enough. And that forces me to actually rehearse and practice before I speak to anyone.
I’m still not the best speaker in the world. But I’m going to go out there, warts and all, heart on my sleeve each and every time.
To that person I should say thanks for the wake up call. I needed that. And it’s led me to do what I truly love. No it isn’t digital marketing. That’s just a means to end. It’s talking to people, emotions on full display, stuttering my way into their hearts and minds.