How my mentor helped me to not quit public speaking
I cannot speak fluently… I am not myself when speaking English!
On that day in March this year, I felt hopeless.
Do you know that feeling when you have a dream, a big dream and you decide to make it a reality? You define your goal, set a plan and start working towards it. You try, you work harder and harder, but you don’t progress. You are enthusiastic at first, but you don’t see improvement and you lose motivation. You feel deeply disappointed in yourself.
I was at that position in March of this year. I was considering whether to extend my membership at the Toastmaster club or leave it. My family seemed to think it was the right choice, seeing me being sick every time I prepared to speak. My closest friend advised
– Aleksandra, is it worth your energy and time to stay in this club? You have enough problems, why should you put more weight on your shoulders?
What can you do when you can’t fall in line with your plan? When your dreams are shattered?
It’s worth having someone to support you at a time like this. So, I wrote to my club mentor and poured out all my sorrows to him.
He wrote me back the next day, addressing all my concerns.
My mentor shared his own experience from the time he joined the club and suffered from a phobia of public speaking.
If my problems were indeed a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder associated with immigration to a foreign country, where else would I find a better place to heal it than in a supportive environment like this club?
If you give up on Toastmasters, where else can you go? – he asked me a rhetorical question. Indeed, I saw no other option!
Also, he looked at my problem from a different angle. He dug deeper and concluded that there really wasn’t just an issue with the English, but a general lack of self-confidence. He suggested to me to become more myself, authentic and use the language as a tool to deliver what I have to offer and to express my own style.
He even advised me to try to take on a new role in the club, like contributing to the committee.
This man, as you can see, demonstrated the qualities of a true mentor, such as the ability to listen, sharing his own experience with his mentee, looking at the problem from a different perspective. And most importantly, he believed in me!
In doing so, he saved my membership and my dream of public speaking. I followed his advice and decided to stay in the club but with a different attitude. I will be less concerned about the language and more courageous in taking on different roles. Even more, I applied this advice in other areas of my life. Since then, I have spoken a few times in public venues, last Sunday in front of an audience of 80 people. I survived… and got positive feedback.
Dear readers, take advantage of the privilege of having a mentor, especially those who are beginning their journey not only in speaking but into any business or leadership. But also, if you are advanced but have perhaps fallen a little behind, are a little stagnant, get in touch with a peer mentor who can motivate you in a friendly conversation. And if your relationship with your mentor is going smoothly, take a moment and write him a message today saying – Thank you for being there and that I can count on you.
Do you have a mentor? Maybe more than one, depending on which aspect of your life you work on? How often do you turn to him/her?
Or maybe you are looking for someone to mentor you? I am more than happy to share with you my life experience and knowledge in some areas such as setting goals and changing habits, codependency in a toxic relationship, supporting partners in the autistic spectrum and mental issues, finding life purpose. Check my calendar here and book a call today.
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