When You Doubt Yourself, Do These Three Things
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”– Robert F. Kennedy
In the movie, “The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold,” the father of Jackie Dorsey, the female part of a pairs skating team says to the male part of the pairs skating team, Alex Harrison, after he is doubting whether him and Jackie can win the Olympic pairs competition, “If you are not willing to try, you are already a loser.”
This quote from the movie made me think. How many times as a speaker have you refused speaking engagements or did not try something innovative in your speaking because you did not think you were good enough?
When you encounter this doubt in yourself, try these three methods to reach your success: Act As If, Learn from Failure, Apply the Corridor Principle.
Act As If You Are the Person You Want to Be
Norman Vincent Peale of “The Power of Positive Thinking” fame taught us it is widespread knowledge that action follows thought. However, it is not widely known that thought can actually follow action.
Two twin boys grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. One grew up to be a hopeless drunk like his father. The other boy grew up to become a physician respected by his community. They were interviewed in their adult years and asked the same question by the interviewer – “Why do you think you turned out like you did?” Their answers were the same – “How would you grow up if you had an alcoholic father.
Both boys with the same upbringing in the same house with the same alcoholic father turned out quite differently. Why do you think that is so? Each boy had the same upbringing.
The respected physician chose to act as if he was a doctor and, eventually, he became one. This son realized that thought can follow action and made a solemn promise to be everything his alcoholic father was not.
The other son chose to act as if he was a hopeless drunk and became one like his father. This son never learned he had the freedom to make his life the opposite of his father’s.
When you speak to an audience, acting as if you are an accomplished speaker will change your negative thoughts to positive ones and allow you to accomplish more than you ever thought possible. The key is to take action in your speaking; your thoughts will become positive according to your action.
Sometimes, however, you will fail. Thank your lucky stars, because failure is the very best teacher than success.
Learn From Your Failures
There is an old saying, “Everything is hard before it gets easier.”
Children easily get discouraged when they try something new just to find they are not good at the activity when they start it. They get discouraged and stop doing the activity. If they only stayed with the activity, they would eventually become very good at it.
It is sad, but there are many adults that drift from activity to activity, job to job, and career to career because they are not willing to stick with it until they get good at it.
Perhaps this describes your speaking. Follow-up is the key to making it in the speaking business as it is in anything in which you endeavor.
The truth is success is just not possible without failing along the way. Thomas Edison failed over three-thousand times before he discovered the filament that would not burn up in a vacuum – the incandescent light bulb is still used today.
From his over three-thousand failures Edison learned all the different kinds of filament material that would burn up in a vacuum. He immediately learned these filaments were not the answer to electric light.
You will learn immensely more from your speaking failures than you will ever learn from your speaking successes. Edison learned from his failures and his persistence made him a fortune. Your fortune is out there if you are persistent!
There is a caveat though. When you fail in your speaking, remember your failure so you won’t experience it again. This method has been responsible for more of the world’s advancement than any other method. It will put you on the fast track to your speaking improvement and success.
Since failure is your best teacher, push yourself beyond where you originally thought you could go to experience more failures and learn faster.
Failure is indeed the best teacher in your speaking journey. Additionally something magical happens when we into our corridor of opportunity that comes from The Corridor Principle.
Step Into Your Corridor of Opportunity
The Corridor Principle first stated by Robert Ronstadt of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign states “the mere act of starting a venture enables entrepreneurs to see other venture opportunities they could neither see nor take advantage of until they had started their initial venture.”
The Corridor Principle works whether you are an entrepreneur, an executive or a newly minted college graduate.
You can think of The Corridor Principle as a speaking opportunity corridor that you enter with doors that open and close on your right and left. These doors are speaking opportunities you would not have seen if you had not taken the first step to enter the corridor. Some of these opportunities may not work out for you, but some of them will. You would never have seen these opportunities if you had not been in the corridor.
Examples of corridors in your speaking life include joining the chamber of commerce to expand your network; letting it be known far and wide through social media what you do, who you can help, and how you can help them; and joining a local virtual leadership group also to expand your network.
Once you get your first presentation, some people in the audience to which you presented will ask if you are interested in giving another presentation to the same group or to another group. The key is to never give up. Your referrals will not happen immediately, but they will happen. The key is to stay in touch with those you meet.
The Corridor Principle is a powerful method to reach your success. Use it!
When you encounter doubt in yourself, act as if you are the person to which you want to become, keep pushing yourself and learn from your failures, and apply The Corridor Principle to increase your speaking opportunities!
Call to Action
When you doubt yourself, act as if you can do the thing you want. You will find your doubt in yourself waning and then disappearing
Never be afraid of failing in your speaking. Failure is your best teacher. Go for it!
Find your corridor of opportunities. You will be amazed at the opportunities that you will find.
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”– Denis Waitley
Introducing a new book from Frank DiBartolomeo! “Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”
Launched Saturday, January 30, 2021 online in a store near you!
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
Contact DCI at
Office – (703) 815-1324
Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424