Bryant suggests you be as kind to yourself as you are to a child. “Failures are nothing more than directions,” he says. “Go this way. No, not that far. Back that way a little bit…” If you can think of mistakes as just…information, it may be easier to embrace them. You may even decide--as someone else put it--to fail faster, so you can get more help sooner.
Sure, it hurts when you wipe out. But aren’t your wildest dreams worth a few stumbles? “You’re failing all the time anyway,” Bryant says. “Why not fail at something that counts? There’s a concept.”
I failed at something that counts. Or did I? Much of the response to my first paid speaking engagement was some variation of, “You suck.” And guess what? I couldn’t wait to do it again because I knew I could do better. I was so proud of that! Plus one woman came up to me in tears afterward, and said everything I’d talked about was exactly what she needed to hear--so I was tempted to put this one in the win column.
Nick Morgan, a world-class public speaking coach, chuckled when I told him this story--as if, you know, wow, that’s really looking on the bright side. But thanks to one of Nick’s books, my second paid engagement was as much fun as the first hadn’t been. I highly recommend you take what he says to heart before you take to the podium.
I also hope you’ll keep in mind what Gloria Steinem is quoted as saying: “Whatever you want to do, just do it. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself. Making a fool of yourself is absolutely essential.”