This post is a follow up to Ryan Healy’s post about how to become a leader. One of his points of emphasis was to try new things.
I am NOT a shy person. In fact, you could probably call my obnoxious on any given day and you’d be right, but when it comes to events that put me in the spotlight in front of people that I do not know, I am as uncomfortable as the next person. While many people would just consider my initial obnoxious/abrasive disposition to be my weakness (this is another blog post all together), I would point to my uncomfortableness in public speaking situations and my inefficient use of time.
So how do you overcome your shortcomings? You cannot be afraid to try something new.
At the beginning of the semester one of my team member’s came to me and asked me start our presentation with a funny story to get the audience engaged. I will admit that I declined for nearly a full week before I decided, “what the hell?” I tried channeling Will Ferrell’s Harvard Commencement but I kept drawing blanks.
Just recently, a really good friend asked me to serve as the MC for a fashion show designed to increase brand awareness for her company. (I’ve politely asked her to contribute some guest posts to this blog, to no avail). Anyway, I told her yes because
she’s really pretty and I wanted to impress her. I decided to do it because I thought it would be fun and I knew it would be challenging.
The result? Both were huge successes and because I was so nervous (you wouldn’t have been able to tell), and had to prepare so much, they are probably the two proudest moments of the semester. I took the opportunity to tackle these respective tasks because they enabled me to hone my speaking skills in front of people; to improve on my shortcomings.
What are your weaknesses?
Don’t sit idle and remain in your comfortable little bubble only participating in scenarios that you are good at. Take a chance and challenge yourself; you might be surprised.
If you aren’t very visual maybe that means trying to design a PowerPoint presentation. Maybe it’s public speaking. Maybe it’s working with someone you think you might not like. Whatever the situation, chances are you will encounter it in the real world, and you cannot hide forever, so you might as well step outside your comfort zone, embrace it, and try to improve in your areas of weakness. This does not just pertain to school or work, but life in general — so take a chance today!