I recently learned a valuable lesson from a very personal experience. It was a lesson that I could not have learned had I not gone through a very difficult time in my life.
We spend a great deal of our lives fighting battles, making our way through obstacle courses, and dealing with things that we think have gotten in our way. In many cases, this is true. However, sometimes things aren’t always as they appear. Every now and then, what seems like a huge hurdle is really just life’s way of saying, “slow down for a second, take a step back, and look at the big picture.” I don’t know about you, but I kind of like it when this happens, because I always end up discovering something about myself I never realized before. Sometimes, I even find that I am the obstacle. Once I get out of my own way, it’s amazing what I can do.
It’s easy to get caught up in life’s endless obstacle course, but our obstacles are there for a reason. I’ve found that we can use them to our advantage by exploring them a little bit and allowing them to make us stronger and better people.
Until recently, public speaking was a HUGE obstacle for me and actually prevented me from reaching several goals and fulfilling my purpose. It has always been easy for me to sit down with a pen and notebook and write out my thoughts, but to talk about them, much less SPEAK about them in front of a crowd of people was something I was quite sure I would never do. It wasn’t until I took a step back and evaluated this obstacle that I was able to turn it into an opportunity.
It wasn’t too long ago that I could barely sit in a conference room of five or six people and introduce myself without shaking to death or turning as red as a tomato. I was a nervous wreck when it came to public speaking, and if I was asked to give a presentation, you might as well call in the ambulance ahead of time. I was sure to go down.
However, after a difficult breakup, I made the decision that it was time to focus on myself, so I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish, “do or die” (more details on that in a later post). One of the items on that list was to finally confront my fear of public speaking. In order to achieve this, I joined a club called Toastmasters International, as well as a couple of other groups, which forced me into situations where I had no other choice but to break out of my own shadow and into my own beautiful light. It was quite difficult at first, but before I knew it, I was speaking with ease. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still not a five-star speaker, and probably never will be, but I’m comfortable with standing before an audience and speaking about anything and everything, even when I don’t know ahead of time that I will be asked to do so. I sometimes have no idea what I’m saying, but I’m relaxed and confident, and that’s what’s important.
In life, there are always going to be things that “get in the way”. There are always going to be things flying at us, like baseballs at 90 miles an hour. But, instead of trying to dodge them, why not catch them, keep them, and then use them to our own advantage? Have you ever heard the old saying, “when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade”? Let’s tweak that a little bit, shall we?
When life hands you an obstacle, make an opportunity!
Until we meet again,