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We Learn by Doing

Posted May 29 2012 6:47pm

Is there a part of your life, personally or professionally, that you want to improve?

Are you taking action towards that improvement?

When I teach presentation skills workshops I’m often presenting to a group of people who are afraid of speaking in public.

Here is what I tell them:

You cannot improve your speaking skills and confidence by sitting home on your couch thinking about becoming a better speaker. You have to get out there and speak.

Which means making mistakes, hearing feedback and most importantly learning from each and every experience.

I’ll never forget the feedback I received after my first paid speaking engagement 6 years ago. The woman who hired me said, “Stacey, you can tell you’re new.”

I wanted to crawl under a rock and never speak again.

Then my husband reminded me, “Stacey, you are new.”

Right.

I became more active in Toastmasters, practiced my speeches, studied up on what makes a great presentation and presenter, observed other speakers, put myself in situations that required speaking and most importantly became comfortable with my voice and style.

I’m happy to report those efforts paid off. These days feedback is much more positive.

I wouldn’t have improved my skills if I stayed under that rock. The learning never ends. Every day I continue to practice and learn.

This is true for any endeavor you want to achieve or improve.

I’m now working on a few different e-books – Look Your Best and Feel Your Best – based on a lot of the writing and newsletters I’ve created over the past 6 years. As I go back in time, I realize how much my writing has changed, too. I’ve studied, practiced, learned from those who edit my work and write daily (not all the writing gets published but I do it daily).

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests success is more about practice than talent. How much practice? At least 10,000 hours.

Do you have your 10,000 hours?

You won’t get it by letting your thoughts rule your actions. Believe me, I’ve tried.

You have to:

  • Want to achieve your goal
  • Acknowledge and feel your fear
  • Step into the fear anyway
  • Be vulnerable and open to making mistakes
  • Get honest and respectable feedback – what you do well and areas for improvement
  • Practice, practice and practice again.

Did I mention practice?

We learn by doing.

What have you done and as a result learned today?

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