Ramit Sethi had the subject line, "Uh, it's SUPPOSED to be hard." I was intrigued.
He went on to talk about his own delusional ideas as a young man, expecting success to fall into his lap without any hard work, and the excuses and "whining" he sees from people who blame everyone and everything for holding them back from success.
He says, "It's SUPPOSED to be hard to start a successful business or create world-class art or be famous.
And to be blunt, if you can't figure out how, you don't deserve to play at those levels."
Pretty harsh, right? But he does offer solutions.
"For example, if you don't have enough time after work, you could complain about how your boss is an ass, or how you’re so tired after work...or you could test and implement a new time-management system and save 1 hour/day.
If you want to lose 25 lbs, you could start by targeting just one thing -- walking up the stairs at work -- and reward yourself when you lose just 5lbs. For a lot of people, they'd rather dream about losing 25 lbs than actually lose 5.
And you can get an accountability buddy -- a friend who can help keep you on track -- without making you feel guilty or useless. Someone who WANTS to help you, because they have the same goals you do.
This stuff isn't easy. That's why so many people dream about writing a book, getting 6-pack abs, and generating passive income. They'd rather dream about being a millionaire than start earning $1K/month on the side."
I have to agree with him, but sometimes I really do fear that being honest with you about what it takes to be a world-class speaker will discourage you from working at it. I fear that if I tell you "It's hard," you'll give up before you even begin.
But as Ramit points out, it's not about targeting the big goal all at once.
It's daunting to say to yourself, "I need to lose 25 pounds," and stressful to figure out how to even begin. But telling yourself, "I'll work on losing five pounds, and when I've lost five pounds, I'll reward myself and work on losing another five pounds," is so much more manageable, not to mention realistic.
So no... your first speaking gig doesn't have to be on a "Big Stage." And no, you don't have to start by paying for a high-end coaching program that you probably don't need. And no, if you're shooting for a motivational speaker title, you're not going to get paid for a while, so take the pro bono gigs that come your way.
But yes... take the necessary baby steps to speaking up and speaking out. Practice. Develop your style and craft. Start speaking your mind in meetings. Start attending a networking group where you have to give a 30-second introduction and work your way up to a short presentation when you feel comfortable there.
Here are 7 ways to practice public speaking at work. And here are 7 ways to practice public speaking as an entrepreneur.
And stop making excuses about why you can't get speaking engagements, and why you can't afford coaching or training, and why you'll never be comfortable speaking because you're an introvert... and whatever else you're telling yourself that's holding you back.
If you want to do this -- if you really want to commit to making an impact in the world through speaking -- it takes work. It takes time. It takes motivation. It takes willingness to be uncomfortable. It takes making mistakes and occasionally embarrassing yourself. It takes chutzpah and determination and not giving up when you blow it. It takes a positive attitude and forward motion. It takes training, which might cost you money.
"For a lot of people, they'd rather dream about losing 25 lbs than actually lose 5." Are you dreaming about being that world-class speaker but not bothering to take the first steps? Are you really that unwilling to invest in yourself, your growth, your future, your awesomeness?
What are the rewards you're seeking in return for the hard work? What are the benefits to you of building your skills and confidence? Only you can know what you personally want to get out of it, but here are a few:
Pride of accomplishment
Belief in yourself
Poise and polish in any setting
The power of persuasion
The ability to motivate and inspire others
All of which can lead to:
More visibility for your business
More credibility for you as an expert
More clients and customers
Advancement in your career
And whatever else you're dreaming of!
It's up to you. Nobody is standing in your way, except you.