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December 20, 2017

None of us is perfect.

Once again, I’m going to retell a story that was printed in the Toastmaster magazine. Although I am going to cut out about half of it because I don’t want you to quit reading and it is a little long.

The article is about a pharmacist who eventually began to be a public speaker / leadership coach. His name is Glen Savage.

“I was born with a hereditary hand tremor. I came to believe that if I spoke to a group, the audience would be distracted by the tremor and assume I was a shivering bag of nerves and it would affect trust and credibility. That is what I’d much later come to learn was a limiting belief.

“My confidence in speaking was pretty low, and my doctor stepped in with beta-blockers to stop the tremor when needed. That was helpful, except I then had another limiting belief that I couldn’t speak unless I took a tablet.

“Then I explored all of this with a great Neuro – Linguistic Programming (NLP) coach. I discovered that my beliefs were just beliefs – a way of thinking that was inhibiting me. I developed a newer, healthier belief that I could speak and train without tablets and the tremor didn’t matter. My NLP coach helped me focus on the possibility that people would be interested in what I had to say and the benefit I could deliver. I haven’t taken a beta – blocker in over 15 years. People do in fact listen to me. And no one has ever commented on my tremor.

“Focus on the audience, rather than yourself. If you take on the mindset that you have something others deserve to hear, you’ll speak stronger and deliver more benefit. It’s all about the message and not about you. If they happen to like you, that’s just a bonus.”

These things are so true. When we focus on something that we don’t like about ourselves, we start to believe that everyone notices the same thing when it is likely that nobody does. When I was a freshman in high school, the dentist pulled my front four upper teeth and put in fake ones, they call it “an appliance”. It corrected an overbite that I thought was very unattractive.

Nobody knew I was getting my teeth pulled and the appliance was put in right after the teeth came out. I had pizza for supper that night. After the weekend, we had school and nobody said a word to me about my new teeth. But I knew, and I smiled more. Finally, one girl said, “Did you do something different, Melyn? Cut your hair?” She had no idea. And she’s the only one who said anything.

It was an awakening for me. Not everybody was as focused as I was on me. And it probably would have been a lot happier life before had I not been so focused on my bad points, too. So, give yourself a break. Everybody isn’t watching you when you walk in to the room. I promise. They aren’t. Everybody isn’t noticing that your clothes are kind of old or your shoes don’t match or that you don’t have on earrings. Honestly, people really don’t care.

But they do notice if you smile. And they notice if you talk to them.

So maybe those are the things we should be focusing on. Take a gander and think about your limiting beliefs. And be realistic.

And I’ll see you on the bricks!