We are all aware that New Year’s Resolutions are not very helpful, at least for the long run.
Instead, for the last few years I have been choosing one word as a focal point for my personal growth for the year. Then I realized that setting a time frame is a bit restrictive as well, so have actually changed my word as the year went along.
I still like to choose a word to start the new year. Though the timeline is artificial, I find benefit in taking stock of the past year(s) and pondering my goals for growth for the upcoming year-ish.
Last Monday I was reminded of a method for personal growth that I love.
Do one thing that scares you, every day.
At our Toastmasters meeting a young lady who is/was petrified of public speaking gave her first speech since joining our club. She nailed it, really nailed it. It was obvious that she put in a lot of effort over the previous weeks because, let’s face it–breaking through the rock of petrification takes WORK. She spoke of her journey with guts, insight and humor, and was terribly inspirational.
Then another club member shared how at the holiday party he spoke in front everyone in the company where he is a founder and leader–comfortably and mindfully for the first time. Knowing him for the past 16 months at Toastmasters I believe he was also quite eloquent.
Their accomplishments are great examples of that inspirational maxim I heard long ago, and forget about most of the time.
The one scary thing we do can be big like giving your first speech. Or small like tasting oysters. To me it’s about getting outside of our standard practices, stepping out of our ruts. Studies show that doing things differently also contributes to our physical, mental, and emotional health and longevity.
We human beings have tremendous capacity for growth, however it takes time and effort. I often try something new and discard it if I am not instantly successful. But self-confidence, self-esteem and growth come from resolve, fortitude and practice. I bet that the young lady mentioned above had a lot of scary moments as she prepared to deliver her speech. I have had the satisfaction of seeing the business owner work and grow for more than a year. They both committed to change and worked through their fears with small steps that are adding up to big changes.
Each of us is unique, and so are our fears. For me at Toastmasters it’s scary to stand up in front of the room and pause. Yup, not doing anything is what scares me most. So I prattle on quickly, or scoot off the stage. Even more challenging is to take a deep breath while I collect my thoughts. Last Monday when it was my turn to speak, I did stand quietly for a few seconds (that seemed like hours). I am sure my different action was inspired by my colleagues and am grateful to them.
So this year, in addition to choosing a word for the year I am also resolving to do one thing that scares me, every day.
Fear of public speaking is the #2 fear in America, right after dying, so it’s easy to quantify. As I think about trying to find 365 things that I want to do differently in the coming year, it’s a bit daunting. Like much of life, I will take it one day, one scary moment, at a time. And remember that most fears are False Expectations Appearing Real.
What scares you? Do you want to join me doing one thing differently each day?
Please let us know by commenting below!