When you think about doing something new or changing something about your life or embarking on a new career or course or training, have you ever paid attention to that moment when you wonder whether it's the right thing to do and whether you'll be any good at it? I would imagine that it's quite a common, natural feeling, which helps us to weigh-up the pros and cons and make a decision that works for us in that moment. Now some people seem to relish the challenge and embrace change, others are more fearful and some just sit on the fence. And if we do commit to whatever it is, some of us commit fully, pushing through the barrier, some angst and worry about the decision and others retreat back to a safer, habitual place, because it's what we know.
I say this because I was the later of those types of people, who could feel my potential but when I thought about changing my voice and speech I experienced a crippling fear that initial stopped me from really committing to my desire to change. And I remember surfing the net one night looking for some sort of miracle, quick-fix solution and stumbled across an excerpt from a book by Marianne Williamson - author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, which said:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
And I was a real light bulb moment, when I remember thinking that I have to face the reality that it was the fear of who I knew I could be if I was able to transform my voice and speech and not the fear of my ability to change or the fear of change itself. And this one idea was the catalyst that I so desperately needed to enable me to commit once and for all and really go for my dream.
It was pretty terrifying to begin with and when I started to change my pronunciation I was wracked with self-consciousness, thinking that everyone could tell that I was a phoney and I would be found out, but strangely no one even noticed.
In fact I was coaching an Argentina woman who worked as a project manager and she was pronouncing every one her R's but in British English we only pronounce a written at if it's followed by a vowel sound, as in 'red' and 'rock' but not in 'weather' or 'matter'. As we worked on dropping some of her R's she seemed shocked but excited about this because it had such a transformative effect on her pronunciation. And a couple of weeks later in out next session she said how nervous she was about dropping the R's because she thought that people would think that she was trying to be someone that she wasn't and ridicule her for changing her accent but to her utter amazement she said that no one even noticed and in fact she felt her conversations with native English speakers were easier and more fluent!
And for me this strange phenomena is a bit like getting a completely new hair cut or wearing an item or colour of clothing that it very different for us, and when we first walk out of the hairdressers or shop, we often look around, worrying that people are looking at us, but of course no one does, it's just our own self consciousness and fear moving fully into change.
So if you’re sitting on the fence or sitting comfortably in a safe place, I want to dare you to find the resolve and motivation and self-belief to go for change and realise your inborn potential to be a clear and confident speaker.
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