It’s important to accept ourselves as we are. It is. Yes, we’re good enough as we are.
But sometimes we can use the idea of “good enough” as an excuse for not pushing ourselves to try something different.
I’m not talking about something extreme like white-water rafting or tandem parachute jumping or bungee jumping. It’s not just about facing physical danger.
I’m talking about little things.
For me, who had often given speeches and presentations using notes, it was giving a speech without notes for very first time. The relief and joy I felt was palpable to everyone around me.
For some, it might be walking an hour and half to a destination you’d normally get to by car or public transit. When we travel, we never think twice about walking for an hour or two. Might the neighbourhoods you’ve ignored so often as you passed by suddenly come alive with colour and sound?
For some, it might be finding a restaurant where the “locals” eat, where you don’t recognize a single thing on the menu. You look over at the next table and say to your waiter, “I’ll have whatever they’re having.” Might you suddenly find adventure in the city you’ve lived in your whole life?
For everyone, it can be about making a list of all the routine things we do and asking ourselves, “Why do I always do things the same way? What would happen if I were to do somethings differently?” How might I feel?
That’s what my advanced speakers of English as a Second Language or English as a Common Language face when they come to me for coaching. They’ve usually done fine with their English as it is. And yet, they’ve decided to challenge themselves to do more.
Sometimes it’s to make their pronunciation just a little clearer. Sometimes it’s to take their language abilities to a new level of sophistication. Sometimes it’s to add energy and emotion to their communication skills. They know change won’t come overnight, but they make the commitment to work at it. The excitement they feel as they change and grow feeds them, as does the thrill when other people notice.
Change isn’t easy. Sometimes it comes in a flash. More often, it comes slowly. I admire and applaud their spirit and determination.
There are things that all of us have done throughout our lives that we’ve never questioned because the answers could make us uncomfortable.
It’s unnerving to do things differently when we’ve been comfortable doing them the same way for so long. It’s so much easier to stay in one place with a minimum of stress and no risk – where the outcome is certain.
It’s hard to change. It takes courage. It takes stepping out of the comfort zone.
But oh … the rewards …
Your thoughts are always most welcome.
Don’t forget to check out this week’s One-Minute Words on The Canadian Pronunciation Coach channel.