Fighting Fear with Persistence & Practice

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” -Napoleon Hill

In the personal development space, we’re surrounded with quotes and memes about never giving up… that failure is part of the path to success.  While I always find these notes of encouragement motivating, I sometimes forget how this applies to individual situations in my life.  It wasn’t until a recent conversation with my husband, where we talked about how much more comfortable I have become with speaking in front of groups, that I realized just how important this concept of persistence really is when it comes to pursuing your big goals.

When Samantha and I first started Pace Success Coaching, we hosted several live workshops to get off the ground.  Whenever it was my turn to speak, my nerves would get so strong that I would lose my breath and sometimes end up reading directly from my notes, never taking my eyes off the page.  I would practice and memorize my outline, but without fail, my hands and voice would shake on and off throughout the presentation.

My public speaking challenges actually surprised me, because I dabbled in acting growing up and I had never struggled with stage fright in my life.  I also remember being incredibly comfortable in my debate classes in high school and college.  But the difference between acting, debating an issue, and speaking for Pace – in the latter, I am being ME.

After further self-reflection, I came to the realization that the nerves were not coming from speaking to others in public, but from being my authentic self in public and worrying what people in the audience think of me.  At the time, I had just started doing this – I was no Jack Canfield, or Tony Robbins, or Marie Forleo – wouldn’t people listening be judging me?

I worried that I would never get past this hurdle of feeling not good enough and then the nerves showing up.  But every time I re-evaluated my passions, I knew that deep down, I still really wanted to speak and train others.  Despite the struggles, I loved leading the workshops.

So, I decided that for every speaking engagement, I would intentionally focus on doing all I could to make an impact on the lives of others, over focusing on how they were evaluating me as a speaker.  And then I resolved to myself that I would never turn down a speaking opportunity or avoid scheduling another workshop due to fear and discomfort.

I would commit myself to practicing and persisting through the fear.

This summer, my speaking engagements steadily increased and in the last seminar I led, I realized halfway through that I felt completely comfortable, calm and my breathing was strong.  It dawned on me how much progress I’ve actually made compared to where I started.  I still tend to get nervous when I share my personal stories, but now that I am consciously aware of how I’ve improved, I believe wholeheartedly that all of my nervous habits will diminish as I get more and more experience.  

I have since printed this quote out and posted it on my bulletin board in my office:

“Everyone who got to where they are, started where they were.”

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by how far I still have to go to get to where I want to be, I read this quote. It’s incredibly powerful when you soak it in.

The more I experience this personally, the more convinced I am that the willingness to fail, to learn from mistakes and move forward, and to keep practicing even when it’s uncomfortable WILL result in growth.  All you have to do is commit yourself to persisting through the hurdles.

How have you noticed practiced persistence in order to create desired results in your life?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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