This week I gave my 10th speech in Toastmasters, completing the Competent Communicator manual and achieving my CC certification. After being a regular member of Toastmasters for over a year-and-a-half I have become an accomplished speaker. Even still, when it came time to give my 10th speech I was woefully nervous and felt under-prepared.
As sometimes happens in life other things got in the way of my preparations, and I saved the most challenging speech for last. I thought about backing out at the last minute, postponing my speech so I could do a better job but I knew that was just the fear talking. I was afraid of making a fool of myself in front of my club giving my 10th speech. I was afraid of stumbling over my words. I was afraid of failing but I didn’t let it stop me from accomplishing something great- giving my 10th speech and becoming a Competent Communicator.
I found the courage to overcome my fear of failure from the regular encouragement and motivation I get from my fellow Toastmasters, from getting up in front of my club every week, from acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses and building on them, and from a speech given by another Toastmaster.
Recently a fellow Toastmaster, Matthew Britt, gave a speech on failure. He talked about giving up the things that aren’t right for you and moving on to things that are. What really stuck with me was his suggestion to fail fast. Fail fast, fail often, until you’re not afraid of failing anymore- until failure is not failure.
Fail fast, fail often, until you’re not afraid of failing anymore- until failure is not failure.
I thought of these words as I prepared to give my 10th speech. There is no failure but failure to try. I couldn’t fail in Toastmasters. Every time I perform a meeting role and every time I give a speech is a step forward. I learn from every experience. I get better just by trying.
How to overcome fear of failure
Photo credit alamosbasement
Join the club
Find a group, such as Toastmasters, of people with similar goals. The support, encouragement, and motivation of the group will help you face your fears.
Do what you’re afraid to do
The only way to get better, to grow, is to practice. Get out there and do it!
Keep at it
Keep trying, keep learning, keep growing. The more you do what you’re afraid to do, the easier it will be to do it.
Celebrate your accomplishments
You’re making great strides, even if you haven’t yet reached your goal. Stop and enjoy what you’ve accomplished!