We never know how good we are. Hear me out.
I subscribed myself to ToastMasters International at a local club in my neighborhood. I just had this desire to tear it up in public speaking. I wanted to get to a place, talk the talk, walk the walk, own it like there’s no tomorrow!
I don’t have social anxiety nor depression, I get a measurable amount of stress in front of big crowds, but nothing unnatural if we consider the number of times I performed publicly(too few). I would like to think that I am above average in public speaking. Personal conclusions? I should be handling myself real well here!
And so here I am, attending a meeting, doing my speeches feeling confident. Then we get our general evaluations. I get eliminated because my speech was under two minutes. I also get told I will need a mentor because I could really use it some pointers. I also realize that I am surrounded by people who have been practicing public speaking for months or years.
At that point it hits me, I am a raw unrefined jewel. I am light-years away from being a competent and trained spokesperson. And here I thought I had good speaking skills. So this is my point. I never compared my skills with experienced individuals. Sure, I saw or have been to job meetings where I could sense something unexplainable coming up from whoever was leading the meeting, but those were too few and wide to really get a sense of what my level was. It’s only when I got into an area of high competence that I realized that there was a lot of room to grow.
The moment we think were good, it’s over. So let’s stay sharp and on guard, let’s try not to slip into a comfort zone thinking were hot stuff, because that is precisely when we will dull our edge and stop progressing.