When I first realised I wanted to be a professional speaker, I had no clue where to start. I was inspired by the great talks of successful people and I wanted to spread the message of hope, encouragement and self-belief myself. I had a great life story to share with the world (my transition from poverty in Ukraine to building my life in the USA, the land of opportunities) and I knew it would inspire many to pursue their dreams.
That dream for speaking has been within me since I was a girl of 12. I remember reading “The Art of Public Speaking” by Dale Carnegie in Russian translation. I absolutely loved the content of the book. While reading it, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could speak with such confidence and ease and be able to influence people for positive change.” The idea was uplifting but it was so far-fetched from the reality I lived in. There were no professional speakers in Ukraine.
Little did I know at that time that later in my life I would become a professional speaker myself.
As Steve Jobs wisely said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. But the dots will always connect for you.”
But there was a journey, as you can imagine…
When I got the opportunity to present my speech for the first time at Toastmasters in the USA, I realised that my dream turned out to be everyone’s nightmare! I was absolutely rubbish!
When you try something for the first time, no matter how passionate you are about it, you are going to fail.
I failed miserably. Thankfully, the people in that club were sympathetic towards me; they did not give me any feedback, they just complemented my courage.
I knew I had a long way to go in order to become good. It is not enough just to have something to say. You need to have something to say that people would want to listen to. And that takes personal growth and refinement.
One of the best decisions I made that has improved my life was hiring mentors. People who help me expand my potential and grow in my strengths zone.
You see, you can’t see the picture when you are the one in the frame. You need someone from the outside to see that picture for you and guide you towards your success whatever that looks like for you.
It is easy to compare yourself with someone who is much further down the path, and get discouraged by where you are.
I like how my speaking mentor, Roddy Galbraith, makes an analogy of a fine tailor made woollen suit and a dirty wool that has just been shaved off of the sheep. You can’t compare these two things.
Just like you can’t compare yourself with someone who is more successful, because all you see is a beautiful woollen suit, which is the finished result, the end product. While your situation is like a bag of dirty wool — especially when you are starting something new. And in order for you to get to the end product, you need to be willing to clean it up, to spin in, and turn it into a fabric and then eventually end up with a beautiful hand made woollen suit.
And it takes process. Now, you can get to the finished result by yourself, but it’s usually more challenging and it takes longer. But if you have a mentor, the process is more enjoyable and faster. Your mentor sees that bigger picture for you; your mentor sees your true potential.
Most people look at their results and they mistakenly think that those represent their potential. But in fact, their results represent their current awareness of their potential. And a mentor’s job is to help you to expand and live into your power.
Your mentor will help you refine your talents and skills.
I really enjoy my mentorship time with Roddy. When I am working on a speech and trying to find great stories that educate, entertain, bring insights and aha moments, I love how he helps me to get to the meaningful substance within the raw material.
When I look at my stories, something that happened to me, they are like raw material or dirty wool. And usually, they are not that interesting for the audience to hear (even though they might bear significance in my life). Just like the process of cleaning the dirty wool, spinning it, and refining it into a quality material is required for a beautiful woollen suit to be made; turning a raw material of an event into a captivating story and linking it to a powerful point is required for an inspirational speech.
Many times, I am amazed with the points and insights I am able to come up with Roddy’s guidance. His curiosity-driven open questions unlock my imagination and make me think. The process of refining the raw material becomes truly rewarding. I know it is a safe environment and I am not afraid to make mistakes or say something silly. And that’s how I become better.
My decision to invest in my mentorship has brought me exponential growth in every area of my life.
I heavily invest in myself. I know if I want to inspire others to transform their lives, I have to be willing to transform myself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Now, I help women develop self-confidence within them through the transformational power of coaching. I help them become aware and embrace their potential and start taking actions despite fears. I truly believe that every woman deserves to live to her fullest potential, be happy and loved. I am convinced, you can have it all!
And it starts with developing self-confidence. If you believe in yourself, you always win. You don’t waver in the face of problems, you are not afraid to take risks and exit comfort zone, you don’t get easily offended when someone says something about you, and you always come from the place of abundance.
One of my favourite quotes from the unknown resource is “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings”
It applies to all spheres in your life.
Whatever your path in life is, I encourage investing in yourself. Hire a mentor or a coach, who will be able to see that big picture for you and will guide you towards it.
What decision can you make today that will transform your entire life?