Contributor: Alison Beierlein, Drop the Mic Agency Owner
When you set your sights on becoming a professional speaker, without the right tools, training, and support, you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle.
Instead of taking the scene by storm and crushing it on stage with paid speaking gig after speaking gig, it’s possible that you’re having trouble getting booked at all.
But this does NOT have to be your story. Make it simpler on yourself!
By following these steps, you can increase your resilience and confidence to build up your momentum as a paid speaker.
1) Learn to love failures
The truth is, if you want to become a professional speaker you’re going to have to put yourself out there. You know, venture out of your comfort zone. This can be hard, especially if you’re not able to handle a few “no’s” or rejections.
Take this in stride by cultivating a macro-lens focus on the BIG PICTURE. Samuel Becket’s famous quote can become your new mantra: “Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” You will never get to a “yes” if you don’t try. Simply accept the fact that if you’re not failing on at least a semi-regular basis, you’re playing too small.
2) Take 5 minutes to deeply feel, then refocus and move on
It’s no secret that bottling up emotion is not a healthy way of handling situations. As soulful leaders, it’s important to acknowledge and honour our emotions. If you’ve been confronted with a truly disappointing outcome, set a timer and give yourself 5 minutes to deeply feel the emotions. When the timer goes off after 5 minutes, consciously change your focus and move on.
3) Ask for constructive feedback
Sometimes we can find peace in gaining clarity. Ask for insights as to why things didn’t go as planned. It may help give some perspective. Perhaps the situation had nothing to do with you personally! But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
4) Change your scenery
Take some time to remove yourself from your current environment.
Go outside, go for a drive, get some fresh air, connect with nature. Doing all or any of these things will help clear your thoughts, regroup and set the stage for you to rebuild your confidence, energy and courage to continue moving forward.
5) Make notes of your lessons learned and how you can improve next time
Let’s get really strategic here. Whether you journal or you like to create spreadsheets, it doesn’t really matter. Even just going through the thought process of this exercise will benefit you and get you into a more positive mindset.
Make some notes, do a bit of a brain-dump around all of the reasons you didn’t get the result you desired. There might be one or two reasons, but maybe there are 10 contributing factors that led to your outcome.
Regardless, if you go through the process of writing down this list and then take it a step further by thinking about how you could improve the next time around, you’ll get your creative juices flowing and get your mind working FOR you.
6) Use visualization to help you get back up on your feet
In Lisa Nichols’ book Abundance Now, she writes extensively about the power of this cognitive dissonance and our ability to try to actively close the gap between our reality and our perceived reality attained through visualization.
The more we study and learn about the way our minds work, the more we can take advantage of this knowledge. It is now known, that our minds sometimes can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination and you can use this to your advantage.
When using visualization of your desired outcome, with time, your mind will start to believe this to be your truth.
7) Immediately seek a new or similar opportunity
If you let your feelings of self doubt or failure set in, your human nature will start to work against you. In psychology, the recency effect states that experiences that are the most recent, will be remembered best.
So even if you have had a string of positive outcomes, and then end with a bad one, if you don’t get right back out there, this last one can start to dis-proportionately impact your perception of your overall success.
Don’t let a recent negative outcome hold you back. Move past it and know that there are other opportunities available to you if you’re willing to pursue them.
8) Create a concrete plan on how to handle eventual hurdles
World famous swimmer Michael Phelps didn’t become the most decorated Olympian of all time by chance. One method he used to rise to the top was the practice of analyzing possible outcomes and proactively creating contingency plans to deal with them. Then he rehearsed these plans until his behaviour in those situations became automatic.
You can do this too by brainstorming all the possible things that could get in your way of you achieving your goal and then coming up with solutions ahead of time.
Once we put our fears on paper and rationalize a solution ahead of time (instead of in the moment when we’re panicking), we are able to put it into perspective.
9) Come back to your purpose and let your “why” be your guide
If you’re struggling to see the point of it all, one sure-fire way to help get you back on track is to have a strong connection with “why” you are doing all of this anyway.
Why is achieving this goal important to you?
I highly recommend reading Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. I know that this seems to be a bit of a buzz word these days, but it’s because it’s so powerful. When you’re connected deeply with your greater purpose, you’re more likely to be able to push through the hard stuff and persevere.
10) Focus on the next few baby steps you can take that will bring you closer to your goals
No matter what, don’t let the overwhelm of the magnitude of what you’re trying to accomplish hold you back.
Simply break your goals down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. This way, you can work through your steps without getting stressed out and overwhelmed.