If it can happen to him…
Back in September 2015, I wrote a post about the winning speech at the 2015 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, given by Mohammed Quatani. His speech, The Power of Words, was touching, inspirational, funny, engaging, laser-focused, and above all, left the audience with the feeling that something BIG just happened.
If you read that last post, you’ll have seen that I briefly touched upon the fact that Mohammed was unable to speak until age 6, and then afterward suffered from a debilitating stuttering problem that resulted in ridicule and social isolation.
And yet, look how it all turned out.
If you ever feel that you can’t overcome your fear of public speaking, that you don’t want to deal with the feelings of nervousness, anxiety or panic when facing an audience (no matter how large or small), or maybe that you’re fine when you speak to people one-on-one but you buckle under the immense pressure of speaking to a group of people, or you don’t want to mess up and look like an idiot in front of so many people, or that you’re just, I don’t know, “different,” and public speaking may just not be your thing and you’ll NEVER be good at it so why even try…
Then watch this video:
Look, I’m not doing one of those “If he can do it, so can you” things (and if you read my article in the Huffington Post on Three Things You Should Never Say to An Audience, you’ll know that this expression is one of my HUGE pet peeves). Everyone has their own unique life experience, filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past to create the situation you’re in now, what matters is how you’re going to deal with it now.
You need only watch the short video to know that Mohammed had it hard growing up. But he didn’t let it stop him. And from humble beginnings as someone who was ridiculed and mocked every time he opened his mouth to speak, he is now at the very top of his game, rising above 30,000 contestants to take this prestigious title in the finals of the world’s largest public speaking contest.
So what’s the story that’s holding you back, and how can you move past it?
Or maybe the better question is: What new story can you create, so that one year from now, you can look back and know that, in fact, something BIG just happened.