You must do the one thing you think you cannot.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
For those of you who I have yet had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, I speak Glenda-ish â€“ English with a unique accent due to my significant speech impairment, a result of my cerebral palsy.
Over the last forty-some years, my inability to easily communicate verbally with anyone anywhere has been more of a barrier, more of a disability than my inability to walk independently, and has resulted in frustration, isolation and missed interactions.
(Photo credit: Paul Merrill)
In recent years, with the advances in technology â€“ text-to-speech software, iPads and such â€“ verbal communication has become possible. Because of these technologies and opportunities that have presented themselves to me, I have had the pleasure of giving numerous presentations â€“ something I never imagined possible in my wildest dreams.
Now, I feel myself being magnetically drawn to My Second Most Unlikely Career Choice: a public speaker. (My first most unlikely career choice is a neurosurgeon.) The irony of this direction: terrifying yet exciting.
This past weekend, my husband Darrell and I attended SOBCon (a think tank for solopreneurs and small businesses) in Portland, Oregon. Founder Liz Strauss kicked off the conference by pointing out we were surrounded by people who wonâ€™t let us fail.
I definitely felt that. No matter who I shared my crazy idea with, they were all supportive of my intention to become a motivational speaker; they asked questions and offered insights, ideas and contacts.
Charlie Gilkey from Productive Flourishing did say that there would be challenges along the way. Yes, there will be. A few that quickly come to mind include: explaining to event organizers how someone with a significant speech impairment can deliver a presentation of high value, getting to the venues and up on stage (been there, done that!), and having the right words to deliver the best message that I can. However, those challenges (and countless others that will no doubt pop up along the way) are not insurmountable.
All weekend, not one person looked at my shaky jerkiness and my indecipherable speech and said, â€œAre you kidding me? Thereâ€™s no way you can do that.â€ Not one person.
Can you appreciate the mind bend I have been struggling with since getting home on Sunday night. I am putting plans in place to become the one thing that, until recently, I thought I could not. This is possible because of advances in technology and because I am surrounded by people â€“ both from SOBCon and elsewhere – who wonâ€™t let me fail.
What is the one thing you think you cannot do but are being urged to try? Can you identify people within your circle who will not let you fail? Or, who do you need to connect with to surround yourself with positive, supportive, creative-thinking people who want to see you succeed? What would that mean to you to accomplish the one thing you think you cannot?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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