This quote caught my attention when I was taking a course in a classroom at the School of Visual Arts, decades ago. Every now and then, it pops up and pulls me forward with its wisdom. Just like a few days ago …

I was given a role to share a feedback with a speaker in my Toastmasters Club meeting. She is a veteran speaker — she’s been in Toastmasters for a few years, has completed several speech manuals to polish the communication skills, and has competed in several speech contests. She has also shown leadership skills in action; she was the President of a club, an Area Director, and a mentor.  If you are a Toastmaster and familiar with the many roles in this organization, I would say she had done 90% of those roles. Despite all her achievements, there’s one thing that seems to slow down her push toward greatness.

During the feedback session, I was given a chance to challenge her to improve her future speaking assignment. “What do you suspect I’d challenge you with?” I asked.  She immediately responded, “To get off my notes.”  She knew well, I had shared this feedback with her, a few times actually.  Nothing is wrong with having notes while speaking.  In this case, though, the notes tricked her confidence. It made her depend on them. She was cruising smoothly through her speech until she looked at her notes – a security blanket she didn’t need.  She became jittery because she lost her footing on the notes.

My observation of the above experience brought me to my own experience as I’m processing the healing progress of the broken bone in my left foot (I shared the story in a previous post).  The pain level is almost zero.  The X-ray has shown the broken line is almost unnoticeable. Yet, several times I caught myself leaning more on my right foot when walking, as if I’m reluctant to push the injured foot to walk normal. I compensate for it. For four weeks I was walking with a secure boot that comfortably cushioned my broken foot.  Four weeks were enough to make my ankle stiff, my foot lazy, and my mind hang on to the idea that it’s still injured. I was unconsciously leaning on the right one when walking, even though the pain on the left one was basically gone.

After being cradled in a boot for four weeks, not only the muscles in my left foot became lazy, my mind muscle atrophied as well.  The cells in my body seem to be hypnotized by the comfort and surrendered to the idea that the left foot is disabled. That’s all it took, four weeks!  Quite insightful to realize what my mind has done to my whole being, what my broken foot has allowed it to do.  It kept sending the message, “Don’t push me, I’m in a very comfortable position, I’m good here.”  For that, I settle for walking with a slight limp.  I’m already walking without boot and crutches, that’s good enough to not try harder to be better.  What an inspiring revelation!

I’m now training my foot through some exercises to wake the muscles up from hibernation. The speed to a full recovery depends on my willingness to be challenged, to push harder and not give in.  It’s a little uncomfortable, I have some soreness at the end of day, but I know this is healthy sore.  I know my foot is on its way to being great again, the muscles will be flexible again. I shouldn’t settle to be just good, neither should my friend.  She needs to trust her ability and experience that she can speak as greatly, even more freely, without her notes.  Self-doubt can dress up in fancy emotional crutches, and they’re quite convincing too.

Do we easily settle to just be good and not work harder to be great? Are we aware what self-doubt can do to our being?  Share your thought …

#insightfulexperience #personalrevelation #goodtogreat #livingyourinspiredlife #ingemaskun