I am not good at public speaking.
It doesn’t matter how much I prepare, how knowledgable I am on a subject, or who I’m talking to. If I have to stand up in front of a group of people and present anything, either spontaneously or after hours of practice, I am, and possibly always will be, bad at it.
This used to haunt and disappoint me. I’d stand in front of a mirror after practicing my speech for a class in high school and ask myself, out loud, “Why can’t you just be good at this?”
There were times this weakness has made me feel like I’m not really good at anything at all.
But the truth is, everyone has at least one thing they hopelessly fail at time and again. The same way we all have at least one thing we somehow manage to excel at, even when we’re not fully confident we’ll be able to.
Everyone is good at something.
Everyone loves at least one thing so much that they’re willing to study and practice it until they build up a skill set they’re proud of.
And do you want to hear something amazing? It doesn’t matter what that thing is. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a thing that can one day become a career, or if it’s always just something fun you can do in your free time. This thing you love, and what you’re good at? It’s what makes life worth celebrating.
You, like me, might not be able to give a presentation in front of a crowd without shaking uncontrollably, forgetting your main points, or feeling like you’re going to pass out right there at the podium.
But you might be really good at writing.
Or, at the very least, you love to write. And even if you’re not as good at it as you’d like to be right now, chances are, the fact that you love it will give you the motivation over time to get really, really good at it.
The reason I’m still not a good public speaker, and may never be, is because I don’t enjoy it. I have very little motivation to practice and improve, because even the idea of doing it makes my stomach hurt.
There was a time I wasn’t very good at writing, either. It’s how we all start out. But early on, I realized I really liked presenting my ideas in written form. And so I wrote all the time, in journals, for school assignments, on my parents’ old Windows computer that didn’t even have Internet access (oh, the ’90s).
So I got better. And then, at some point, I got good.
Even if writing isn’t your strength, it’s likely there’s a subject — cars, Star Wars, typewriters — you love so much that you’re willing to practice how to write better by writing about those things. Sometimes, it’s about taking something you’re passionate about and communicating that passion through words that helps you improve, and shows you it’s possible to do a really good job.
Never let yourself believe you’re not good at anything. Because there is something you’re good at. Whether it’s a hobby or a potential job, it matters. It’s what makes you YOU. Hold onto that. Be grateful for it. Never let it go.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.