How come no one is noticing my superstardom?

When I first started going to Toastmasters to work on my public speaking, I’d get the “Most Improved” award all the time. Now? Nada.

It’s because I’ve got the group fooled. It’s harder for them to see my struggle so they don’t notice my growth. They’ve forgotten how awkward I was at first. (Yeah, so um, thank goodness, ’cuz um, it was ah, embarrassing.)

When I evaluate how I’ve done each week, it’s hard to see the improvement. But, when I compare my skills from even just one year ago, I know I’ve progressed massively.

Did you start something new on Jan 1 and see a big difference at first? Wondering why no one is noticing your improvement now? Maybe it’s because you made it past that initial awkward phase. Congratulations. This week’s tip will help you get to the next stage.

Yvonne

Better today than yesterday.

Doing little things will add up to make a big impact. The small actions, the tweaks, and the constant improvements, all compound over time. Inch by inch, they become a mile.

Since those tweaks are small, they can be easily overlooked. To help keep progressing, we should check in regularly with ourselves, to make sure we are not stuck unconsciously doing things the same way as always. We can only improve when we shake things up, evaluate, and deliberately question our actions.

Here are four ways to know where and how to improve...

  1. Regular evaluation. Ask “what if” questions, be curious, explore, and make mistakes. Set benchmarks to measure against. Create mini-goals to hit and timeframes to consider progress. And always revisit the reason you want to improve – it will keep you on track.
  2. Ask around. Check in with a mentor, coach or unbiased friend, someone who can give you an outside perspective and a fresh point of view. And sometimes, with the right questioning, great insight can come from strangers. Keep an open mind.
  3. Constant learning. It’s not just about increasing knowledge and skill. It’s also about getting a better understanding of who we are, and who we want to be. We change over time so we can’t assume we always know ourselves fully in all areas.
  4. Teach. If you think you’ve grasped something, try teaching it to someone else. It forces you to break it down and reconstruct it. You’ll need to examine details that you’ve been taking for granted.

Take action: At the end of each day, think of one thing that wasn’t great that you can do better, and why you want to. If you can’t think of why, than maybe eliminating it is your improvement. Or for something a little more challenging, think of one thing that went really well, that you can still improve, and why.

:: Inspired by Nigel Collin’s book, The Game of Inches: Why Small Change Wins Big Results.