There have been a few times after speaking engagements where a person will come up to me and say, “You’re so naturally talented, I could never do that.” Or I’ll hear “you have such a talent.” Other times I’ve heard, “I was never a good writer, I could never write a book.” I’m grateful and honored for those words because I know people’s intention is to be kind and complimentary so I simply respond with, “Thank you”, but I will tell you this- I’m no where near  a “natural” speaker or writer.

Every speech I ever did in high school I read directly off a Powerpoint or a notecard- I didn’t care if that meant I would get a “B” on the presentation, I hated speaking in front of my peers. The first ever corporate speaking engagement I did I was minutes away from backing out of it. I had an email drafted to tell them that they should find someone else. The first 100 times I practiced that presentation- it was terrible. I stumbled over words, couldn’t connect thoughts, and would stop mid-presentation and get angry with it. When writing my first book, I likely wrote enough content to publish ten books. I have since probably wrote another five while writing my second book.

What often looks like talent, natural ability, or a gift to many was likely preceded by fear, doubt, and insecurity. It was preceded by many late nights and early mornings. I’m not here to tell you talent isn’t real to an extent, it is. Some people do possess attributes that give them more opportunity or potential to excel in certain lines of work, professions, or activities. Talent and natural ability only get you so far, however, before hard work, sacrifice, and persistence begin to truly take over and carry you toward your biggest aspirations!

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