I don’t claim to be a self-help guru. I do claim to help people express themselves well and be better communicators. But sometimes, the road to improving your communication or your language can seem impossible. And that’s where we turn to self-actualization and basically believing in yourself and believing in the process. I often find with students that it’s not the language that’s keeping them from progressing. It’s their confidence (or lack of confidence). And this gave me a thought.
There’s an often used expression, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’ which generally refers to not believing something will really happen until we see it with our own eyes. An example of this notion could be when asked about an upcoming vacation trip to Hawaii, someone responds by saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it. When I’m actually on the plane, I’ll know that it’s really happening.”
But what if we were to switch the order of the words to this expression? I’ll see it when I believe it. To me, this makes a lot of sense. If you don’t think achieving something is possible, chances are that you won’t achieve it. Now think of the converse statement- if you believe it’s possible, then you can actually visualize achieving it. And only then can you set realistic goals and a plan for making it happen and be on your way.
Relating this to the goal of breaking a language barrier or becoming a better public speaker, I see it as a switch you need to make. One student told me when I met him that he had a block against English- some kind of learning difficulty, which kept him from being able to speak the language. The more we met, discussed, read, reviewed song lyrics, watched films- all in English, the more he was able to express himself in English. He then told me that I helped him break down the wall that was keeping him from English. The truth is that I didn’t break down the wall. He did. He did it by talking about his English goals, believing that it was possible, visualizing himself speaking English, and then working to make it happen, jumping right in and speaking.
I was working with another student, an actress, who had an audition for an English language feature film and wanted to make sure she had a good grasp of the scene and pronunciation of the lines. When we first took a look at the scene’s script, she said, “oh, I can’t do this in English.” We visualized her in the role, speaking in English, pronouncing each word clearly and with her interpretation of the character, and then we jumped into it. We practiced and practiced until she felt comfortable with the lines. And then I reminded her that she had originally said she couldn’t do it. And we laughed. I want to tell you that she got the part, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that she believed it, saw it, and did it . As for the casting of the role, we’ll have to wait and see. What is important here is that she is now taking the steps to believe in, visualize, and then prepare for her breakthrough to an international career.
Whatever your career, once you believe it’s possible, which I know is often the hardest part, you can then see it and then make it happen.