For all of my childhood and the majority of my 20s and 30s, there were three things that I disliked doing: reading, writing and public speaking. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do any of them; it’s just that there was no enjoyment in it for me. Obviously, they all served a purpose which was to learn and exceed in, not only my education, but also in my career and business.
Why I Disliked Reading
There wasn’t too much that I read that was of interest to me. I don’t recall reading anything for pleasure when I was a kid, nor do I recall being encouraged to do so. In school I read books to pass classes, earn my diploma and earn my degree. In my career, I read books, manuals, contracts, policies, guidelines and procedures to be great at my job and to be promoted and earn certifications in my field. Insurance, taxes, contracts and federal regulations are all dry reading materials which are not interesting, yet they are necessary to do the work and excel at it. I did (and still do) research a lot on my own about various topics that many have an opinion on. I feel the need to do my own research because I don’t believe everything people say, which makes researching a little fun.
Reading: How Will I Like This?
I regarded reading as a daunting task. When I got older and started hearing family, friends and co-workers talk about books they’ve read and how they enjoyed them, my curiosity peaked. “There are books I can read for pleasure,” I asked in disbelief. When I turned forty, I decided to read a book for pleasure. That’s it! Let me choose what I want to read at my leisure. Where do I begin? What do I like? What genre?
My first book was given to me by a friend who knew I was getting my hair braided for the first time. She gave me a book and a bag of snacks ☺…a necessary survival kit when you plan on sitting in a salon chair for multiple hours. I remember reading almost the entire book during that time—all but the last 100 pages. It was awesome! I finished reading it within the next two days. I actually read my first book for pleasure and was hooked! I purchased a couple more books and asked my friend about book suggestions. I was reading more when I started traveling a lot for business. I joined book clubs for accountability and explored more genres.
During the pandemic, I’ve learned about audiobooks and my book interests have increased significantly! Instead of listening to or watching nonsense on television, I listen to audiobooks while working. I also listen while walking. I like reading (and listening) to books now.
Why I Disliked Writing
I guess you can say reading and writing pretty much pair together. If you’re writing, you’re going to have to read it. Read what you’ve written so that you know it makes sense, flows easily and is correct. Again, another daunting task that is a necessity for school, career and business. I will never get away from writing when it comes to career fields that I have chosen since I have to document my findings, thought processes and conclusions.
I’ve always said, I would not be a good secretary or administrative assistant because if you want me to write a “quick” memo or an e-mail, it will take me an hour to do a 5-minute task. I get writing anxiety when I have to write something from scratch. Why? Because I’m not comfortable with it even though I’ve been doing it for years. I know how to write. It just takes me a while to process my thoughts and put them on paper. I tend to overthink a lot and my thoughts are all over the place.
Writing: How Will I Like This?
Make it easy. Work smarter, not harder. For work and business, I’ve created and utilized templates for reports I frequently prepare which have similarities. Again, nothing I enjoy doing; however, it is necessary to pay the bills.
Why not write for leisure? Will that make it better? I decided to start writing about some things I like. Then that became a task for some reason. I started writing more reviews online about places I visited—be it a good review or bad review. Should be simple, right? It wasn’t at first. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes to write down thoughts that should’ve taken no more than five minutes. I’ve started writing detailed reviews on books I’ve read, which I’m getting better at. Journaling my thoughts will be a good idea as well as blogging. Why not? Write about my experiences in life. Jot down what’s going on in my life at that moment. Write about the crazy things my grandson says and does. That should be easy, right? It’s a work in progress. However, I do like it. It’s probably going to take me a month to write this tiny blog, but I can only get better the more I do it! I’m starting to like writing more each day.
Why I Disliked Public Speaking
This one baffles me because I am a social butterfly. However, I never was as a kid. I’m that person that will smile and greet an individual or group of people whether I know them or not. I rarely initiate a conversation with a stranger, but I will at least greet them. To me, it’s an act of kindness and respect, especially if you’ve made eye contact. It’s what I do! Now, if it’s on an airplane … I’m a little (well a lot) hesitant. I don’t like close-talkers. Respect my personal space.
In grade school I disliked doing speeches, even the little Easter speeches in Church. In college I was encouraged to smile and use body movement to ease my anxiety of speaking in front of people. This slightly helps to calm my nerves. In my career, I’ve conducted many training sessions and presentations, and I still get nervous. Most of the time I know my audience, so I don’t know what makes me nervous and irritated when asked to present. Again, presenting is something I did and continue to do because it’s a necessity in what I do for a living.
Public Speaking: How Will I Like This?
Practice, practice, practice! This will become second nature to me. I have joined not one, but two, Toastmasters groups. Toastmasters is a group where you practice public speaking, improve your communication, and build leadership skills. In this day and age, I can take advantage of recording myself and practicing beforehand. Make it a point to create short videos of myself speaking on something I’m passionate about that is 1 to 2 minutes long. Volunteer to do more presentations, whether it be for fun or work. I’ve already hosted a few Zoom presentations where I did a cooking demonstration and virtual game nights. Next, I will try product reviews on YouTube. Why not? I will excel in the public speaking arena and enjoy it!
I know there are more things that I dislike and would like to learn how to like them. But for now, I will focus on these three: reading, writing and public speaking. These are my money makers and changing these dislikes to likes can only make me better!