I consider myself to be a confident person. I am accustomed to standing in front of a room full of people and speaking. In my work, I deliver training as well as work as cabin crew, so I am always communicating. However, put me in a social situation such as a party and suddenly I start to struggle. I ask myself “Has the cat got your tongue?” I am also involved in a network marketing business. It’s a great company and an amazing opportunity. All I have to do is talk to people about the services the company provides and share the opportunity to make money as a distributor. After six years I have the grand total of twenty- three customers. Hardly groundbreaking additional income. But why have I not made a success of it yet? So, I ask myself again, “Has the cat got your tongue?”
There are different suggestions as to the origin of the expression, such as relating to people’s tongues being fed to cats in ancient Egypt or the cat o’ nine tails being used in the Navy. According to the site www.phrases.org.uk there is no evidence to suggest either of these are true. Gary Martin writes that ‘The expression sounds as though it might be old but isn’t especially so. I can find no instances of it in print until the mid 19th century.’
Fear of Rejection and Taking Action
Regardless of the origin of “Has the cat got your tongue”, it is time for me to think about why I am like this? I suspect that it boils down to a fear of people saying no to me when I talk about the business. Even as I type this, I know how ridiculous that is. I have read so many books on personal development, learning that failure leads to success and that to get the yeses means going for the noes too. I am guilty of reading and reading but not actually walking the walk and talking the talk. I have written about procrastination before and it still is a nemesis for me. As I reflect on my youth, I realise that my social awkwardness stems from being bullied about my sexuality and people mimicking me in both my mannerisms and the sound of my voice. This made it very difficult for me to mingle at parties and other such social occasions. As I went through higher education, finally the bullying ceased, people started to believe in me and began to see me for who I am. As the years started to go by, I found my confidence growing and that I was not living on my nerves all the time. Still one area evaded me and that was the confidence to talk to men, particularly ones that I was attracted to. That all changed in 2006, when I started to go out on the clubbing scene, something I had rarely done before and never on my own. Just one year later I met my now civil partner and I am a very different person today, thanks to his belief in me.
So, what is holding me back still? I need to take action! The first thing I need to do is accept that when people are saying no, they are not rejecting me. They are simply not interested in the business as either a customer or distributor. Afterall, Thomas Edison took one thousand attempts to invent the lightbulb and how many of those exist in today’s world? It is time for me to face the fear and just get on with it.
Secondly, I clearly need to set some goals with time frames. My personal development reading has taught me that goals should be set in stone but the plans to achieve them set in sand. I know I have the skills to network effectively and in doing so I can learn by being around like-minded people, whatever their own goals are or what business they are in.
I have found writing this blog quite cathartic. Just by making myself scratch the surface, I have come to the realisation that holding onto the past is preventing me from going forward. Rejection is part of life but so is reward through the results of your efforts with all the rejections and failures thrown in.
About the author: Stuart Dickson