I still remember how nervous I was giving my first speech in my college level public speaking class in high school. My hands got sweaty, my breath picked up at a very rapid pace and I couldn't get my words out. Everything I said came out either jumbled, or didn't come out at all. What I thought would be a great experience which would teach me to finally be confident in the way I spoke English, turned out to be a disaster. I wasn't ready yet, because my mindset was not in the right place, and it wouldn't be for a long while.
When I first moved to the United States from Poland at the age of 15 years old, I did'n't speak English very well. I spoke enough to get me by in a convenience store or to ask for directions when I got lost wandering around the concrete jungle I now called home. But it wasn't enough to help me start school with my same aged peers. In fact, due to how little English I spoke, I was held back a year enrolling in high-school, to allow me to learn English in English as a Second Language classes.
When I started high school, I learned to speak English very quickly. In fact, I graduated from ESL classes within that first year. I was fluent in 6 months, and I self modified my accent within the next 2 years. Given my vulnerable age, I was so desperate to fit into my new home, that I wanted to sound exactly like my American friends. I didn't know at the time that I was doing it, but I was coaching myself on how to change my accent.
Changing my accent gave me the confidence to go to college and become active in the student body events. It gave me the courage to take on leadership roles I wouldn't have been willing to apply for otherwise. Leadership roles that changed the trajectory of my life.
In college I learned about speech-language pathology. I've never heard of it before, but pursuing this career would allow me to kill 2 birds with one stone. I could work with children with disabilities and I could help English learners like me to modify their accents. I was sold. I became a speech pathologist and an accent coach specializing in helping English learners to speak English with clarity and confidence.
But I have to admit, it wasn't until I addressed my own public speaking confidence issues, until I knew how to help my clients and students with their own. It took putting myself in multiple very vulnerable positions, such as becoming a resident assistant in college where I was required to conduct meetings and events with hundreds of students. Or starting my own business and hosting Facebook lives and networking with people from around the world. But the cherry on top for me, was starting my own podcast. Being in front of that microphone, interviewing incredible people, shifted my perception of what I was able to do, and allowed me to come out of my shell. It pushed me to strive towards greatness, and no longer hide due to the fear of someone judging my voice.
This is exactly why I created my Accent Edit Course. I want to help people like me, put themselves out there, grab their lives by the horns and allow their beautiful voices to make a change in this world, no matter where they're from. Because we all need the special gifts they have, and the way they communicate should never hold them back from sharing these gifts with the world.
To sign up for the Accent Edit Course, click on the link below. The doors to the program close on 1/21/21 at 11:59pm EST.