My mother tongue is Finnish and it was my major at the University of Helsinki, I have worked as a copywriter and writer and used to be quite a ”kielipoliisi” (the nicer version of the two words we have in Finnish meaning grammar Nazi) in my own mother tongue. So of course my ego thinks it’s embarrassing that my written English sucks so much.
But then I saw this video from Jimmy Kimmel Live show.
Jimmy Kimmel interviews two Finnish guys in the audience, making fun of their short answers and Finnish communication styles. And don’t get me wrong – the video is hilarious, more than laughing at them he’s laughing with them, and the whole clip is funny and entertaining. What was not so funny were the Youtube comments from other Finnish fellows. ”Learn to speak English! You’re embarrassing us all!” was the tone of many of the messages.
This reminded me about an article written by my friend, Madventures adventurer and journalist Riku Rantala. He wrote in his article, that our biggest obstacle in internationalization is our own shame about not speaking perfect English. He also reminded the readers that world’s most common language is broken English and he encourages people to talk and express themselves, even though it might sound broken.
I would expand his observation and claim that our biggest obstacle in making our dreams come true is our own shame of not being perfect in what we are about to do.
One of my dreams is to share with the world what I have learned in my path towards new, brighter and bolder me. But one big obstacle in a way is that I can not speak or write perfect English! What am I afraid of? Comments like these two sympathetic fellows got? But why should I overall care what other people think of me or my language skills?
If I think about my problem from the universal broken English perspective, where most of the leaders, head of states, politicians, philosophers or spiritual leaders do not speak native English, it should not be such a big deal. But “old me” did care. She was afraid of losing her face, afraid of showing her weak spots.
New me should definitely think quite the opposite: by letting the world know about my weaknesses I let other people to be weak too. Like these two Finnish guys: they showed me they dare to be interviewed in international TV show (well they didn’t seem to have that much of a choice but sure they let the production company to publish the video) and now I dare to write this blog post!
(For you, this may seem to be a blog post about nonsense. For me, this is a huge step. My first blog post in English, where I share my learnings how to be new me without being afraid of what you or other people think of me.)
Speaking broken English or any other obstacle we meet in our way should not stop us going towards our dreams. We can go round the obstacles, climb over them or just go straight through the wall. But we should never abandon our dreams because we have obstacles on our way. There will always be obstacles on the way!
New me loves this phrase! This and other wisdoms can be learned from an online course, ”Change Your Life” with Portuguese Master Coach, Trainer and Author, Daniel Sá Nogueira. He certainly doesn’t let his quirky Portuguese accent get in the way of working with thousands of people every year and helping their dreams come true.
Speaking of accents, did you know that this girl is Finnish too:
Do you think she cared what other people think when she was posting a video where she was pretending to speak languages she doesn’t really know? At least she cared more about her own creativity, own dreams and her own passion to share that with the world. And now she has now more than 10 million views in Youtube and hundreds of offers in her table from multiple agencies, brands and record companies around the world that want to work with her.
So, as a conclusion: embarrassing is not my imperfect English. Embarrassing would have been if that was the reason not to publish this post.