There are so many factors that contribute to bringing about change in your life and help you grow but there is one simple practice that proves to be a big stepping stone.
That is to Speak up, to Speak your mind.
Imagine those times when you are sitting in your classroom or a seminar and you have a doubt. When it's time to ask the question, you don't because of the fear of being judged by the people around you. Imagine a discussion going on with your friends or colleagues and you do not give your opinion for the fear of being judged or being wrong. Imagine your office meeting when you wish to speak but cannot for the same fear. We would choose inconvenience but not speak up. And why would you? It's just good enough to be in your comfort zone. Choosing to be in your comfort zone is good, but do not let it choose you, do not let it control you.
Today, you may think it's just a class, or just a discussion, or just a small meeting and it's okay to not give your opinion but in no time that becomes a habit and you start depending on others to speak up for you, in no time will that start impacting your decision making, in no time will it start impacting your personality and eventually your confidence. Of course, there will be times when you choose which discussions you want to participate in or not, but do not let the fear of judgement be the guiding factor for not participating. Try speaking up, then you will realize that all those speculations were just in your head. Once it is out, you allow your mind to concentrate on that line of thought. If you don't, your mind is stuck wondering whether you should speak or not and changes your focus.
Speaking your mind is a powerful leadership trait. Look at any of the leaders, people respect and follow them because they speak their minds, portray their own visions and encourage people to do the same.
Here are a few tips when you voice your opinion:
Keep your cool and share your thoughts calmly.
You have to believe in your opinions and stand by it even if it means standing alone.
Take responsibility for what you speak. Many a times, you might be wrong but learn from it and do not let that demotivate you to speak up the next time. Remember that good judgement comes from experience and experience usually comes from poor judgement.
Understand that others have their own opinions as well and not everyone would agree with you , but that's okay. You are speaking for yourself.
Provide reasons/facts to back your opinions. You can always use terms like 'I respect your opinion but I would like to do the other way because..' or 'I have a different perspective on this..'.
So next time, you have something to say, speak up.
If you feel something is wrong, speak up.
If you see injustice around you, speak up.
If you are not being treated right, speak up.
Do not hesitate to have your own opinion. These little things that we take for granted build up who we are and what we will become in future, so start speaking your mind even if your voice shakes and your future self will be thankful for it.