Why Advanced English Speakers Still Don't Feel 'Fluent'... And What To Do About It (3 Powerful Tricks)
There aren't many more frustrating things than spending a lot of time and money on English education, lessons, and exams only to feel like you still haven't "arrived".
The truth is, many non-native English speakers can speak well.
I'll tell you a little secret...
Most people who I've talked with and worked with can speak much better than they believe they can.
(Of course some believe they are better than they are, but that's for another post. Listen to our podcast on the Dunning-Kruger Effect.)
The problem with many non-native English speakers is their lack of objectivity.
They see ENGLISH as this insurmountable mountain that keeps growing the more they learn.
To a point, this can be good.
It can drive us to do more.
It can keep us motivated.
When we don't see an end in sight, it can be the NUMBER ONE source of demotivation, insecurity, and lack of consistency in your progress.
Lack of consistency leads to lack of fluency.
Let's fix that NOW.
Celebrate the wins. Learn from the losses.
In general, we get frustrated when we don't see progress. We don't see progress when we don't measure growth and results. Here are three simple yet powerful tricks that you can start implementing today to start noticing your true ability.
3. Track your progress.
I have two kids (at the time of writing this, they are 5 and 3-years-old. We have a system where we track their growth on the wall at the beginning of each month. In our day-to-day, we don't usually notice their growth, and then suddenly we are shocked and say, "Wow! These kids are getting so big!"
We still don't have an objective way to notice it... until it's the first of the month and we put them on the measuring wall to see how tall they've gotten.
Even the kids get excited about doing this because there is something in our DNA that gets motivated and excited at growth! It goes back to the Tony Robbins quote at the top of the page. Watch any nature documentary. Growth equals happiness. Growth in an individual. Growth in a species. Growth in an idea.
2. Accept your ability.
A unique thing about learning English as a second language as opposed to learning another language as a second language is the shame that's attached to mistakes.
It was once said, 'English speakers think they're better than they actually are at speak other languages, and non-native speakers are often better than they think they are at English.'
This mindset has lead to many people learning English and speaking it very well, but it has also caused a lot of shame to countless others who make simple mistakes.
There are fewer things that demotivate people more than shame. Unfortunately, many teachers and classes use this as a motivator.
Remember the main goal of learning a foreign language. It isn't an exam. It isn't perfection. It isn't grammar rules and an endless log of vocabulary. It's COMMUNICATION.
Get back to the basics, and you will enjoy yourself a lot more. The more you enjoy yourself communicating in another language, the more you will be able to communicate freely.
If you make a mistake, consider it a win because you've learned something new... now make sure you learn from it and grow.
1. Have a system.
As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. The trick is knowing where you want to arrive. Without a destination, it's impossible to track your progress or accept your ability because you're not even clear on where you're going.
The first part of a solid system is knowing your destination. How will you know when you arrive?
The second part is having a clear path how to get there.
The third part is having accountability to help track your progress and keep you consistent.
In case you're interested in learning more about the 3 Elements You MUST Get Right To Have Control Of Your English, check out this training.
Most English learners don't have this because they've been conditioned through an entire life of formal education that English results come from an exam level or certificate. Sorry, but in the real world, nobody gives a damn that you have a C1 certificate. Most native speakers won't even know what that means.
What can you do? How effectively can you communicate? How do you make others feel? This is the bottom line of what fluency is truly for.
Accountability is the secret weapon.
If you've been struggling and feeling like English is controlling you instead of you controlling it, that's more normal than you think... even at higher levels.
If you want to discuss your goals and barriers, book a call with our team and let's break down some of your barriers.
On our call, you can expect:
Jesse J. Sweed
Jesse is the founder of Sweed Academy and The English Mind. He specializes in showing high-performing professionals how to think and speak directly in English without hesitation and self-doubt.
Book your 30-minute call
Book your FREE Brainstorming call and see if we're a good fit to get you to your goals.