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Posts Tagged ‘fear

Every Saturday morning that I’m in town, I walk over to the farmer’s market near where I live (a cute neighborhood in Oakland, California, right by a lake). I love buying organic fruits and vegetables, in season, straight from the people who grow them – and have gotten to be friends with some of the vendors too.

At the farmer’s market, I’ve made it a regular practice to buy flowers. Sometimes I see a glint in a passerby’s eye, a “knowing look,” wondering what lucky woman is getting them.

But they’re for me. That’s right: every week I buy myself flowers. Sure, if I’m dating someone, she may be getting flowers too. 🙂 But I first buy for myself the color and arrangement that I intuitively feel will nurture me that week. And when I look at them across from my desk over the coming days, I feel kindness toward myself.

It’s a self-love practice.

Self-love is one of the most important things we need to find confidence – in life, and certainly as speakers. 

As you know, we are our own biggest critics. Which means that we’re generally the ones getting in our own way, and stopping ourselves from enjoying life and appreciating our successes. For example, many speakers get angry at themselves when they make a mistake.

Have you ever had a speaking engagement, or something else with high stakes, where it mostly went well… except for that one thing didn’t go quite right? Did you fixate on that one little issue, and blow it out of proportion? Or, did you notice it, take note of what to adjust for next time, and then appreciate all of your hard work as well as everything that went well?

Yes, it’s possible to do that! But it takes practice, and changing our orientation around what happens when things don’t go as planned.

One of the most essential aspects of speaking, and confidence, is our relationship to ourselves. Instead of being self-critical, could you be kind to yourself? Become your best friend, instead of your worst critic?

For some, self-love feels like a tall order. So I often start my clients off with generating compassion instead, using a compassion meditation that begins to change their response to themselves. This is a repatterning of self-destructive thoughts and feelings that, unfortunately, we pretty much all do. Your goal is to be able to be kind to yourself when something doesn’t go right – when speaking, or in life.

There’s much more to the topic of dealing with “making mistakes” (if there really is such a thing), including more fully trusting the flow of life. And we can develop greater capacity for handling whatever arises – because with public speaking (and everything else, for that matter), it will never quite go as we expect! Still, generating lovingkindness toward ourselves is a pretty great place to start.

So, whether you buy yourself flowers, do a metta/compassion/lovingkindness meditation, or another practice, please: be kind to yourself. I guarantee that when you are nicer to the person you spend the most time with – yourself – you’ll not only feel better. Your audience (and everyone else, for that matter) will also sense this, and feel safer with you as a result… and welcome you into their hearts even more.

Will you share your comments and feelings about this below? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Does SELL feel like a dirty 4-letter word? Is the fear of it stopping you from making a living?

For the first few years of my coaching business, I really struggled to make it. Why? Because I felt like I was “selling myself.” I could talk about other people’s work that I loved, but to talk about mine? It was really hard. Even though I teach public speaking!!

And what did this mean? I was selling single sessions, one at a time… instead of bigger packages and offerings, which my clients truly needed. And I struggled financially, and didn’t have enough clients, even though my coaching was great.

To become successful, I had to translate the idea of selling (ew!) into… serving. 

This is the first secret to know: your work is not about you. It’s about providing value – and transformation – to your clients. Offering single sessions is literally underserving people who need us. We need to create packages – and know how to talk about them effectively – so that we help clients the most, and enroll them in the packages that will give them what they really desire.

Honestly, this is a HUGE topic. So I want to recommend a resource for you, by an awesome friend and colleague of mine, Leela Somaya. She rocks. We were having a chat at a cafe yesterday, and she was telling me how she had to deal with getting over this fear herself.

Obviously, Leela did – because she made it to 6 figures within 14 months of launching her coaching business!

Leela is leading a free training:  “Stop Selling & Start Listening:  How To Get Three Dream Clients In 30 Days—By Learning to Listen on a Deeper Level & Serving From A Place of Compassion”

Click Here for Details 

If this is an issue for you – especially if your fear of selling is stopping you from bringing your heartfelt gifts to the world – then I recommend joining in.

I’ll be there too! (I always want to learn more and get other perspectives.) Hope you enjoy it too – comment on this blog entry afterward and let me know what you got from it.

Most professionals and entrepreneurs who need to give a presentation, talk or speaking engagement will do some degree of preparation. Unfortunately, they prepare the wrong way! Many focus on their content, trying to get every word perfect, maybe making tons of last-minute changes. And others “prepare” by procrastinating. Finally, some will just look at their notes and mumble through it… but that also doesn’t prepare you adequately.

As well, I often get calls from people who get nervous when they speak. Or I get asked to help them craft a talk. Or they want to know how to speak “off the cuff,”  and to not be worried too much about what to say.

These are all signs of a lack of knowing how to prepare.  So, here are some important elements to keep in mind.

Know the core of your message. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you mess up  a little, or find the perfectly nuanced phrase. Simply stay in touch with the central idea or transformation you are trying to convey, and that’ll keep you on track.

Focus on helping and serving your audience. Place your attention on how you can be of service. Make it about them – not about you. This is your intention. When our intention is about being of service, rather than about our own desires, it can help us relax.

And, more than anything… warm up! It’s absolutely essential to have a great warmup routine. You wouldn’t run a marathon without a lot of stretching as well as eating right beforehand, would you? The same goes for speaking. Here are several elements to a good speaking warmup.

  1. Warm up your body. Stretch, move around, and practice body language like gestures and facial expressions. Speaking is a full-bodied act!
  2. Open up your voice. Do vocal warmups, enunciation exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, and more, to find the full power of your voice. Practice using different vocal dynamics.
  3. Warm up emotionally. What do you need to do to feel ready? To take care of yourself? To be present? It’s essential to have your heart in it, and to feel good.
  4. Get in the game. This would also be called your “mental” warmup, and could be done in part with the aforementioned focus on serving your audience. You can also do affirmations. I teach mindset shifts to my clients, and these are also helpful.

And, once you’ve done all of these, you can finally apply these to your presentation, and practice your talk. Remember that 50-80% of communication is nonverbal. So, focusing on everything but the words may also help it go well. Also, last-minute text changes tend to throw you off, not help; it’s  more important to get comfortable than get the words totally perfect.

If the above are a mystery about how to do them, keep an eye out for the Claim Your Voice training – it’ll make it all really clear.

What surprised you from these ideas? Or, what are your own ways you warm up for a talk? Please share and comment below.


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