Life can be shit.
I’m just saying. There are things that come along and side-swipe the most confident of people.
When I say I’m a Vocal Confidence Specialist and Public Speaking Coach, the first question is often, so you work with a lot of shy people, or introverts? The answer is, well, yes I do – but “No.” not all my clients are those who hold back. In fact many of them are just as outgoing as me, but speaking comes with its own special challenges that affect everyone, and sometimes life adds the arse-kicking cherry on the top.
When your confidence gets knocked, when your heart isn’t in it, when you would rather be hiding from the world until it gets better – but you have to be speaking – what can you do?
How do you carry on running a business, leading a team, functioning as part of a team, or getting up to speak at events, seminars, or conferences, when part of your world has been shaken? Can you trust your voice not to betray you? Do you believe in yourself enough, or do you start to question if the audience will believe in you? Or simply, do you have the emotional energy to be able to get up and speak about business when your heart is breaking, or your head is elsewhere?
I’m not speaking about those instances where we drop everything because we mentally, physically, emotionally can’t deal with anything else. I’m talking about those situations where you have this one massive thing going on for you but the rest of life is still happening too. Perhaps it’s that feeling of ‘functioning’ or ‘getting on with it’ or those times when something major has happened and you’re getting back to the world.
If you have people who rely on you to be there leading, or participating, or maybe you’ve committed to speaking at an event that no-one else can cover. It’s hellish, but life doesn’t stop because you were served divorce papers, someone close to you passed away or got sick, or because your business partner up and left the business. Perhaps it’s something most people would label ‘good’ – you have been promoted, found out you’re pregnant, or had the baby and are coming back to work, or you’ve decided to set up your own business – but it’s all new to you, and new is uncertain, and uncertain can unbalance.
Life-events happen which can knock you sideways so that you’re no longer sure what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, or where your voice is relevant.
There’s something going on in my world right now which makes me feel like this – that has knocked me off balance and brought up a heap of my own stuff too. When it happened last week, I was running a challenge in my facebook group. I could have stopped it, but there was (is) nothing I can do about the situation, I had people engaged who were really challenging themselves and nearly at the end of their journey. Without question, they would all have understood if I told them – but if I’m honest – it also gave me a focus. I kept turning up and speaking and they made massive leaps. Helping others, helped me.
So what can you do when you need to speak but life is wobbly?
Take care of yourself.
Be gentle on yourself and remind yourself that you don’t always have to be ‘strong’ or perfect. If there is someone else who could take the meeting, or do the speech for you, maybe ask them to. (Unless your ‘side-swipe’ is a promotion, or similar, and asking someone else is a way of avoidance!)
If you are the only one who can do this thing now, like my client whose business partner (who usually did the bulk of the public speaking) left the business with 9 international events to speak at, then how can you do it to the best of your ability?
Whether your challenge is going in to work and functioning in meetings or communication, or actually getting up and public speaking:
Firstly – remember to take care of yourself. It bears repeating! (and I’m talking to myself right now too!) Acknowledge that you’ve got something going on and you are not going to function at your usual rate – or speak with the same energy.
Next – How does speaking help give you a bit of direction, purpose, focus?
If there’s nothing more than what you are already doing that you can do about, or to influence, the outside event that’s happening in your world – that arse-kicking cherry – how does your showing up help you or others?
Then – if it’s appropriate, and/or if you feel you can – let the people you’re speaking to know what’s going on for you. You don’t have to be specific, but if you are you might be amazed how many people have been through something similar and the support you get. Letting people know that ‘there’s something going on right now’ helps them understand if you’re not fully on it and generally makes them think you’re pretty amazing for showing up!
Mostly – Three things.
1) Take time to really connect with what is important about what you do, or what you’re speaking about. What is your purpose for being there, and of what you have to say? Not just the practical purpose, but what lies underneath why you do what you do, why you’re in the position you’re in, or speak about what you’re speaking about? This is about reminding yourself of your ‘higher’ purpose – there may be something that has shaken your world right now – but how does your being there, leading, contributing, speaking, help enhance the life of others?
By helping others, how does that put you in a different energy, distract you from the thing that is taking up a vast percentage of your being right now, and help bring you back in to the whole of you? Speaking from your ‘higher purpose’ reconnects you to the energy that drives you forward in life and helps you feel lighter.
2) Take time to breathe. If you feel you’re losing it, whatever ‘it’ might be for you, stop and breathe – before you speak, while you’re speaking, after you’ve finished. You may have to remind yourself to breathe – that’s OK – keep doing that. And do it with anything written too …
3) Take time out. Remember to leave yourself time and space in your day to rest or to ‘not be OK’. It takes more energy to be speaking when you’ve been knocked for six – so make sure you give yourself recovery time.
You don’t have to be Superman or Superwoman and ‘just get on with it’ …. Give yourself a break, acknowledge your situation and focus on the good things that you speaking will help achieve.
If in doubt; Breathe.
I will be using my tools and techniques when teaching them at my two-day workshop next week – because they work! Because when you’re in the position of being the person speaking, it’s all about the people listening. You get a chance to turn the spotlight off the ‘thing’ that’s going on and put it on how what you have to say can help others grow.
Words Make Waves: Speak With The Power Of Your Whole Voice.
If you want to find out more about the workshop click here. If you found this helpful – let me know in the comments below.