Be Confident, Be Awesome, Be Yourself; Don’t be Panicked

The thing about telling your story is… you’ve got to tell it.As in: out loud. In public. In front of at least two to 47 other people.This is how you get your message across to your boss, your future investor, or your new friend/hot person you want to watch The Mindy Project with and take out on hikes. Or whatever it is you do with your new friends/hot people.Today, we’re going to make a plan for pushing through the feelings of awkwardness, nervousness, and vulnerability many people feel when talking about themselves.To start, let’s acknowledge that women’s voices do not dictate the dominant narratives in American culture today; and beyond that, the problem goes back to the opening lines of Western literature, when, even then, women’s voices were actively silenced.

So cheesy…but it really works!

In telling your story as a woman, you’re overcoming thousands of years of oppressive social conditioning. And some women are also overcoming their own innate unease at the prospect of holding themselves up for scrutiny.The good news is, while dismantling the patriarchy is going to take a long time, with a lot of us working at it, trepidation at telling your story is totally resolvable.Today, we’re going to push through these courage issues with tips from author, speaker, and all-around force for awesomeness in the universe Gabrielle Berstein. The following are all things I really do, on an almost-daily basis, when speaking.Step 1: Acknowledge you’re feeling nervous or awkward – whatever. Forgive yourself for this feeling.Step 2: Decide you want to feel something else. Just deciding you want another feeling is a powerful first step in releasing the tension you have around speaking up.Step 3: Consider your audience and what you want that person or group of people to feel about you and your talk. Do you want them to feel welcomed and appreciated? Empowered and inspired? Like you’re awesome and they should support you? Charmed? Like they should give you money, time, or more attention? Entertained? Pick one to three feelings you want people to take away from your interaction.Step 4: Visualize a ball of light in front of your chest. I know. I totally just went there. Visualization. So cheeseball. Go with it. Fill that ball of light with the feeling(s) you want to manifest in your listeners.For this part, we’re going back to Gabby, who says, “If you share with love, it will be loved.”That idea transcends the message of love and works for all messages. I’ve been emceeing and telling stories and hosting workshops and classes for four years now and before I get up in front of any group, I choose what I want my listeners to feel and visualize that intention. I do this before meeting with my boss, before calling men I want to date, before going to a dinner party, before speaking at a conference, before going up to an ex-boyfriend at our (shared) neighborhood restaurant and saying hi to him and his new girlfriend.To be my best self, I set an intention before speaking.Step 5: Trust that when the words you say pass through that ball of light that’s filled with your intention, the words will be heard with your intention.Doing this slows you down and forces you to do a few key things before you speak:

  1. a) It makes you consider and prioritize the way your listeners will feel when you’re done talking.
  2. b) It makes you narrow and prioritize what you want to communicate.
  3. c) It gives you the confidence that the universe will support you in sharing your message.

So, give this a try and let me know how it works for you! Share your story in the comments.