You’re in front of a group and you’re getting that feeling – you know the one – where you want to fidget…or run…when what you would really like to feel like is as strikingly confident as Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider character!
Instead, your heart is beating out of your chest, and you are thinking for the first time in your life that, maybe, a root canal would be a nice, pleasant thing to do today.
I’ll bet you think there is no solution.
You’ve been to the speaker training, and you still can’t shake this deep-rooted self-doubt.
What’s the problem? For most of us, really taking up space in the world is kinda frowned upon! So even the simple act of opening our arms out wide to the side and “owning a room” is a formidable challenge. Getting used to taking up that space is a confidence booster like no other; it can literally change your life.
So let me introduce you to one little-known secret from the world of acting which will help you step into your self-confidence.
Before you even get anywhere near a podium or a stage, strike a pose!
No, you’re not gonna Madonna – what you’re going to do is find a physical pose that makes you feel stronger.
Okay, but how do you do that?
Here’s the deal: Whenever you are working on adjusting something you are feeling, you are not allowed to “should” on yourself. Chances are you already are feeling bad about yourself, so in order to make changes you can’t just exacerbate that problem; more of the same just won’t work. So, take 10 minutes off from self-blame. Okay? Deal? Cool.
Now, during this exercise, we are not going to hold ourselves to perfectionistic standards, and we are not going to try for the “right” answer to things. We are, instead, going to keep our minds open and instead of going for “right” or “perfect”, we are going to be … explorers. We are going to practice being curious.
Now that you have given yourself a pass for a few minutes, here is what you are going to do (and do not do this in front of a mirror):
Stand with your arms at your side.
You’re not doing anything special, but you are standing. Not sitting or lying curled up on your bed. Now, with your eyes closed, picture in your head (or imagine however you personally do your imagining) someone who embodies the kind of empowerment you think is terrifically cool: Angelina’s Tomb Raider persona is one of mine, as is the general image of a benevolent queen ruling her subjects. When you have that image in your mind, you are going to get curious about it, and here’s how…
How does this woman hold herself?
Are her shoulders thrown back, chest out? Or do her shoulders droop? (You know they don’t. She’s a powerful woman!) What is the position of her head, her chin? Lifted? Straight ahead? And how does she stand? Feet firmly planted on the ground? How far apart are her feet? How stable is she on the ground – easy to push over (feet together)? Or hard to move (feet apart)?
More curiosity here: What is her attitude?
How does she feel about being this strong? Probably pretty badass, right? Imagine how that feels – literally feels in your body – to be that comfy with being that badass!
The final element here is: strike that pose!
The challenge is to allow yourself to feel the discomfort you may feel, understanding that what you may actually be feeling is a total rush of exhilaration, a freeing of energy.
Now, get used to that rush of exhilaration, because if you allow it to be there, and take the time to practice that pose in your day-to-day life, by the time you hit that stage or that podium, watch out! You’ll be the most self-confident woman in that entire room!
Lori Kirstein is a Performance-Based Business Communication Coach based in Cincinnati, Ohio. A former Good Girl, Lori now helps Women Leaders create and present breakout speeches, presentations, and empowered interpersonal business communications, on stage and off! You can sign up for her White Paper, “The Top Self-Expression Power Fixes for Women Leaders”, at her website, as well as request a consultation!