07 Dec When you practise what you preach…
How often does this concept come up with your kids? ‘Do what I say, not what I do?’ I don’t know about you, but I’m forever telling mine to speak up, stand up for themselves and push themselves to achieve more in school, and for the most part, I’m lucky and they do.
But recently I had to stop myself and ask what I am trying to instil by asking this of them. And the conclusion I came to was confidence. I want to bring them up to be confident and resilient. So, where am I demonstrating this to them? I need to practise what I preach. I need to be a good role model.
Recently I was offered to speak at an event, and anyone who knows me well knows how terrifying I find public speaking. Always have. When I worked in financial services, I’d be the last to put my hand up and come forward with ideas, because I didn’t like speaking up. I never volunteered to do presentations or anything that involved standing up in front of a group of people and talking. I would find my brain would freeze, my mouth would go dry, my hands would shake and I’d go bright red! It was an awful experience!
But when I was offered this speaking opportunity, I didn’t think about it, I just said yes. I said yes because I want to be a good role model for my children, I want to stand up and inspire other women to do the same. To speak about their passions and journey, and to maybe even stand up and speak their truth.
Before I went onstage, the self-doubt struck. I was shaking, I had palpitations and my hands were cold and clammy. However, I told myself that I had agreed to do this, so that I could step out of my comfort zone and learn and grow from the experience. If I didn’t do it, I would forever regret it and my confidence would be knocked even more. So despite being terrified, I broke through the fear, stood up and walked to my seat to talk…. and it went surprisingly well and I got great feedback. No it wasn’t perfect, but I did it.
But I’m lucky, I am surrounded by people who lift me up and inspire me every day of my life. My training has shown me what tools work to overcome your fears and build your confidence.
Here I share some thoughts with you incase you feel like getting up and doing a bit of public speaking:
- I didn’t overthink it beforehand. I knew public speaking scared me, but I also knew I had to break through that fear in order to overcome it, if that makes sense. My bigger vision is being a motivational speaker, and inspiring others to create the life of their dreams. So I knew, when I was offered this I HAD to say yes. So I did, and just refused to let myself think about how scary it was. My WHY was strong enough to step through the fear.
- I used my breath to help me through the fear. Your breath is SO powerful and it’s freely available to us all, at all times! Breathing deep into your belly calms you down, oxygenates the body and mind and gives you something to focus on, other than your fear. Use it, its’ completely under-rated.
- Power-poses and affirmations – now power poses are a completely new concept to me! However, I visualised standing as super-woman does – hand on hip and said over and over “I am powerful” and my goodness did it work! I actually did feel powerful.
- I have a quiet voice, but I was told to pick a spot at the back of the room and project my voice at that spot. I did and I don’t think I’ve ever heard that voice before! Also, I spoke slowly and deliberately, it gives people time to think about what you’re saying and digest it.
- Eye contact… connecting with your audience is so important.
- Posture – straight back helps you project the voice and breath easily.
- Hand gestures to emphasise your words. It really engages the audience and strengthens what you’re saying.
I’d say the most important thing I realised from this talk, is from doing that one thing that terrified me, my self-belief, self-worth and self-respect sky-rocketed. This has been a big thing that has completely held me back in the past, and I overcame that fear and shared my story, my experiences and made some lovely connections as a result.
And trust me, if I can do it, so can you.