I trust you now dad.
This is what my daughter said to me on a recent holiday after she conquered her fear of swimming.
When she was a baby we took her to a swimming session, and she hated it. This experience lodged in her subconscious, and in the intervening years we’ve have had many disasters with trying again. I was guilty of pushing her to hard at times, such was my desperation for her to see the benefit and knowing how much she would enjoy it when she began to trust herself. I would sit for hours with her and talk about her fears, and go through step by step how I would help her. I would reassure her that she would be safe and I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. She would nod, and in her need to please would say how much she was looking forward to go swimming again.
Then the inevitable would happen.
There is a big difference between rationale and trust. Very often we can understand something intellectually, but until we ‘own it’ and find the feeling of trust for ourselves then the required skill is just a thought; and the thought can be dangerous because it’s so easy to talk ourselves out of doing it. How many times in your life, have you wanted or needed to do something and you have intellectualized the task, and then when you have tried it- been crippled by fear.
I think we all know this feeling.
This is hard enough with something like swimming, but at least no one is watching you while you’re trying to figure out how can you trust yourself.
In public speaking, there is no hiding place. All the attention is on you, and it can be very difficult to trust yourself and who you are when everybody is looking at you. You’re dealing with many things happening at the same time, content, clarity of voice, importance of the event, your own vulnerabilities, who is in the audience. It’s very easy to go into your head and while the words are coming out of your mouth, internally you are trying to either suppress thoughts or keep a conscious awareness of what you think you should be doing.
Until you can learn a system that will allow you to trust your subconcious and trust who you are under pressure then speaking in public will always be difficult. You may find ways to get through it. But is that the limit of your capability? You may find a way for people to hear your content instead of really listening to you. But is that what you want?
You are a lot more than you think you are.
The best public speakers, are able to trust who they are. They know their vulnerability is where their greatest strength lies- because this is where their true self lies.
Why is this important or even relevant? Because when somebody is comfortable in their own skin and is able to share who they are, it makes them instantly relatable. When we relate with someone, we engage and listen to them.
And what do you want from your audience?
That’s right – to listen.
My daughter has learnt a very simple truth, that she has projected onto me.
She doesn’t trust me now.
She trusts herself.