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Ever felt like whatever you do, you can't quite seem to motivate yourself? If so, the chances are you're hosting a saboteur - a negative pattern of thought that leads to negative patterns of behaviour. THIS is who is sabotaging your public speaking. Let's investigate...
Jeremy is the personification of my very own saboteur. He has pale, blueish skin and a thin voice in my head that whines at me that I'm not good enough, strong enough, clever enough, experienced enough. Whenever I feel intimidated, low in energy, or if business is going badly, Jeremy is right there to tell me 'Told you so.' And I feel his effect on a physical level. My shoulders slump, I find problems everywhere I turn and I seek refuge in a coping mechanism like cake. Saboteurs are many and varied, but always have the effect of lowering your energy and moving you away from your goals. They can take two forms;
1. The saboteur who holds you back Consider the attractive looking person the other side of the bar. You're feeling pretty positive and are about to make a move. Then. Out comes the saboteur to remind you... you're not wearing the right clothes, you don't know what to say, s/he might think you're strange/ too forward/ not intelligent enough. Instead, you turn back and hunch your shoulders around your drink You hate the saboteur for it, you wish you were stronger, but the result is there. Too much thinking and your saboteur has talked you out of it. 2. The saboteur who makes you lazy Even more tricky is the saboteur who keeps you 'stuck' and you don't even notice. This is a voice that's subtle and deep rooted. It encourages you not to bother, or not to look for new solutions - 'It's easier to stay how you are' or 'stick to what you're good at.' It tells you that you're too old / busy / experienced to change and that you couldn't even begin to learn to paint / dance / speak in public. This is the voice that thinks it knows what we're capable of. And it's the voice that keeps us firmly kept in our comfort zone, doing the same things as we've always done.
1. The first step is to become aware that a saboteur is present. In your daily activity, start to notice the energy levels in your body and the language that's knocking around in your head. Watch out for slumped body language and a feeling of being squashed, restricted or pushed down. Listen out for thoughts or words like "I should..." or "I have to..." or "I'm supposed to..." coming out of you, which are all signs that you're acting out of obligation, rather than choice. This is the environment a saboteur likes to create for themselves, as they feed from insecurities.
2. Once you think you've found a saboteur, it's time to investigate it. Shine a strong light on many saboteurs and you realise they were just like a little dog with a big bark. By inviting the negative part of your mindset a chance to air its frustrations and concerns, you can get some distance to those thoughts, rather than risk being controlled by them in a moment when you can do little else. As those thoughts come out, we often see how unreasonable and unnecessary they are.
3. Now that you're starting to know more about your saboteur, you can study the triggers for them showing up. What leads you into this pattern of thought and what can you do next time to stop it from happening?
4. Understanding and visualising an image of your saboteur can help you to undermine it. By having a (frankly ridiculous) image of my own saboteur, I'm able to treat him light-heartedly - like a difficult relative - and say "Oh, that's just Jeremy's way, don't worry about him, he'll be finished soon."
5. Soon you'll learn that you choose which thought processes you put energy into. Do you want to spend time indulging the negative pattern of a saboteur, or would you prefer to let those thoughts pass in favour of something more encouraging and energising?
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