Day 2: Your Inner Mantra
You are more powerful than your worst self-criticism.
What is the exact thought you have before a speech that fills you with fear? Take a minute to identify the exact wording, and write it down. No one is going to see this but you, and it’s really valuable to actually read the words back to yourself.
Also notice where in your body you feel fear the most. (For me, it’s right between my chest and my throat.) Now try to describe it. What temperature is it? What color is it? Is it fast or slow? Is it tight or open?
Okay, now back to those words. When you read them out loud to yourself, do you notice any difference in your reaction when you can hear them aloud? They almost sound like someone else’s dialogue. What tone are the words when you think them? Say them in that tone. Do you care for this tone or not? Does it sound like the way you’d want someone to talk to you? Does it even sound like it’s coming from someone you’d want to hang out with?
By making the mental audible, we realize we have options. We can change the tone. We can turn a statement into a question. We can craft a response. Let’s do that third one.
Imagine yourself as the future version of you that is not afraid to speak in public. In fact, you enjoy it. You’ve become so much more confident than you used to be. Notice your body position right now, and then sit or stand like that person. Change your body in order to change your mind.
Ok, you’re doing great. Now, how would you like to respond to that fear-inducing thought when you have it? It’s okay if it doesn’t feel true quite yet. But it should be a sentence you want to feel true someday.
Now this is important: get your response down to as few words as possible. 10 is the maximum. Because you’re insecurity has been streamlined over the years. (For example, at some point in my life I likely thought, “The reason this person broke up with you is because you’re awkward and selfish and unlikeable and no one will ever want to be with you.” It’s very situation-specific. Over time, my brain turned that into: Nobody wants you.
From a marketing perspective, that’s a very streamlined message. No excess. It’s so powerful because it’s repeatable. So you need to make your new mantra repeatable in the same way.
This is not a scary audience.
I can help.
Someone needs this.
I deserve to be here.
I know what I’m doing.
Once you have your new mantra, I want you to stand up.
Spread your shoulders. Project confidence. Breathe deeply, slowly, and calmly a few times.
Now, as your confident speaker self, who is no longer afraid, I want you to say your mantra 10 times. Each time try to say it with more conviction.
Once you are done, notice how you feel. Notice if the words felt truer over time. Notice if you’re nervousness subsided at all. And notice if the place in your body where you feel fear has changed at all. Has it loosened, expanded, relaxed?
This can take time, but this can work. I know this because I’ve experienced this myself.
Good job today!