We can become quite good at hiding our fears and insecurities, we think!
Rachel was in the process of starting a new business when she came to me for help, and was in a very disempowered state. Every time she asked someone to take a look at or consider her business, her voice would begin to shake, or – despite her careful preparation – she would choke up and barely be capable of giving her audience (even if it was one person) any real idea of what her business was or what it offered, let alone to paint a glowing and desirable picture of it. She persevered, but her frustration grew as things didn’t improve.
Whether we like it or not, or are aware of it or not, our voice reflects our state of being. When we need to speak publicly, or even have a difficult conversation one-on-one, and our voice doesn’t obey – quivering, getting stuck or not projecting – it’s a major frustration. In fact, it can be totally debilitating, and rarely leads to a good outcome! However, these symptoms and the underlying issues can be addressed and overcome.
There were two ways we approached Rachel’s challenges. We needed to:
- put into place some practical short term “bandaid” techniques, so that Rachel could immediately cope better with her imminent business meetings and conversations, but we also needed to;
- stamp out the limiting beliefs which were causing these problems in the first place.
In the short term, we played with her breathing and postural habits, and made sure she became aware of how to use these to her advantage. More importantly, she developed an awareness of when she was inadvertently using them to her disadvantage!
I watched the Australian Open. I love tennis, and always feel inspired seeing those incredible top-seeded players. Tennis players, and great athletes in general, are acutely aware of using their breath and posture to influence their mood, thoughts and their opponents’ impressions of them, and do it constantly. You’ll often see Nishikori breathe a big breath out to release tension, centre himself, clear his mind and start a new point afresh. Serena still gets ultra-nervous before a high profile match, but have you noticed how incredibly relaxed her gait is between points? Have you ever seen Nadal move between points in any way that’s less than ultra-decisive and determined? He can’t feel like that 100% of the time, like when he’s down 2 sets in a grand slam, but he’ll stay disciplined with his body language to give himself the best chance at all times, mentally and physically.
Fist pumping and the like do have an effect on our emotional state. Now, I wasn’t suggesting Rachel fist pump or scream Come ON! in a meeting or conversation to change the tone (though there is a curious part of me that would like to see what would happen!), but there are lots of subtler ways of achieving a similar result. When Rachel started implementing these, she saw almost immediate results.
To really root out Rachel’s disempowering physical responses was a longer process. We worked backwards; analytically and unemotionally; from her physical symptoms to the feelings which caused them, and to the thoughts which in turn had caused the feelings. Here’s the thing: that nasty negative, judgemental, critical, disempowering voice we hear in our own heads to a lesser or greater degree depending on our mental habits, IS NOT THE TRUTH. It’s just one radio station of our fickle mind. We can change stations any time, once we know how. This is what, with guidance, encouragement, practice and perseverance, Rachel did.
Not only is Rachel’s first business growing with steady momentum, she has just begun another business which complements her first. She is a happier, more confident person in her everyday life and relationships, and has become remarkably charismatic. She’s now free to be who she really is.
That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
To find out more about Sally and how she can help you Find your Voice of Power, click here.
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