Public speaking can certainly be daunting. When faced with such an opportunity, it is tempting to concede to the words of our inner demons who tell us to say “I can’t” or “I won’t”, bit the truth is that self-confidence is a choice.
Recently I had the pleasure of working with a group of young adults who were coming to the end of a twelve-week Prince’s Trust Programme. They have been through a lot and had learned much about themselves as they got ready to go back out into the world to seek further training or employment. Now, they were facing their shortest but perhaps the biggest challenge. In two weeks time, they would have to stand-up in front of their peers plus an invited audience of family members and friends, to share their personal experience of the programme and how it had affected them. I and some fellow Toastmasters Club members were running a workshop to help them prepare for this final hurdle.
This was a big ask for all the students, but for two, in particular, it was almost overwhelming. Initially, they both refused to practice their speech in front of their 14 peers, despite having performed well in their small coaching groups. The phrases “No”, “I can’t” & “I don’t want to” used, heads were hung low and there were even some tears.
They could have given into their inner demons and walked away from the session feeling a failure, but they didn’t. They discovered that self-confidence is a choice.
With a bit of support, encouragement and time, both were able to deliver authentic and moving speeches.
They looked their demons square in the face and said…
- “I am not going to be beaten.”
- “I have something worth saying and I am going to say it.”
- “A voice inside my head is not going to stop me being the person I know I can be.”
If they can learn how to be more self-confident, then so can you!
- Every time we let our fears hold us back, we become smaller and our fears become larger.
- Every time we face our fears head on, our confidence and our self-esteem grow, and our fears start to dissipate.
When you are faced with this dilemma here is one simple thing that you can do to help.
You can stop, acknowledge your fear, then ask yourself, deep inside, which option will truly make you feel better in the long-term,?
Running away from your demons, or running toward them?
You see, self-confidence is a choice
Running away from what you fear only brings short-term relief. The shame and self-loathing that follows is never pleasant and can last a lifetime.
The truth is that our demons are like the Sirens of Greek mythology. They pretend to be helping us but in reality, they are luring us onto the rocks where our self-esteem and confidence will be smashed and broken yet again.
When you see them for what they really are, their power is gone and you can move forward, becoming a stronger and happier.
When you learn the secret of disempowering your inner demons, you become more confident. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but self-confidence is a choice.
For more information about The Prince’s Trust Twelve Week Programme click here