Renaissance Personalities (RP) – those multi-passionate “scanners” who want it all – can take being stuck to a whole new level. I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when you felt stuck, not knowing what you wanted to do next, and unable to choose from what feels like millions of options that all look great to you. Lately, I’ve been noticing how overanalyzing things tend to make matters much worse for my RP “scanner” clients. I was reminded the other week by a possible client that spending months going back and forth, mulling over these decisions, is not helping. When I work with clients one-on-one during intensive VIP days, we go in deep together to reap amazing results. Clarity happens for them, which we follow up by getting into action. Implementing a project, going after a new job takes time. However, you don’t need months to reach decisions about which direction to go in. Or, what project to take on. Or, what venture to pursue. Not if you’ve already given this some serious thought, did some research, and ended up… stuck. Here’s the thing: taking action will alter your perspective, which is what you need if you can’t come up with a new insight by thinking about it for weeks – or months. No new information will come to you by just fretting over things. Taking action will shift this for you. Things may happen that you hadn’t even considered. As long as you’re not taking action, it’s easy to fall back into that space of stuckness. When you have a new experience, you discover things, and as a result, your ideas change, or you’ll get new ideas. Here are my top three tips for getting unstuck: 1. Realize that the decision you’re trying to make is not one that you will be stuck with for the rest of your life. Decisions can be reversed, course-corrected on the fly, and turned into something slightly different to make it just right. When you get that you’re not selecting a career, or a business, for life, at the exclusion of everything else that interests you, will give you breathing space and will relax you enough to actually move forward with an option. 2. Test-drive one of the options you’re considering, whether it’s a new job, new career, or new business. You shouldn’t jump in with your eyes closed after quitting your job. Decide to take 30 or 60 days to stick your toes in the water; offer a simple version of what you’d be focusing your business on to some people, shadow someone in the field you want to go into, or volunteer in the area you need experience in if you want to move in this new direction. 3. Pull a Dr. Phill on yourself by looking at what you’ve done so far and asking yourself “How’s that been working for me?” Obviously, we know the answer (it hasn’t been working), but you need to see this clearly and repeatedly. Often, clients think they need to do more internet research. Some research is very wise. Too much research, locked into your room, can kill your dreams. You’ll always be able to find proof that what you want to do is not possible, doomed for failure, and simply just a bad idea. Get out from behind your desk, mingle with people, talk about it, ask for advice, tap into your connections’ network, and commit to three simple steps you can take within the next 30 days to move one of your interests/goals forward. What can you do differently these coming 30 days that would take you from being stuck to being in action? Comment on the blog to let me know your action points or if you’ve discovered other ways that helped you to get unstuck! Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Public speaking can’t always be avoided in the business world when you’re tapped on the shoulder to give a presentation to your peers or to an important client.
Even in the age of home video conferencing, it’s still very natural to feel like you’d rather do ANYTHING other than turn on that camera, take a deep breath, and feel everyone’s eyes on you…watching.
Ever wonder how actors push through stage fright?
As a trained actor and coach (prior to entering the business world), I’ve learned to not be timid while orating Shakespeare in the spotlight or when hitting those high notes in front of thousands of eyeballs.
Not surprisingly, the same tricks actors use can be applied to public speaking in a business context. Here are some tips from an actor-turned-business-professional on calming your nerves.
Tip #1: Put Yourself In The Audience’s Seats
I always get incredibly nervous right before a singing audition. I’ve found what helps lessen my anxiety is to do as a fellow performer once suggested and put myself in the director’s chair. (The director is typically the person who decides if you are cast in the show).
The director WANTS you to do well! They want you to be the perfect person for the role—able to garner good reviews and box office sales. They want you to do so well that they could even tell everyone else to go home; they’ve found their star.
Plus, no director wants to sit through hours and hours of bad singing auditions…would you?
Likewise with public speaking.
When have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker and wished that they would be boring? Or wanted them to bomb so badly that you get nothing from their talk?
Rather, you probably hope the speaker is so dynamite that you actually forget to take notes because you are so transfixed and inspired by their message.
Know that the audience is on your side and let that encourage you. They want you to do well.
Tip #2: Give ‘Em The Old Razzle-Dazzle
I love to tap dance. Sometimes (ok, quite often), my feet don’t move as quickly as they should and I mess up a step or two…or ten.
A choreographer once taught me that a major part of dancing, and where the audience usually focuses, is all in the face and arms. If you are smiling a 1,000-watt smile and making grand arm gestures, the audience isn’t likely to see that your feet messed up that paradiddle step. (Yes, that’s a real thing!)
Public speaking also follows this rule. The audience can’t tell that you are nervous and feel like you just might pass out.
Bluff it! Put on your smile and stand tall. Walk with purpose and speak with authority, even if you feel unsure of yourself. It can feel weird, but you have to trust me here.
When you act as if you are confident, the audience will assume you are confident. Your body will even convince your brain into believing that you are, in fact, confident!
What if you DO mess up? So what? Keep going! Don’t drop your poise and strong voice, as they are effectively drawing attention away from any insecurities that may come up, just like jazz hands can help cover for missing a step-shuffle-ball-change.
Tip #3: Enter The Clown
Actors have learned that mistakes are bound to happen and sometimes you have to play the fool.
For instance, props or scenery may break or fall unexpectedly during a show. Actors are taught to pretend like it is supposed to happen, and work it into the scene. Or they may quickly remove the wayward item and simply continue on.
I’ve even witnessed actors stumble and fall onstage, then make a comment about what a klutz they are (in character, of course!) and continue on like it was scripted that way.
Let’s say during your speech you trip up on some words unexpectedly. Work it into the presentation as if you meant for it to happen. For example: “The biggest finanbial chamanges…a-hem, well those lesser-known things…as well as the biggest financial challenges we face are…”
Call yourself out and you get an on-the-spot joke to lighten the mood—and the audience loves you for it.
Or let’s say you knock over your glass of water while speaking. That’s the perfect time to make a crack about how uncoordinated you are and why you never made the basketball team. (*Rimshot please!*)
Tip #4: “Once Again From The Top, Ah-5-6-7-8!”
Actors spend hours, days…weeks! memorizing their lines to be “word perfect” right down to the smallest pause. They get every tilt of the head, every gesture, and every single word into muscle memory.
When opening night comes, no matter how much their stomach is turning over like they’re on a cruise ship in a hurricane, they can effectively put themselves on autopilot and get through the show without a hitch.
Now, with this tip, I would NEVER recommend that you, as a public speaker, go to the extremes actors do.
Why? Memorizing isn’t necessary for public speaking. In fact, I strongly suggest you don’t memorize, as you risk coming off as “fake.”
Rehearsing on the other hand is a must!
Rehearse in front of a mirror…while shopping for groceries…in front of a friend. Video or audio record yourself and play it back.
If possible, practice in the actual space where you will be speaking (yes, even if it’s in your home office) to get a feel for it so that it doesn’t disorient you on the big day.
Your goal is to know your main points and examples while allowing yourself to improvise here and there with different words and phrases to keep it fresh.
If you try to memorize and you forget a sentence while speaking, it has the tendency to really trip you up unless you’re a seasoned pro. However, if you practice experimenting with different ways of saying things, you’re building your quick-thinking prowess and ability to handle the unexpected while in the spotlight.
Notes are, of course, perfectly acceptable, but you don’t want to stay buried in your notes resulting in never making eye contact with the audience (or webcam).
Another no-no is clearly reading from a script while on a video conference. Reading a script is one of the best ways to disengage the audience unless you are very good at making it sound conversational…a tough skill to master.
Instead, know your speech so well that glancing at the first few words on a notecard will propel you into that part of the speech, without having to constantly refer to your notes.
Remember that public speaking is one fear that, with a little practice and the right mindset, can be overcome. Who knows, you may start to crave the spotlight so much that I’ll see you at the next audition!
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