Self-Conscious And Loving It!

Finding Yourself Out the Front of Your Life

Recently I asked a friend for feedback on an aspect of my behaviour. I badgered her. She deflected. I badgered again. She gave in and chose her words with care. And horror of horrors I did not like what I heard. I reckon I did a pretty good job of appearing nonchalant. On the inside however I was reeling. Rapidly re-evaluating my entire life from this new perspective, I shifted from disbelief, anger, denial and sadness in 30 seconds. Then I stuffed myself with cheese and crackers.

What I noticed over the next few weeks was how self-conscious I felt. I wondered if everyone I’d ever met saw this flaw and judged me accordingly. Ha! I thought. This explains a lot. I suspected I had a problem. Here is the proof!

The problem gained epic proportion while I shrunk and fell through a hole in the floor.

Not So Special

Feeling self-conscious is being aware of yourself, as yourself. It’s a good thing. Means you are alive and you have the conscious awareness to know it! Self-consciousness allows you to perceive your similarity and difference to everyone else.

So yes, you are special and no, you are not so special. We all have an inner tension between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out from the crowd. You see this tension played out on social media. And sometimes you feel it first hand when you are up there speaking in public. You up there, them down there.

I’ve briefly defined self-consciousness. But what about how it feels? The pain, the loneliness, the rejection? The dredging of all that old stuff you thought you’d successfully buried? And bugger it but there it all is, back on public display, reflected in the pitying eyes of your listeners.

But is it pity? Or is it relief that it’s you, not them, up there? Could it be admiration, that you are doing something they could not? Or, might they be thinking about dinner, and not you at all?

Safety Versus Risk

When you speak in front of others you do stand out from the crowd. And there is risk in being rejected for standing out. Finding your peace and place within this balance is the mysterious realm in which I work with my clients.

When you speak to a group, you visibly and energetically set yourself apart from the herd. Speaking up requires courage. The courage to show yourself to others. When people listen to you speak, they want to hear, you. Not a perfect cardboard cut-out. Not a series of excuses. You.

Embrace Wabi-Sabi

I love the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. It means “beauty is in the imperfection.” Doncha reckon there’s our Permission Card right there? Flaws are beautiful! Ergo, we are all beautiful! There is nothing more boring than perfection.

People relate to flaws, not to perfection. We love to witness transformation; it gives us the courage to pursue our own. We watch people take risks, stick their heads above the parapet and wait with baited breath – will they rise to the challenge? And what can we learn from their mistakes and successes?

Self-consciousness is our opportunity to mature, learn, expand. It’s OK to be fearful, but not OK to stay stuck forever, clinging to an outdated notion of how you wanted things to be.

The Spotlight Effect

Positive Psychology describes the Spotlight Effect as the belief that others are always looking and judging us. As if we are the centre of their universe… because we are the centre of ours. Feeling self-conscious blossoms with such fertile imaginings. You can read more in my related Blog article “The Spotlight Effect is On You.” The Spotlight Effect clues us in as to how to love the opportunity of feeling self-conscious by learning from it, rather than shrink with fear and shame.

The Self-Conscious Seagull Flies Again

When I crawled off to lick my wounds, I really invested in feeling sorry for myself. I could be my own 10-part mini-series. Pride. Drama. Pain. And finally, seeing myself on A Hero’s Journey, triumphing over the perils of self-consciousness to emerge an older, wiser and infinitely more attractive human.

This could go on and on or we could cut to the chase with a story that doesn’t involve so much gut wrenching drama. Or copious cheese and crackers.

I emerged from my hole after a few weeks and realised:

  • Much of what my friend said is true. I needed a hefty dollop of self-acceptance for my quirky behaviours. They can’t really be changed. And they make me unique. I like unique.
  • If you ask for feedback, you have to be prepared to hear it. Suck it up princess!
  • Good old Gratitude… works every time to appreciate what I’ve got, rather than what I haven’t.

A Work In Progress

Am I going to divulge my friend’s feedback to you since you’ve so patiently read to the end of this article?

No way!

Just because you share a personal story doesn’t mean you have to strip your soul bare. You don’t have to expose everything. Just the bits you are ready to.

When it’s your turn to be out the front, whether for 5 minutes or for 5 days, breathe in and connect to your purpose in making a difference when you speak. We really are Works in Progress. And I know I’m not alone in wanting to hear and see the real you. To admire your unique beauty, imperfections, quirks and all.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, All Rights Reserved. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Pecan Cacao Munchies

Keep Calm & Eat Chocolate

RATING: WOW Factor – Can’t stop at one. Mind you they are very small, so who could blame you? Little healthy biscuits of yummy nuttiness. My husband thought them boring until I added cacao.

You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup almond meal, 50grams butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup finely chopped pecans, ¼ cup cacao nibs (or for sweeter, use small chunks of dark chocolate), 1 generous teaspoon of vanilla essence and, set aside approximately 20 whole pecans to decorate.
  • Optional – Place baking paper on an oven tray or as they are so buttery, you could forget the paper.

Abracadabra Pecan Cacao Munchies

OK, begin by creaming the butter and the sugar. Good opportunity to take your rings off and get your hands in. It’s a bugger to clean them after though. Or, you could just put them into one of those blender thingies. The sugar and butter that is, not your hands.

Next, throw in the almond meal, chopped pecans, cacao nibs and vanilla essence. Mix them thoroughly. It will have a very buttery look and texture. Don’t be tempted to add more almond meal unless it is runny. Should be sticky.

Right, the mixture needs to be sticky because you are now going to roll them into little balls – like large malteasers – mmm – now there’s an idea…

Then, pop them spaciously apart on your tray, like say in a 4 x 5 configuration.

Finally, plonk a pecan in the middle of the ball and let it squish from ball to biscuit.

Cook in a low oven, say, 150 Celsius for about 10 minutes or until the tops are lightly brown. Pull out and let them cool. They will be soft at first so don’t manhandle. They’ll harden up in about 20 minutes… then you can taste test.

Invitation

You are very welcome to post photo and story of your Pecan Cacao Munchies.

(c) 2018 Geraldine Barkworth, From Fear To Fabulous Speaking Coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au . This article is the personal opinion of the author and no professional cook has been harmed in it’s writing.

Video: Massively Multi Player Thumb Wrestling by Jane McGonigal

Use Oxytocin To Group Bond

Oxytocin is the “bonding hormone” – the feel good hormone that opens our hearts and minds to each other. Apparently 6 seconds of hand holding is enough to activate the flow of oxytocin through our veins. Important to know this if you work with a group / team / audience and wish to lead them somewhere meaningful and, together!

Jane McGonigal begins this fun and fabulous 7 minute TED Talk with the promise that you’ll feel 10 positive emotions in 60 seconds. She promises and she delivers by showing how to connect a large audience of 1500, physically and emotionally.

Watch this video if you want to learn how to make your presentations dynamically creative. And, if you want to learn how to set up and successfully manage large scale interactive group exercises. Oh and, it’s very well written, tightly delivered and even over-delivers.

Massively Multi Player Thumb Wrestling is also a great warm up, wake up and cool down exercise. It costs nothing and doesn’t even take much time. It generates cooperation, laughter, connection, physical movement, inspiration, perspective and a sense of togetherness. And who doesn’t want more of that?

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, from fear to fabulous speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au . This video review is the opinion of the author only.

 

Drunken Prunes And Chocolate

Keep Calm & Eat Chocolate

RATING: Epic Fail! Don’t follow this recipe at home.

Disclosure: I made up this Drunken Prunes And Chocolate recipe and no professional cook is responsible. Of course, this is just the beginning of the Drunken Prune Journey…

You’ll Need:

  • 500 grams pitted prunes, 150 ml brandy, dark chocolate chunks, finely grated lemon rind, double creme to add to a very small and intense serving.

Abracadabra

Roughly chop prunes. Place in bowl and throw in brandy knowing you’ve possibly just wasted it. Tip both into super clean glass jar because now you are going to pretend to “bottle it” for a while.

So 1 hour, 1 day or 1 month later, select a gorgeous bowl. Spoon out a couple of tablespoons of very drunken prunes into it. Artfully scatter your dark chocolate chunks. Even more artistically, drizzle a dash of the brilliant yellow citrus rind to lift the darkness.

Now, playfully add a dollop of the double creme or my divine Chocolate Brandy Ice Creme Cake, an earlier successful recipe.

And taste!

Prepare to be very disappointed. My husband ate the chocolate chunks and the cockroaches in the compost bin enjoyed the free booze.

Challenge

If you think you can do better… send me your successful Drunken Prunes And Chocolate recipe plus photo and I’ll add to this post.

© 2018 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Feel free to contact Geraldine for speaking guidance, not cooking advice! www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Yes! GDPR Compliant!

Goddess Of Public Speaking Respects Your Privacy

“If you’re anything like us, you have been inundated with lots of emails relating to the new requirements of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (better known as the “GDPR”).

At Goddess of Public Speaking we too are committed to being as transparent as possible with our customers, website users and newsletter subscribers about the data we collect, what it is used for and with whom it is shared and we are now GDPR Compliant.

This post is to notify you about updates to our privacy policy in accordance with the transparency requirements of GDPR. In a nutshell, these changes clarify:

  •     your privacy rights and how to exercise them;
  •     how we collect, use, share and protect your personal data, and
  •     the legal bases we rely on to process your personal data.

You can view our updated Privacy Statement here (effective 25th May 2018).”

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, you can contact us by email at admin@goddessofpublicspeaking.com

Geraldine Barkworth

Chief Voice, Goddess Of Public Speaking

Voice And Throat Healing Visualisation

Imagine You Have The Voice You Want

Visualisation or Guided Meditation, is like taking a holiday in your own mind. It’s a delightful tool for your subconscious to imagine something you would like for yourself… if only you knew how.  Visualisations allow you to drop the HOW and leap, often surprisingly, into the WHAT. Once the mind imagines something, it’s much easier for the body to follow and make it real.

I often suggest to my clients with throat or voice issues, they adopt the Visualisation below, tweak it to suit themselves, record it in their own voice and listen to it every day. Great results.

Voice And Throat Healing Visualisation

Gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath and watch it move effortlessly in and out of your body. Be aware of it moving in and out of your nose… in and out of your throat… in and out of your chest… in and out effortlessly your whole body.

With every breath in and out, allow your muscles to relax more and more deeply.

Bring your attention to your shoulders. As you breathe in, tighten them and raise them to your ears. As you breathe out, release and relax your shoulders.

Do that again… Explore how your shoulders feel when they are relaxed, soft and open.

Now bring your attention to your mouth. As you breathe in, tighten your lips hard and feel the tension extend all the way to your jaw. As you breathe out, release and relax your mouth and jaw.

Do that again… Explore how your mouth and jaw feel when they are relaxed, soft and open.

Now bring your attention to your throat. As you breathe in, tighten your neck muscles and notice how your throat, neck and face all tighten together. As you breathe out, release and relax your throat, chest, shoulders, neck and whole face.

Do that again… Explore how your throat, neck and face feel when your throat is relaxed, soft and open.

Now it’s time to focus your attention more closely on your throat. Imagine the light of a full moon is shining like a soft spotlight on your throat. It sends a subtle and steady blue warmth throughout your whole throat. Feel that gentle warmth now. Imagine it expanding and filling your throat with a deep internal healing. Perhaps there is a soft hum. With every breath in and out, feel or see the blue light clean, calm and heal every cell that needs to be clean, calm and healed.

Take your time and relax deeply in the soft blue glow of moonlight that fills, surrounds and supports your whole body… listen to the hum… when you are ready, make the sound of soft humming. Feel it vibrate through your whole throat, whole face, whole chest, whole body.

Again, when you are ready, you may like to repeat to yourself a strong positive statement of what you want for your throat and voice. For instance… “My throat is soft, my voice is strong”, “I speak clearly, confidently, easily”, or “My voice flows easily from my throat”.

Now I’d like you bring your attention to the sensation of your feet on the floor. Give your toes a wiggle. Give your fingers a wiggle. Give your shoulders a gentle shrug. Take a grounding breath in and out. Become aware of the room around you. Consciously choose to keep your shoulders, lips, jaw, face, throat and voice, relaxed, open and soft. Let your mind be alert and calm.

When you are ready, gently open your eyes.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, All Rights Reserved. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Book Review by Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

This is a good book to help you grow onward and upward after cultivating a strong stable base. Think beautiful flower, contributing to eco system around it, rather than becoming the next CEO tyrant of Wall Street.

What I especially liked about 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do was:

  • no pop psychology, quick fixes or faddish positivism – back to basics learning how to manage your own self defeating behaviours through your thoughts, behaviours and feelings – the basis of strong mental health.
  • the wake up call I received upon reading it – I had slipped into a self indulgent habit of decline.
  • the emphasis on self responsibility – taking control of your inner life to create a satisfying outer life.

A Snapshot of Chapter Headings To Inspire You

  • Chapter 2: They Don’t Give Away Their Power
  • Chapter 4: They Don’t Focus On Things They Can’t Control
  • Chapter 5: They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

If you have already worked with me as your Speaking Coach or Trainer, you’ll recognise many of these same themes. Speaking starts from the inside. Cultivate your inner life to communicate with richness.

Gentle and powerful. I’m keeping psychotherapist Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by the side of my bed to keep me on track. And here’s a link to Amy’s website which includes pdf downloads and a link to a TED Talk for those who prefer video to books.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, From Fear to Fabulous Speaking Coach. This book review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

What People Really Think Of You

And What You Can Do About It

The Answer?

You guessed it; there is nothing you can do about them.

But there’s quite a bit you can do about you.

I bring this topic up because “ fear of what people really think of you ” is such a recurring biggie for people who avoid speaking up in a public space.

Most of us have experienced this public paralysis. It’s a shocker and the quickest way to drain your self-esteem smoothie.

Why Oh Why Oh Why?

I could talk knowledgably about:

  • “Separation from the herd” anxiety (personal fave); or
  • “They’ll see I’m a fraud” anxiety; or
  • “I’m going to fail and ruin my entire career” anxiety; or
  • “The weight of expectations through all those eyes” anxiety; or
  • “I’m just not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough” anxiety;

but, I will not talk about them, again. We all know them well and I for one, am sick of them.

Sick of them controlling who I am and what I want.

Are You With Me?

If you are – keep reading.

The easiest place to start? Labels. Language is something you can control. Let’s drop “public paralysis”, also known as “ public speaking fear ” and all its dreadful baggage and instead choose something… attractive, powerful, energising.

I tried out many nifty names and phrases on the casting couch of change, but they sounded:

  • Too serious – no, I want to have fun!
  • Too new age – ooh, such self-important wisdom!
  • Too biiiggg – no, I’m not promising to save the world. Yet.

And My Winner Is:

“From Fear To Fabulous!” Yep and with that exclamation mark.

Why? It just makes me laugh. It’s over the top with a boa feather-ish. My whole body quivers with the joy of it. My husband says my shoulders give a little cheeky wiggle and back they go, chest out, big smile. It’s not just my mind that recognizes the good fit, but my body and spirit too. Energy returns with the right words.

I like From Fear to Fabulous so much I’ve decided to splash it about my website, add it to my logo and have renamed my enewsletter in its honour. It’s a clarion call to anchor and remind me of who I am and what I want. With no fear of judgement.

No more “crash and burn” or “public speaking fear” for you either. Adopt From Fear to Fabulous or choose your own inspiring, powerful words.

Don’t Believe Your Wild Imagination

What people think about you is always and can only ever be, a reflection of their own beliefs and values. Contrary to your wild imagination, other people do not have the power of x-ray vision to see all your flaws.

According to research, most people are thinking about dinner and sex at any given moment. So, count yourself lucky if they squeeze in a random thought or judgement about you.

Challenge

Is the problem: “Fear of what people really think of you ?”

Or is the real problem, our own fearful belief that they must be thinking the worst?

You cannot control what’s inside other people’s heads, but you can control what’s inside your own.

© 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, Fear To Fabulous Speaking Coach. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au