Igniting Our Innate Confidence.
In public speaking — and we are all public speakers, since public speaking is speaking with anyone other than oneself — a lack of confidence will always undermine our credibility.
No one wants to listen to a timid, tentative speaker. But before we even stand up to speak out, we have to have the confidence to do just that.
How many times have you suppressed what you wanted to say, only to spend the rest of the day kicking yourself? How many times has an opportunity come knocking on your door, only to leave when the door was not opened? How many dreams have not been actualized because they were not spoken into reality, because we did not have the confidence to do so?
There are two kinds of confidence: one is earned, one is innate. Earned confidence comes from education and training, or from years of experience. Innate confidence is an attitude of mind, a choice to be fearlessly expressive independent of other factors. Innate confidence is a self-blessing to speak our truth at all times because “I am entitled to speak and to be heard.”
Each person is born with the exact same right to self-express. Authentic self-expression is an indwelling presence and brilliance that can only be dimmed by self-betrayal, as in self-suppression. We have to own this right, choose this right, exercise this right. It is ours. It is yours.
When people lose the cabin pressure of confidence and begin to spin out of control with anxiety, fear, and self-doubt, it is because they have forgotten to choose confidence. Why? Fear of judgment, their own or others’. We are afraid that we are not good enough, or not entitled to speak. We are afraid of taking up space without someone’s permission.
Essentially, we do not have confidence in our own being and the inherent right to full self-expression that is ours from the beginning.
Here’s is a simple and foolproof way to instantly dissolve fear of judgment and restore our confidence. All our fear of judgment comes from ordering people on a vertical, hierarchical axis. For example, we might order people according to income or net worth, looks, weight, organizational position, and so on. Our fear of judgment comes when we rank people above us on our self-created vertical axis.
We give people who we locate above us more right than us to speak, to offer their views, to express their opinion. Their opinion is more important than mine. If they don’t approve of me…
However, if we turn the vertical pole on its side so it becomes horizontal, suddenly everyone’s judgment becomes just an opinion, ordered equally on the same plane. Suddenly, judgment becomes opinion. Ours is as valid as another’s. We all have our opinions, all are equally valid and true as an opinion.
It seems simple enough, but you might still wonder, “How does one get into this ‘horizontal’ state of mind?” First, realize that the vertical axis is supported by a single thought, or belief: “I am not good enough.” There are any number of back stories to this single thought, each one a reason or justification to elevate others above us, because “I am not good enough.” Where does this thought come from?
It comes from a decision we make about our worthiness and goodness in the wake of an awkward, embarrassing, or hurtful experience. First, we have an experience, about which we make a decision, which becomes a belief, or a self-fulfilling prophecy of our own inadequacy.
Understand that all the reasons one gives oneself to justify elevating the opinions of others above us are made up by us, are given life by us, and are authorized to keep us in the prison of self-suppression and doubt by us. We simply must choose confidence, and with this confidence we can dis-create our own creation. Choose self-confidence, just as you chose self-doubt.
Try it. It works!
Here’s what one of my workshop participants said, “Oh my God! My whole life, I’ve believed that what other people told me about me was truer than what I told me about me! I thought because they were older, or smarter, or more experienced, they knew better. I get it! All of I have to do now is say ‘Thank you for your opinion’.’They are not the boss of me, or my thoughts. I can be as confident as I want, as a choice. Only I can cause me to lose confidence!”
Turn judgment to opinion and never lose the cabin pressure of confidence again.
Robert Rabbin began his professional journey in 1985, after spending 10 years living and working with meditation master Swami Muktananda. Since then, he has developed an international reputation as a radically brilliant speaker and public speaking guru, as well as a distinguished self-awareness facilitator, leadership adviser, and personal mentor. Robert is the creative source and director of Speaking Truthfully, through which he offers masterclasses and private mentoring in authentic self-expression and public speaking. He has published eight books and more than 200 articles on authentic living and public speaking, leadership, self-inquiry, spiritual activism, and meditation. In January 2012, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and was told he had a few months to live. However, in keeping with his contrarian nature, he continues to thrive past the predicted use-by date. He lives in Los Angeles, and can be contacted via his website.