I recently wrote a Special Report that I’d like to share with you.
It’s called "The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing With Confidence, Ease and Charisma." I’ll be posting these Secrets one by one over the next few weeks. Enjoy!
Several years ago I was singing in a small nightclub in San Francisco called Piaf’s. The host of the evening , Wayne, would introduce me to audience as “The Diva of the North Bay.” This title would make me cringe.
The title of “Diva” didn’t sit well with me because the word had come to mean “a narcissitic, self-absorbed, conceited whiner with more attitude than talent.” But I also knew that the original term was given to true Divas, singers who’s ability to be so connected to the divine, to something larger than themselves, that they sang with the ease, power and beauty of the heavens.
In order to find peace with my new title, I had to redefine the word “Diva.” And in doing so, I realized that a true Diva has valuable secrets to share, secrets about how to be powerfully present, completely confident, connected and charismatic when presenting, speaking or performing. These are the Secrets I’m about to share with you. The Diva’s 7 Secrets to Speaking or Performing in Public With Confidence, Ease and Your Own Kind of Creative Charisma.
You will find these Secrets exciting but challenging because they ask you to change the way you think about yourself, your value and your relationship to speaking or performing in public. They may rub up against some old concepts and beliefs you have about what it means to express yourself in public. This is good.
Because if you are reading this, chances are that you want a change, yes? A change that allows you to feel completely confident, authentic and free in your self-expression? A change that allows you to break free of all the fear and anxiety and self-sabotage that has been keeping you from the joy of expressing yourself fully and fearlessly?
Well then, let’s get to it!
As for my new definition of the word Diva, I will share it with you in the Appendix of this report. It can wait because I know you’re anxious to dig in to these Secrets right now. Just read through them and imagine how it would feel to fully integrate these Secrets into your life and your self-expression. If it feels good, go for it!
You Can’t Care About What Other People Think!
Who would you be if you really didn’t care about what other people thought of you?
What would you do? What would you say? How would you express yourself?
Think about it. How much of what you do and say is influenced by what other people may think? My guess is that if you’re really honest with yourself, you will find that most of your desires, preferences, actions and behaviors are heavily influenced by the opinions and judgments of others.
When it comes to speaking or performing in public, most of our fear and nervousness comes from our obsessive concern over what people will think. Right? Haven’t you found yourself thinking thoughts like, “What will they think of me? What if they find me boring? What if they hate my presentation or find it only mediocre?”
Even if your thoughts aren’t that specific, the underlying anxiety you feel comes from some fear about how you will be judged by your audience. If you didn’t care, how nervous would you be?
You can’t give a rip about what anyone else thinks.
You have to let go of needing other people to like you and approve of you. You have to not care about impressing anyone. Because if you don’t, you’re doomed to always be chasing an unattainable goal and wasting your energy, creativity, time and focus on something over which you have no influence or control.
“How so?” you ask?
Well, first off, you can never really know what someone is thinking. You can project your own thoughts on to them, but the truth is, you don’t really know. That man in the back who keeps staring at the floor. The woman in the corner with her eyes closed. You may think they are bored or disgusted, but in fact they could be in a state of deep listening. They could be worried about something that has nothing to do with you. There is no way to really know, so why waste your own thought and energy trying to figure it out?
Secondly, even if you could read people’s minds, you can’t change what they are thinking. You don’t have any control over their thoughts. You hardly have any control over your own thoughts; what makes you think you can change the thoughts of others? Stop concerning yourself with what others are thinking. It’s a total waste of time.
And lastly, what other people think of you is none of your business. It’s their business. Keep your nose out of their business and attend to your own. Get down to the business of creating a positive, enjoyable experience for yourself in which you get to express yourself freely, openly and authentically. That’s your business, and you DO have control over that.
The actress Ashley Judd has an affirmation that she repeats to herself before going on stage or doing an interview. She tells herself, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” I’m sure she would let you borrow this affirmation. It’s a good one.
Now, there is probably a little voice peeping up in your mind right now that is saying something like, “But I do care about what others think of me! I DO want them to LIKE me! I want them to be interested.”
Of course you do. We all want people to think well of us, to like us, to be interested in who we are and what we have to offer. It’s only natural. Besides, we’ve had a lifetime of trying to find approval, acceptance and affection from others.
So, let me make it a little easier on you.
Care MORE about enjoying the experience of expressing yourself than you do about what other people think.
If you can’t completely let go of caring about what others think of you, can you at least care more about creating a positive experience for yourself? Can you care more about having a good time expressing yourself, about doing and saying what feels good to you, than you care about what your audience may or may not think of you?
Let me put this another way: Can you care more about WHAT you are doing (speaking or performing) than you do about what others may think? Can you care more about WHAT you are speaking about, your message, your purpose, your music, your art, your intention than how you may be judged?
My friend Bridgette is a singer, and we used to talk about how nerve-wracking it is to sing in front of other singers. Why? Because we know singers tend to be very harsh, merciless judges of other singers. Just like writers tend to be harsh critics of other writers.
One night, Bridgette was at the gig of another singer, Sheryl. Sheryl often asks other singers to sit in and sing a tune with her band, and this night, she asked Bridgette. As it happened, the audience was full of singers. Bridgette told me, “I don’t know how it happened, but I just didn’t care. I didn’t care what any of those singers thought about me or my performance. I got up there and sang for me! I decided to enjoy what I was singing and allow that to be my sole focus. And I performed better than ever.
“Afterwards, I felt wonderful,” Bridgette continued, “and people kept coming up to me and telling me how great I sounded. It was a real lesson for me.”
When we let go of caring about pleasing or impressing others, it allows us to focus on what really matters. We get to enjoy what we are doing. And as a result, we are often able to be at our best and bring all of who we are to what we are doing.
My favorite voice teacher, Lillian Loran, once told me, “You have to do it for yourself.”
Now, I want to make one thing clear:
I’m not asking you to not care about your audience. Not at all. I’m asking you to stop caring about what they think. You can still care about them, appreciate them and want them to have a good time. Absolutely! You can still care about their desires and well-being and not care about what they think of you. In fact, your ability to appreciate and connect with your audience is essential to your ability to feel confident and at ease when speaking or performing. (We’ll talk more about this in Secret #5 & #6.)
Can you stop caring so much about what others think of you? Can you fully accept that what other people think of you is none of your business?
Can you care more about creating a positive experience for yourself and enjoying the opportunity to express yourself than you do about how you may be judged?
Can you acknowledge that caring about what others think is a waste of your time and energy? Can you acknowledge how it has caused you unnecessary anxiety, fear and suffering?
And can you start to imagine what your life would be like if you let go of your need to get the approval, admiration and acceptance of others? Just imagine.
The reason this Secret is so important is that our habitual concern about the judgment and opinion of others is the number one killer of our creativity and joy of self-expression. We have lost touch with our natural, wild joy in expressing ourselves, and our confidence when doing so, because we were taught to care more about fitting in, being liked or at least being accepted by our peers, our parents, our teachers and our community.
But whose life is this anyway? Isn’t time to take back what is rightfully yours? Reclaim that joy and freedom in your self-expression, whether you are speaking in public, performing or just answering a question. Enjoy it! It can be so much fun.
Public Speaking Self-Confidence Speaking Performing Performance Presentation Fear of Public Speaking Confidence Self-Expression