Public Speaking – How to Beat the Epidemic of Not Enough


There’s an epidemic infecting the majority of the population of America. Maybe the world.

No, I’m not talking about avian flu, or malaria or hyperopia.
I’m talking about the Epidemic of Not Enough.

The symptoms to watch for are:

  1. a tendency to always think or feel that you are in some way not enough, that you are lacking some quality, skill, talent or characteristic.
  2. the thought that others may be able to be, have or do what they want, but you don’t get to.
  3. the feeling that you always need more of “something” (more money, more time, more training, more experience) before you can take action or succeed.
  4. feeling stuck, like you can’t move ahead or follow an impulse because you either talk yourself out of it, postpone it or doubt your ability to create a satisfactory result.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, don’t call your doctor. Chances are he’s got the same disease and won’t have a clue as to how to cure you.

In my work with clients, when someone is feeling nervous, anxious, scared or stuck about expressing themselves in public, it is almost always associated with what Kim George calls, The Illusion of Not Enough. (Kim is the author of “Coaching Into Greatness,” an amazing book that I am eating up right now.) This is when you start feeling extremely nervous and scared because you hold some belief or thought that you’re simply not up to the task of speaking or performing in public.

You tell yourself you’re not smart enough. Not polished enough. Not interesting enough, not attractive enough, not articulate enough.  Or, that you don’t have enough of something. For instance, you can’t do it until you more training, more time, more practice, more experience, a better outfit, the right atmosphere.

Stop and think about it. Is this sounding at all familiar to you? Can you identify the ways you may be the victim of Not Enough?

The tragedy of this Illusion of Not Enough is two-fold. One, it keeps you small, silent, scared and frozen in place. It prevents you from moving towards what you want and what you deserve.

But the even bigger tragedy is that it’s all a lot of hooey! It just isn’t true. It is, in fact, an Illusion. You ARE enough. Who says otherwise? As Kim George says, “Who’s holding the measuring tape?” And against what standard of measurement are they holding it?
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What a Violinist Can Teach You About Stage Fright

Whether you are speaking in public or performing, you may appreciate these tips from violinist Clayton Haslop. In his latest blog post, he coaches a nervous violinist on how to prepare right before a performance in order to play at his best from the get-go.

What I appreciate about Clayton’s tips are that they include the body-mind-emotion connection. He talks about warming up physically while belly-breathing, visualizing and focusing the mind on the desired outcome AND sinking into the feeling of what he is playing (or communicating).

And when you don’t have time to prepare as you would like, Clayton says:

You breathe, you count, and you visualize. You do not allow yourself to focus on minor, or even what you may regard as major errors. You focus on telling a story of the music, on painting pictures, on communicating a gift of love.

If you want some more ways to line up your body, mind and spirit before you speak or perform, be sure to sign up for the "Becoming Fearless" e-zine (sign up at the top of this page). There is always a feature article on how to become confident and at ease in your self-expression as well as a Quick Tip of the month.