Do you ever diminish yourself or your abilities? A real communication challenge comes from not fully trusting your own ideas.
There are many ways we can short-change ourselves when we communicate our ideas – whether that’s to one person or a big audience. Today I’m talking about a common issue, with more to come in future posts.
Not trusting our ideas fully enough.
This one’s particularly for you if you’re in the business of creating change, influencing or persuading others.
Not trusting in the power of our ideas to make a difference in the world is often the biggest internal block we have to overcome.
Today’s one is very familiar to me! I suffered real insecurity about my worthiness to speak for a long time, and it stopped me from giving my opinions or sharing ideas, in case I sounded ignorant or silly.
And I’m not alone.
We tend to undervalue our ideas and opinions. Particularly if we’re sensitive to criticism, or perceived judgment. And let’s face it, sometimes the judgement is real.
Our audience or listeners take their cue from us
A comment about our audience:
Our listeners take their cue from us as we speak, so it’s important that we own our opinions. If we don’t believe in ourselves, it’s really hard for others to make that leap.
My own examples
As I get older, I’ve definitely got bolder. And when I started my own business, eventually I didn’t have the choice whether to step up or not: clients wanted my opinions, that’s what they were paying for, and being wishy-washy or people-pleasing wasn’t going to cut it.
I now have the mindset that if something doesn’t go to plan – well, the people who love me won’t stop loving me, and I won’t lose, but instead learn from the experience. Sometimes easier said than done, but it’s definitely a good mindset to have!
Starting my own business.
My partner gave me some very wise words too as I considered starting my own business: that if I wanted to step up and run workshops and lead a room, I needed to lead myself in my own life. I needed to step up, trust myself to follow through, and speak up.
On the negative side, my mother – who I believe meant well, and genuinely thinking it was helpful – once told me when I was a student, that I was great at following. That leadership wouldn’t be my role in life.
I look back now and see that she never felt as though she could lead her own life, and was projecting her own disappointments onto me. And no doubt trying to save me from future pain.
A recent real client example of when it goes right:
A client told me that she’d decided to resign from her corporate job, which freed her up to start speaking out and making suggestions more often. She’d always held back for fear of getting it wrong, or being judged.
“My whole experience at work has changed as a result” she told me. “My colleagues have started listening to, and respecting my opinions in a whole new way, and life in the office is so much more rewarding”.
As a result, my client’s ended up staying in that organisation!
Let’s assume that you don’t need to resign to create a mind-shift! One great solution is to remind yourself that you have something to offer, and reconnect with that again.
And if you’re thinking that you don’t have much to offer, that’s simply not true. We all do. We’re unique and valuable, and our perspective will always be useful to the right audience or listener.
And if we’re not talking to the right audience? Well that’s another topic entirely.
I’ve personally found it helpful to write down a list of reasons why and how I add value, and to regularly document my wins. When I need these, I whip them out to remind myself, and it’s usually enough to remind me to be bold again.
Sometimes all we need is a reminder.
Final thoughts on how not to diminish yourself and your abilities when presenting
If this idea resonates with you, why not try it out over the next week or so?
More tools for you coming in the next weeks.
You can practise some of the concepts in your personal life too, which is a great way to accelerate your progress, and really embed the concepts.