What’s your story? It may not begin with a ‘Once upon a time’ and not exactly end with a ‘happily ever after’, but everyone has one. What is it that’s shaped your past, changed you as a person, brought you to where you are today? What I am about to tell you might just shape your tomorrow!
How The Past Shapes You
Let me tell you about my good friend and partner-in-crime, Jane, who helps me run Confidently Come Speaking. If you follow us (and if you’re not already, go ahead by clicking here!) you’ll see many pictures of her sharing her story and speaking to hundreds, if not thousands of people.
But Jane wasn’t always this way, in fact she was once afraid to even be seen. This came from an experience she had growing up where she won various sports awards. As Jane went to receive the awards, she had to stand up in front of many, many people.
And instead of feeling proud, she felt she was being judged by her friends and so she tried to shy away and hide her awards under the table. No prizes for guessing how this affected her later on!
If you too feel sick at the thought of delivering a speech in front of an audience, maybe something happened to you too. Maybe you were told to be quiet, made to feel inadequate or like you didn’t matter at some point.
Re-tell The Story
If this sounds familiar, then don’t worry. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re scarred for life and can never be good at public speaking!
What helped Jane become the speaker she is today was reshaping this memory she had. The realisation that, actually, she did nothing wrong, and that she was supposed to celebrate and be proud and be seen for her achievements.
Now it’s not just about reshaping your memories – it’s about reshaping your fears too. Is it judgement you fear? Try thinking of it as just ‘an opinion’ instead. I mean, everybody is entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, right?
Your Role As A Speaker
Yes, opinions are like black holes that never end and come from everyone. And yes, they won’t always be positive. That’s another thing you have to keep in mind when public speaking – not everyone is going to like you! You could be the ripest, juiciest cherry in the fruit bowl and yet there will be people who don’t like cherries.
But you have to remember that your intentions, as a speaker, are good. You are there to tell your story, to share your passion, and your purpose. It’s not about boasting, it is about sharing with a view to helping your audience.
If anything, having a powerful story and aspirations and choosing to keep it to yourself could be seen as selfish. I mean, what’s the point of all your precious life experience and lessons learned if you don’t share it. Who could you be helping, that would never be helped if you don’t?
Your Story Starts With You
Your speech is all about you. It’s YOUR story, or YOUR product or service. So, you are the one who writes the script, not your past. If something did happen to you, that made you feel afraid of speaking up, you don’t need to stay afraid. You don’t need to live by the same rules as you used to, and you don’t need to feel guilty either.
Chances are, most people become affected by something at a young age, because as children we absorb everything around us, and remember it too.
And because adults often don’t explain reasoning to children, children fill in the gaps with their own interpretation. And that is always – that it is in some way their fault.
I used to know a bloke whose father died at 70 from stomach cancer and whose mother left home when he was 6. He lived his entire life believing those things to be his fault. We can look at it from the outside and say – that is crazy, but for him it was his truth.
So, think about what it is in your story that you need to change. What new interpretation do you need to give something so that it supports you. Then think about how you can use your experience to inspire others. You won’t change everyone, in the same way you yourself don’t get on with everyone. But that’s life.
If you want to take up this public speaking journey, I recommend watching my newest uploads on YouTube, where I’ve been sharing step-by-step videos on how to conquer your fears and share your story successfully. You can find them here.
P. S – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Gaining Self-Respect‘
“I’m on a global mission to help 10 million disheartened souls, who are at a crossroads, to STOP asking why me? And START saying why not me!”