2 Simple Decisions That Can Transform Your Confidence And Your Life
Do you walk tall? Do you speak up often, share your ideas, and use a tone of voice that commands authority, attention, and respect?
If not, then you have to listen to this episode! Dr. Aziz sheds light on the biggest obstacles to speaking up more clearly and showing up taller and bigger, literally. You will also learn how to transform these two simple things to bring about a massive boost in your social confidence.
Click below to hear this episode!
It’s The Little Things
Hey, welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today, I am going to be sharing something with you that is incredibly valuable, can really make a big shift in how you feel about yourself, and how others see you and the results that you get in your life. And it’s very basic, it’s very simple…there are these small/tiny tweaks that anyone can make and you can do this. You can do this starting today, (like) as soon as you are done listening to this episode, you can go out into the world, start applying the stuff and start noticing a significant shift in your experience. So, I’m really excited about this. This comes directly from recent sessions that I’ve been doing individuals and some group coaching clients, so I really want to share this stuff fresh with you. This is what’s working for people in their lives, these are the tiny tweaks that we can make.
If you listen to any other episodes of this show or watch my YouTube videos or any of my programs, I’m a big believer and we don’t want to have some big idea like `oh man, I have this major social anxiety disorder’ or `oh man, I’ve really always been this awkward person, that’s just who I am,’ and we have this big identity about why we are the way we are and how permanent it is…how much it’s just a part of our personality and anytime we are doing that we are really limiting ourselves.
The truth is, it’s always a series of little things. That’s what your day is, right? It’s a series of small moments. So there is no `me’ always in conversations, there is `you’ in this conversation and then there is `you’ five minutes later in that conversation…and then three days from now in that conversation. Each one is an opportunity to show up slightly different. It doesn’t have to be 180° shift, you don’t have to go from feeling really nervous and shifty eyed and blushing a lot and not talking to kicking open the door with two machine guns Rambo-style and just dominating the meeting. It doesn’t have to be that extreme, just a subtle shift…just a little shift and that is what I want to share with you today.
I also want to take just a moment right now to thank you for joining me in this podcast. Some of you might have been listening for months, some from the very beginning, for some of you this might be your first show that you’re listening to me…and it doesn’t really matter – I just want to thank you because your focus on yourself, your willingness to learn and to grow is inspiring. It is powerful and that’s what I’m here to do; it’s to share. So, without you I would have no one to be talking to. I really want to thank you. I’m excited to share with you and if this is your first episode, go back and listen to a bunch of other good stuff because they all build on each other and you will probably find that there is a lot of really useful, actionable content. Let’s dive into it right now.
Stand Tall and Speak Up!
Today’s episode is about Stand Tall, Speak Up… Stand Tall, Speak Up. So, this conversation that we are having right now is going to be my call to you to stand tall and to speak up…speak the f*ck up, this is going to jolt you, this is going to energize you to break through whatever pattern has been holding you back…holding you small…holding you quiet…keeping your voice in…keeping your body small for so long. What do I mean by these two things?
First of all most people (myself included) have a pattern that’s bringing us downwards and inwards. It’s like our shoulders want to round over and our head wants to go down and our neck wants to go forward. That might be from years of sitting at computers but it’s also a way of trying to protect ourselves from rejection and other painful feelings in our hearts. We are trying to cave in and physically, on a subtle level protect our hearts and then our muscles start to weaken and atrophy and it becomes harder and harder to just stand tall.
When I say stand tall, I mean that in a literal way, not some metaphorical way about standing up for yourself or standing for something you believe in. I mean literally standing as tall as you can. This is really simple, as I said in the beginning of the show, but super-important. In fact, just right now I would like you to stand tall, as tall as you can and if you are driving then sit as tall as you can but an even better experiment – as soon as you get out of your car, experiment with standing as tall as you can.
When most people hear that they think `okay, I’m going to puff my chest out and I’ve got to walk around with this stiff kind of posture.’ It’s actually not that at all. It’s – imaging that there is a string…so you are standing on your two feet, make sure your weight is balanced between the two so you are not lilting way over to one side. So you are standing on both feet and imagine there is a string going through your whole body and coming up the top of the crown of your head, which is like the very top of your head – not your forehead but in the back of the top of your head where there’s that little curl of hair or where, if you are fortunate enough to have a bald spot, then that’s where it would be. It is pulling up the string, pulling you up gently and continually, expanding your spine. And then your body can just casually and comfortably hang from that string as it’s being pulled higher and higher and taller and taller. As you do that your neck starts to come more in line with your spine and you can bring your shoulders slightly back.
What does it feel like to stand tall? Is it something you do often? Is it something you never even think about? Is it something that feels physically uncomfortable? In your body the muscles are weak or this is where it gets fascinating. Does it feel emotionally uncomfortable? I have an interesting story to share about that in a few minutes. That’s what I mean by standing tall.
What do I mean by speaking up?
I mean literally speaking up, speaking louder than you do. Most people who are not showing up as confident as they want in their life, maybe they feel anxious around people or hesitant or self-doubting, when they are in those states of self-doubt…of social anxiety…of anything else…low confidence, we tend to speak a lot quieter. Don’t we? Say we have an idea that we want to share at work and we are like `hey…ha…well I…you know I’m not…I’m not…I think that it might be beneficial if we changed the message that we were doing because I have been studying this a lot and I think that it actually is more effective if we teach it this way.’ What kind of effect is that going to have in your workplace, in our environment? Listen to how I’m talking to you right now. I’m in a little recording area, I don’t need to be belting it like I am but I do because there is force and power and conviction. Imagine if I came out here and I said `h e y…ah… welcome to Shrink for the Shy Guy…there are some stuff today that we could be talking about…t h a t might be…it could help…it could help you…not sure…maybe if I get really really quiet I’ll be invisible.’
That’s what this is about, right? The not standing tall and the not speaking up, at the root of it is: trying to be invisible. Part of us doesn’t want to be seen, part of us doesn’t want to be acknowledged – even if another part of us gets pissed off about it and say `why are people ignoring me?’ But another part of us does want to be ignored, that’s why we are not speaking up. That’s why we have a habit of not speaking up and standing up because we do want to be ignored. Now, why on earth would part of us want to be ignored? You might already know the answer to that question but it’s a fascinating one. Sit tight; think on that for a second, we will be back right after this.
So, did you think about why would you want to be invisible? Why would some part of you want to be invisible? Not all of you, I understand there is a part that wants to step up and kick ass… and get the girl…and get the job…and get the money…and get the contract…but there is another part of you that doesn’t want to do that. So, what’s going on there? Well, what would stop you from speaking louder and standing taller? What would you be scared of? What would stop you? What comes to your mind? Again, if you were to say `you know what, I’m going to go speak louder right now, all day long and I’m going to stand a lot taller now, all day long,’ what would get in the way? It’s great to think about it because I’m going to share a handful right here that I’ve seen in myself and others, and there is more. You’ve got to find the ones for you. You might resonate with all the things that I say. At the end of the day though, your own exploration…your own inquiry into this stuff is going to set you free. And so, when I ask questions, I want to really encourage you to think about them. If you are alone somewhere, actually speak them out because that will engage your brain in a more powerful way and the shift – the change in your life will be more impactful because this show is not just about entertainment and as entertaining as I clearly am, it’s not about that…it’s about you going out and doing something different in your life right after you listen to it. Right? That’s what you want. That’s why you are doing this because you want to break free. So, the more you can engage and think about the questions, the more you are going to break free.
So, what gets in the way? What stops us from standing taller and speaking up? Well, obviously, the number one thing that stops us from doing anything is fear. Let us look at some of the fears:
People are going to judge me.
There was a client that I was working with. He came out to Portland to work with me. He was in one of the groups I was doing. I do a lot of phone coaching and Skype and stuff but I love when people come in the group things that we do and the Confidence Mastermind that I run, people come out and we do a small, eight-person, private, weekend intensive where we go real deep, they are really powerful. I love it because I can see the people in action. I can see how they interact with each other, I can see how they walk down the street and it’s just such a phenomenal opportunity for little tweaks…little feedback from me and others in the group. There was one guy who… he had sort of (like) a shuffle. His shoulders were rounded, his head was down and he (kind of) shuffled back and forth. He wanted to be more confident in a lot of areas – in his career, dating, and all these things. When we had him go out into Portland and do things I noticed when he was shuffling along he didn’t look very confident and he didn’t feel very confident. I was like `well, you’ve got to start with the body, start with the physiology, so let’s change this. So we worked on it for example, `what would it feel like to stand up like this,’ I did the thing with the string, and I did a number of other exercises to help him find that ability in his body to stand fully upright. Now he’s standing up fully tall and instead of having him shuffle, I’m having him stride or better yet – strut; walking down the street like he owns the place. I got him laughing, he started doing that and we’re doing little side areas when no one is around – and he’s doing it. Then we get into a crowded area and VROOPH, his body goes right back down to where it was. I was like “whoa, whoa, that was fascinating, what happened there?” And he said “I just feel like if people saw me walking like that they’re going to think that I’m arrogant, that I’m full of myself, they’re going to notice me and not in a good way.” I said “interesting,” and I bet that fear is true for a lot of us. If I really stand up and stand tall I’m going to stand out and people are going to see me and then they are going to think `oh wow, look at that guy he looks great.’ They are going to think `who does that guy think he is? Arrogant bastard.’ So, we want to examine that story, that idea, that belief. We want to really slow down and look at it because…think about that…is it really true? Think about people in your life and people who are standing tall. Do you think they are arrogant? In my experience, we actually are more attracted to people who are standing tall and firm in themselves, there is something compelling about them…something solid. They come across as more grounded, more confident, more attractive, more credible, more…(like)…strong…`I want to follow this person.’ In fact, it’s the opposite of what he was thinking and the reality is that: yes, we might stand out more for standing up tall, and that’s a good thing. He wanted to date women; women are going to notice you more if you are standing up tall, versus slumped over, versus head down and eyes to the ground. Boom! If you are up tall, yes, people are going to start noticing you and no, people aren’t going to start judging you. If there is the random one out of a hundred person who is walking on the street and is so focussed on other people in judging them, that’s what he does all day and (like) `look at that guy six people in front of me walking down the street, he’s got awfully good posture, he’s standing up tall…arrogant bastard.’ Okay, let that guy live in his pool of misery and don’t lower yourself to that lowest common denominator; stand tall, step up. Everyone else is going to appreciate it (and you are going to appreciate it) – except for that guy but don’t let that guy dictate what you can do.
Another fear that stops people from doing these things – there was one client I had who spoke very quietly. He was very established in his profession but other people didn’t take him as seriously because he would talk so quietly. We experimented in conversations we would have with him, we would have him `speak louder.’ One of the fears he had was:
“I can’t just go to work and do that.” I said “why not?”
“Oh, people are going to notice that I changed.” “And…?”
“And judge me.”
It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? `They’re going to judge me!’ And even that – is that intolerable? Do we want to live our lives and mold our entire lives and make our decisions based upon avoiding people judging us? I’m not talking about people judging you for doing something that is really inappropriate, or aggressive or hurtful…like I’m going to go slap around this little child in public), then yes, people might judge you and maybe you might want to take those judgements into account. `Stop beating up that kid, you jerk.’ When you are doing something that is in the service of your growth, that is not hurting anybody, that is just you being your authentic self…your bold self…your playful self…your courageous self…your dynamo, money-making, powerful self…your sexy, attractive, `date-me’ self. If someone judges you when you are doing all of that, that’s just their own stuff, it’s their own insecurity, their own self-dislike. I know that might sound confusing and I don’t know if I want to go down that rabbit hole but here is the still version: when we are judging someone from being freer than we are, it means that on some level we wish we could do that. For example, I used to judge people when they were dancing. And guess what? I was terrified to get on the dance floor. I used to judge people who were confident and smooth and could just walk up to groups of people. We are just judging for all kinds of things: their hair, looks, clothes, this and that… But why? Because I was aching inside as I felt I couldn’t do what they were doing. That’s why people are going to judge you, and don’t want to make that control your freedom or your life. Do you? I hope not.
Let us look at a few more fears and then we want to talk about the most important thing: getting free of them.
Another fear that a client of mine had was – if I’m standing up tall and speaking up louder, it’s going to look like I’m trying too hard. He had a word for it, he called it try hard. He said “that sounds a little try hard.” He said it with finality for example:
“that’s a little try hard” and nodded his head as if that ended the discussion as if “I can’t be a try hard, that sounds stupid.”
I was like: “what is a try hard? What do you mean?”
He said “well, it’s like (you know) you’re kind of eager and desperate and trying too hard.”
And I said “well, I guess you could be doing that by going around saying look at me I’m standing up tall, look at me I’m standing taller.” That’s not what I’m talking about, that’s not what you’re doing.
That is just another story, or reason, or fear that you are using to cut off doing something that is outside your comfort zone. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. It just makes me uncomfortable and I’m afraid that it’s different…it’s unusual but we have to be willing to step outside of our comfort zone. If you listen to any other shows you know this by now that if you really, really want to break free in your life and get to the next level of confidence and then all the good things that come with confidence – friendships, dating, relationships, better career, better enjoyment in your career, doing more of what you love – that all starts with confidence and that all begins with regularly going outside of your comfort zone as you can’t have both at the same time. You can’t live a life of continually staying in your comfort zone and a life of big confidence and kicking ass and really getting what you want and feeling fulfilled – those are opposites. So, we’ve got to get out of our comfort zone, stand tall and step up, speak up and share your voice. Are you inspired, are you excited, and are you ready to go do this? Maybe you are like – Yeah! Put me out there! Maybe you are a little hesitant…and I don’t know how. We are going to take a quick break and we are going to get into exactly how to stand tall and speak up; right after this.
It’s time to break free, to step up. Are you ready to step up? Let’s try that again: are you ready to step up? Remember you want to play full out here. That’s the part where you say “yes”. In fact, let’s make it a little more powerful – say: I step up. Why don’t you say that one right after me: I step up. (I want you to hear when I hit my chest) – I step up! Good – say it again – I step up! Why don’t you say it again – I step up! Can you feel that? Maybe you are just listening to me and saying `this guy is crazy,’ but maybe you are doing it and if you do it and you say it like ten times in a row, you are going to feel the power of it and that’s the power that is going to help you break free, it’s the power that is going to give you the ability to do something different and not be so stuck in `what if someone out there doesn’t like it?’
So, let’s break free. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
We talked a little bit about the string…about standing tall. Another great exercise is to go to a flat wall with nothing on it and put your heels against the base board at the bottom of the floor, make sure your butt is touching the wall and then your upper shoulders and the back of your head. So, you are (kind of) using that like a board. It’s a little tough at first because your body is not used to it and some muscles might be weak. Do it for two minutes (set a timer)…do it for 120 seconds…and then do that once a day. That will actually strengthen the muscles in your body and it will give you a marker or a sense of what it feels like to actually stand tall. I recommend that as much as you can sit tall as well, that is powerful too. I understand that one takes a lot more development of your spine and a willingness to be uncomfortable in some ways.
So, stand tall. In terms of speaking up, this one is really good. There is an exercise I learnt from a voice coach (he is a singing and voice coach). He helped me when I was recording the audio version of book The Solution to Social Anxiety. I noticed that my voice was cracking more than I wanted it to and it was really annoying. It’s like I would be recording a bunch of stuff and then I would be finishing a sentence and I would be trying to finish it strong like “…and that why you need to go out and do…” and it would be like this…[speaker’s voice sounding cracked] and I would have to go and record it again. So, he taught me stuff about breathing (which I don’t know if I’m doing right now) but one thing he had me do was just practise expanding my voice, getting more power in it…more force in it. One exercise he had me do (which was great) was to stand in the corner of this room and he wanted me to shout out “hark, who goes there?” You put your right hand on your stomach (or your left hand if you are left handed) and when you say “hark” your stomach is supposed to spasm in, like you are sucking in your stomach and using the force of that to say `hark’ – Hark, hark! Who goes there? The same thing with the `who goes there’ – Who goes there? So, your stomach is quickly going in when you say `hark’ and quickly going in when you say `who goes there’. You want to get louder and louder with this. In fact one of the clients I recommended this for, he drives to work and I told him to practise this on his way to work…just introduce himself, for example, “hi, I’m Aziz” and saying it louder than you normally would. In this case, let’s say there’s a volume knob from 0 – 10, where 0 is not audible at all (it’s too quiet) and 10 is like yelling (over the top), you want to see where you would normally talk, where do you talk when you get nervous or uncomfortable. Maybe you talk normally at 3 or 4 and when you get nervous you talk at a 2 or 3. This might be an issue for you, you might want to speak up more. So, what you want to do is when you are in your car or some place where you are alone or you feel comfortable, you want to be doing it at an 8 or a 9. In your car you want to be yelling (it’s going to feel like yelling to you) – because you are going to be using your voice, your lungs, your throat, your body – in a totally different way. Then, when you get to work, your date, or your party or social situation whatever it is, talk it like a 5 or 6…talk slightly louder than you normally do. For example, “hey there, I’m Aziz, it’s nice to see you” – that might be a 3 or a 4, bring it up to a 5 or a 6, a little bit louder it’s a subtle shift, people are not going to say `hey dude, are you yelling?’ although it might feel that way to you. The client I was working with felt he was yelling just by turning the knob to 1 or 2 but experiment with it, you just want to turn it up slightly. If you say `oh, but I can’t do it, I just can’t speak up in certain situations,’ you are selling yourself a big pile of horse shit. That is a linguistic trick that our mind pulls. All the time – `I can’t…I tried but I couldn’t…I can’t.’ That’s putting it in the realm of being not physically possible but that is absolutely false. Unless you have some very specific genetic or medical condition that prevents you from using your voice louder, then you can. The truth is, `I can and I am uncomfortable.’ That is more true, isn’t it?
Focus on what the fears were for you, write out your own, think of them, bust through and break through and find out whatever it is that you need to in order to challenge them so that you can face them, step up and speak up. As you do, first of all, you are going to feel more confident and secondly you are going to get such better responses from the entire world. Women are going to respond better to you if you are interested in dating, people are going to hear you more, people are going to think what you say is more engaging, people are going to listen to your stories more, people are going to think you are funnier, people are going to think your ideas are more intelligent, credible and have more authority to them. It’s amazing what a powerful voice tone and a tall posture will bring in terms of confidence and your impact on people. So, if you want to be more persuasive, more influential, more powerful, perceived in better ways as more of a leader, more of an authority, then you are going to break through whatever fear is stopping you. Here is the truth – this is who you really are; when you watch little kids, they stand up tall, they have incredible posture. Right now, my son is 2 and sometimes he is really nice and pets the cat really gently and sometimes the cat walks in the room and he just screeches, puts on his battle cry until that poor cat runs out of the room. This is in all of us but we have learnt and be conditioned to shut up. Let’s break free of all of that.
Now, before we end we have got to get into your action steps. Your action step today is short and simple. It is these two things:
Stand tall and speak up. You’ve got tons of tips and tricks and specifics on how to do it. Your action step is to do it! Speak up louder this week and maybe even more…maybe even not just your volume but the amount that you share your voice. We didn’t cover that today but that’s part of speaking up as well. So your action step is to stand tall and speak up. Let me know how it goes.
Go to www.shrinkfortheshyguy.com. We have a facebook page too, go to facebook.com\social confidence. You can share more about your experiences there and also send me messages and emails to shrinktotheshyguy.com. I would love to hear those stories. So kick ass, get out there and really apply this. You are going to notice some profound shifts quickly. Thanks for joining me today. Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level, that you are awesome! Talk to you soon.
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