When the new Star Wars movie comes out in December, Princess Leia will be back for the first time since The Return of the Jedi in 1983.
Which means we’re seeing a lot of Carrie Fisher these days. With a new hairdo (thank God those buns are gone) and a new wardrobe and a new 59-year-old face. She seems to be pretty comfortable with all of it.
In the 32 years since her last Star Wars appearance, Fisher has written books and screenplays. Performed her one-woman show, “Wishful Drinking.” And appeared in a long list of other films and TV shows.
She has spoken openly and eloquently about her challenges with drugs and bipolar disorder. And about what it takes to pursue your dreams. Even when it’s scary.
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” – Carrie Fisher
That quote grabbed my attention because so many people tell me they avoid speaking for lack of confidence. They’re waiting to get confident. Then, they say, they’ll be able to promote their business or their favorite cause by taking their place at the front of the room.
It came up again in a workshop last week. Someone who gets so nervous doing a stand-up introduction at a networking event that she can hardly finish what she’s saying.
I hear this a lot. Clients tell me they worry about what they will say, what they did say, what people will think of them, even whether they’re making sense at all.
And people who have a gift the world needs wind up keeping it to themselves for fear of expressing themselves. That’s just wrong.
I’m with Carrie Fisher. Don’t wait to be confident. Somebody needs to hear what you have to say. If you don’t say it, they lose out. And so do you.
This might help. If you feel fear about speaking, embrace it instead of trying to squelch it or make it go away.
Yes, the sensation can be uncomfortable. Some people experience their nervousness as a knot in their stomach. Or heat in their face. Or tightness in their throat. I get a sensation like a balloon blowing up just above my solar plexus … so I feel a pressure in my chest.
It’s all just energy.
And the truth is you need that energy. You will use the energy to influence the people you’re speaking to.
This might help. Imagine a ray of energy traveling from you to the individuals in your audience. So it’s not diffuse – it’s not just you giving off a glow. It’s a line of energy that moves from you to each one of the people you’re talking to.
That beam connects you to your audience. And the connection is one of the things you need if you want to have influence.
What happens when we get lost in our own thoughts? “Am I making sense? Do they like me? Are they going to say yes? And blahblahblah.”
Instead of going from us to the other people, the line of energy circles back and goes into our own head. That self-talk separates us from our audience, the connection is lost. And with it any hope we had of having impact and influence.
So to recap, go ahead and stay afraid of speaking. And do the speaking anyway. Use the energy that is your nervousness to forge a stronger bond with your audience. In the end, that connection is what they most want from you.
Comment below about how you can use this visualization.