Here is an EXAMPLE that illustrates the PRINCIPLE of: “My vulnerability is my strength.”
In the early ‘90’s, I had the privilege while visiting Australia to be the first international presenter for the first national conference of the NSAA, the National Speaker’s Association of Australia.
When it came time for me to present before the group, a man named Jack volunteered to work with me. He stood tall, and carried himself with a dignity and strength of presence that revealed his wisdom and depth of experience.
When it came time for Jack to present his challenge in front of the group, he told us that he was afraid of being judged and made fun of– in fact, he admitted he was terrified about looking like a fool on stage. Especially before his peers, unlike his customary presentations where he was expected to be the voice of authority.
Sound familiar?
Utilising the “Double Extreme” technique I suggested that he “Exaggerate his worst fear of looking like a fool,” by turning this into a Monty Pythonesque scenario with my court jester hat on his head, while skipping around the room and delivering his message at the same time.
As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for him to quickly grow tired of looking like a fool once he had permission to do so. And then suddenly, he grew quiet, paused, and looked around at everyone watching him. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he said to the audience “All I want is to have you know how much I care.”
And in that moment, three of his fellow peers leaped forward and gave him a hearty hug, one of them exclaiming, “I’ve never felt you so real, so engaging and natural — in all the years I’ve known you!”
Weeks after this momentous moment, I received a letter from Jack in the mail, letting me know he had no idea how I was able to make such a swift shift with his style of delivery and that he will never be the same again.
Here are his words:
“Since the time we spent together at the National Speakers Association First National Conference, my presentations have improved in two major areas. Firstly, I am now inwardly so relaxed and confident. I find that I have developed an inner calmness that destroys all those little doubts I used to have prior to each presentation.
Secondly, and I am sure this is because of my more relaxed presentation, I am getting remarkably quick feedback from my audience that they are absorbing and enjoying the presentation.
In peer group presentations such as NSAA and SWAP the feeling extended by my peers at the end of each talk has been overwhelmingly kind.
I will never really understand how you were able to effect such a change in my work in so short a time. I do know that I owe you eternal gratitude for the help you have given me. Very many thanks,
Gary, I was so fortunate in being able to be in one of your sessions.”
Those few moments transformed this seasoned speaker’s style of communicating , once he was no longer afraid. In moving through his previous fear of looking like a fool and hiding behind the mask of being seen as an authority figure, that he was able to show the depth of his feelings on stage.
PRINCIPLE: In fact, the more any one of us puts into practice — with our thoughts, our spoken words, and our actions: “Sharing my caring is my strength, my tenderness is my strength, my heartfelt humanity is my strength, and “my vulnerability is my strength,” the more believable we are to ourselves and our audiences — in and on all stages of our life…
How does this EXAMPLE described above APPLY to you?
What do you have to let go of and receive for you to be
as caring and natural and engaging as you’ve always wanted to be?
What happens inside your body when you say the following (with full feeling) out loud:
“Sharing my caring is my strength.”
“My tenderness is my strength.”
“My heartfelt humanity is my strength.”
“My vulnerability is my strength.”