Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s vodka shots? One of the questions I get asked the most is how in the world do I get on stage and do stand up. I wasn’t born with super powers that allow me to not feel any judgement, nor do I pretend to be someone who doesn’t care what other people think.
In fact, for most of my life I would consider myself a MAJOR people pleaser. I’m a 9 on the enneagram folks. I am a true 9. Meaning my natural tendency is to keep the peace and I care A LOT about what other people think. So much, that I would often do or say things just to make people happy and at the detriment to myself and my own integrity.
So how did a recovering people pleaser scardy cat translate to having the confidence to get up on stage and tell jokes? I’ve come up with a few tips on how I gained confidence even when I’m felt so uncomfortable that I wanted to crawl into a hole and never return. At least until someone told me to!
If you’re afraid of it, you must do it!
Sorry to break it to you, but this one is true. If you believe that life is meant for learning, which I do, you gotta move towards anything that scares the shit out of you. I’s a big indicator that there’s something amazing in it for you to learn or master. Stand-up was an extreme for me, but I needed the big lesson. When you conquer huge fears it flows over into every area of your life. Once I started, I felt myself being more honest and confident in all my relationships, including the one with myself.
Take baby steps (3 foot tosses)
I didn’t go from being a terrified to talk in class to killing it on stage. I took tiny little steps every day to achieve my goal. I took a stand up class, then I made it a goal to do 2 open mics a week. I also made it a goal to start speaking up more regularly. As I made progress, I gained confidence and I took on bigger things. One of my favorite tools for this is called the Kaizen Method. Kaizen is an approach to creating continuous improvement based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements. Accomplishing small tasks builds self-trust and integrity with the most important people in our lives, ourselves! To learn more about the Kaizen method check out one of my favorite books here .
Ask yourself questions and instead of judging the answer, keep what the people call a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. It’s key to gaining true confidence at any level.
Visualize yourself as you want to be
Begin with the end in mind! If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere, and you may not like it! It’s always a good idea to lay out what you want to accomplish. There are so many fun ways to do this. One of my favorite ways to do this is to grab a friend who’s down to clown and talk to them as if your dream has already happened. So, it might look like this.
You: Duuuuude you will never guess what I did last night?
Fun friend: What?
You: I was on stage speaking too 4,000 people!
Fun friend: That’s amazing TELL ME MORE!
You: OK, you should have seen their faces! Everyone was laughing and having the best time! I remembered all my lines and I was killing it! I felt so alive and on purpose. The room was LIT UP!
They key here is to really focus on the feelings you want to feel when you achieve that confidence or that goal. Find someone that wil get you amped up. Our minds don’t know the difference betweeen reality and a well imagined fantasy! When we focus too much on form, we miss the magic. You are looking to call in the vibration, not necessarily the venue, the timing, etc. Leave the details up to your higher power, universe, God, whatever term works for you.
Our minds need somewhere to go. How often do you make things into worst case scenarios? A teacher once told me it’s foolish to lose in your own fantasies. The future is always made up, might as well make it amazing!
Although this is a very surface level explanation of what I have done to gain more confidence, I hope it helps you at least get some ideas. One of my main encouragements in additon to these tips would be to watch that inner critic. How you talk to yourself while you’re leaning a new skill is so imporant. You would never critize a new baby learning to walk, treat yourself with the same kindness when learning anything new. After all, we are here to learn and grow!