|How many of you would like more Confidence?
For many decades, I used to teach people strategies to feel more confident – whether through NLP anchoring techniques, or through stepping into another person (in their imagination) and borrowing their confidence.
Doing something that changed either their physiology, or their mental focus, or their internal dialogue that made a difference.
It worked well enough for enough people for me to carry on doing this. I genuinely thought I was being helpful.
And then I had a huge insight about Confidence, and where it comes from.
I have a very dear Danish friend called Lise Dandanell, who I dubbed “The Heart Whisperer”. She’s a wonderful human being – just love personified really, and she happens to be a great singer. (Many years ago, Lise represented Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest, but that’s another story!)
I invited Lise to come and do her thing on my 3-day He’Art of Thriving workshop – as an optional evening session. It was so powerful that I’ve invited her back almost every time I’ve run the workshop over the past few years.
Essentially, after a few warm up exercises, Lise invites people in the group to come up to the front and sing a song – on their own. No musical accompaniment. Just them. The song should be one that means something to them.
This is something that most people are petrified to do, but there’s always one brave soul who volunteers and gets the whole thing started.
And here’s the thing: the exercise is not to do with how well they can sing. Doesn’t matter one bit whether they sound like an angel or a screeching cat.
Because then Lise works with them – just for five or ten minutes. She doesn’t focus on their singing voice, even though she is a trained singing teacher.
She brings them into connection with themselves – and then with the whole group.
This is a very rare and special experience for many, even most, people.
I”ve seen ruffty-tuffty CEO’s breaking down in tears and saying things like “That’s the first time I’ve connected with my true self since I was a small boy”.
The way she does it is remarkable – because it’s different each and every time. More than almost anybody I know, Lise trusts her wisdom – and just waits until exactly the perfect thing to do with each person comes through her. There is no formula.
She listens, with her heart fully open – and then does just a short but powerful piece of coaching – usually without words – however strange or bizarre it may look.
I’ve seen her have people do everything from crawling on the ground on their bellies (still singing all the while!), to becoming a statue in the middle of the room that is brought to life by the others in the group.
And then she asks them to sing the same song again.
Even though the singing is not the point, in many ways it’s also a metaphor for peak performance because – without exception – when people sing for the second time, their voices suddenly becomes about ten times better too.
My niece, Lucy, who is a brilliant singer, said afterwards that she learned more from this ten minutes than she had learned from ten years of professional singing lessons.
This is true confidence I believe – showing up with a heart fully open.
When people sing (or lead, or speak, or parent, or anything else) from this place, it just raises the roof.
I remember hearing Kevin Spacey speaking about acting in a way that echoes exactly the same point. He was saying that the best acting is about not acting.
“All an audience ever wants is for you to open up your chest and show them that you have a f****** heart. A heart. A human being. Not an affectation.”
What I see now that is I used to teach people confidence tricks. Affectations. Pretending to be something and somebody else.
There is nothing more beautiful than YOU being YOU – heart wide open. That unique expression of the infinite potential of the universe that is YOU.
Book your place NOW on the next He’Art of Thriving workshop – taking place 5 – 7 October 2016.
Find out more here