One thing that’s sure to limit our potential as human beings, is worrying about what people think about us.
Terry Cole-Whittaker wrote a wonderfully-titled book called What You Think of Me is None of My Business.
Damn straight it’s not...at least it shouldn’t be.
The nature of growing up in packs (communities), such as going through school, church, or even playing sports, has a tendency to leave a mark on us—by being molded into what’s acceptable. For better or worse, our species tend to “get in line” with the tribe.
After all, who wants to be kicked out of the group? In fact, it’s likely the number one reason why public speaking sends a chill down our spine. A couple of weeks back I described it like this…
Doesn’t it make sense? Just as we’d avoid stepping out of line in a social situation, for instance, wearing nothing but a g-string to a baptism, it’s the same reason we avoid (or dread) getting in from of an audience.
It’s that there’s a chance we could be ostracized, or criticized. Or called crazy. Stupid. Foolish. Smelly pants Magee.
Understandable for sure. Sadly, plopping yourself in front of an audience is going to agitate those fears, so we either manage them, or we suffer like a frog in a bowl of acid.
A better idea would be to build your immunity to "what-others-think-about-me-itis" before ever stepping foot in front of an audience.
You with me? I said ARE...YOU...WITH...ME?
How Can We Do This?
By doing visualization exercises of course!
Now, now, hear me out. I used to think they were scammy and only peddled by gurus looking for your wallet.
I was embarrassed at the mere thought of using them. I mean, what the heck would my friends think if they found out? Oh right. This article seeks to cure those worries, so read on.
Visualizations truly are effective, more so when you do them often.
What does “often” mean?
As soon as you become aware of an “outside looking in” series of thoughts, that is, when your first thought is “what would (enter some person or group) think?” instead of “I want to (enter action you wish to do) do this, and I’m going to,” then it’s time to bust out a can of visualizations.
The objective is to build an immunity to the thoughts of others (what you IMAGINE that others are thinking or saying about you). So, the more often you do them, the stronger your mental defense will become.
In case you’re thinking these aren’t practical because it will take 20-30 minutes, let me stop you right there. Mental images (visualizations) are instant. You can “view” an entire episode in less than 5 seconds.
My recommendation, however, is to take your time building your visualization (at first). The purpose is to clarify your thoughts and mental pictures.
In a way it’s like developing a speech from scratch. Initially it will be choppy, but with time you polish your speech’s message. Same with creating your visualizations. The first time you visualize your scene, there will be extras in it, cameras and audio equipment will be scattered everywhere, and perhaps actors will be sitting around a table snorting cocaine.
But as you go through it a few times, it will become crystal clear and you’ll be able to call upon it on demand. As this happens, your visualizations will be near instant in terms of effectiveness.
Here Are 3 Visualizations You Can Use Today:
1. The Iron Man Visualization
My main squeeze right here. This visualization has worked wonders for me so I’m listing it first.
Let’s start visualizing!
You are wearing Iron Man’s suit. Surrounding you is an ocean of people. The herd runs on for miles.
You do a full 360 degree turn and all you see are scowls, frowns, and clowns. They are hurling the most hurtful words at you with criminal intent. They want you to fail and they know your insecurities.
The only problem, not so much for you, is that nothing can penetrate your iron suit. Nada. It’s steel versus bubbles.
All you can do is smile. The herd starts to realize what you have realized: it’s hopeless. Their words aren’t having any effect on you.
They begin to tire and slowly the herd begins to thin—walking away like defeated zombies.
You are free to live as you please. Nothing anyone says can stop you.
2. The Electrically-Charged Orb Visualization
A circular sphere of energy hovers a few feet above your head. It follows you everywhere.
It closely resembles a planet with a purple haze swirling around it. It’s like an electrically-charged magnet that attracts ALL negativity.
Every single negative thought, word, pain, etc. is absorbed into this ball of matter, unable to escape.
Imagine you’re a one-person parade and you’re walking down a long street. No cars are present, but on both sides of this long strip of street are thousands of onlookers.
These people hate you and their words manifest into physical arrows as they race toward your face.
Only, they never hit the intended target (you). Like heat-seeking missiles chase heat, these arrows quickly redirect to toward the sphere of energy that’s floating above your head.
You are safe. You are free. Now go and do.
3. The Bird Cage Visualization
Imagine you’re sitting near a lake or in an empty field—some sort of peaceful place. Now, imagine you’re sitting Indian-style inside of a giant bird cage that’s hanging or floating in the air (about 5 feet off the ground).
Forming a circle around the cage is a mob of indignant SOBs. You’re about to make waves in the world. They’re pissed; you’re the target.
Each member of the hater squad is reaching up and grabbing the bottom of the cage. With all their might they are attempting to shake the hell out of your cage.
But the cage remains still. Unmovable.
The people, on the other hand, are shaking uncontrollably as if being electrocuted.
While this is going on you are completely still. Your eyes are closed and peace is the only thing on your mind.
Your mind is impenetrable.
Let's close it up...
What I’ve given you are ready-to-use templates.
You might already have a better visualization movie that resonates with you. If so, use it. Or, tweak these to your liking.
There are no hard rules for creating them, except that they must help you alleviate the pressure of having to please everyone and their momma.
And remember, what someone thinks about you is none of your damn business!
Please share this post. But actually do it, don't just visualize yourself doing it 🙂
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life and it can change yours, too. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.