5 Ways to Quiet Your Inner Approval Addict Before You Step on Stage

by Amy on September 22, 2015

Some day perhaps you too will speak on stage in your pajamas.

Some day perhaps you too will speak on stage in your pajamas.

A few years back, I had a client, we’ll call her Jenn, who was petrified of speaking in front of groups. Each time she stepped on stage, or even spoke up in meetings, she became paralyzed with anxiety. “What if I don’t know what to say next?” “What if I freeze?” “What if people see me struggling and I make them uncomfortable?”

Speaking in front of other people — whether it’s from the stage, over a conference call, or just at a party — is a huge part of being brazen. It’s about having an opinion, owning your opinion and voicing it in front of other people, knowing that what you have to say will be of service to YOUR tribe.

Many of my Monetizet Your Magic clients know that speaking is the fastest way, hands down, to create instant connection, gain visibility and grow a tribe of raving fans.

BUT it’s fricking scary as hell. Because…

You’ve got an Inner Approval Addict who won’t shut up. She doesn’t WANT you up on that stage! Like the worst helicopter parent, she wants you to stay SAFE. To your inner approval addict, expressing a veiw in front of other people whom you can’t control is akin to removing your clothes in a snow storm while standing in front of a saber toothed tiger.

She doesn’t get that you’ve got important work to do. And you’ve got to get into the discomfort zone to do it. The truth is she doesn’t want you to be of service to your tribe (if it means leaving yourself vulnerable to criticism, judgment or rejection).

So it’s your choice… Listen to her or do your thing. If you chose the latter…

I’ve asked Master Coach Linda Bucher the confidence coach for coaches to share a few tips to help you quiet your inner approval addict so you can actually get out there with your message and help some darn people…

Here are her top 5 Tips for Quieting Your Inner Approval Addict Before You Step on Stage:

1. Remind yourself that your talk might be a life changer for someone.

It’s common to worry that what you’re saying isn’t completely new or unique. And maybe it isn’t. Remember that someone in the audience – even if they’ve heard what you’re saying a hundred times before from other sources – may need to hear it from you, at that moment for it to really hit home. While you may not touch everyone with your speech, you’re definitely there for someone. And if you can help even one person, then you’ve fulfilled the purpose of your talk, haven’t you? Before you begin speaking, scan your audience, wondering who that person might be. Show up for him or her.

2. Set your audience’s (and your) expectation.

Your inner approval addict is happy to ask, “What makes you the expert? Surely, there are people in the audience who know more than you!”

And she’s right. You may not be the expert. In fact, someone in your audience may know more than you. So what? Easy for me to say, but how do you adopt the same untroubled attitude? Start your presentation with a statement like this:
“I don’t know everything, but I’m excited to share what I do know. I invite you to keep what resonates with you and I encourage you to toss the rest.”

When you open with a statement like this, your inner approval addict won’t even look up. And you won’t have to live up to some kind of know-it-all guru-like status because you’ve set the audience’s expectation dial to ‘human.’ An opening statement like this also gives the audience permission to take or leave what they’re hearing; it empowers them, disarming even the most disapproving would-be heckler.

3. Don’t be ashamed of what you don’t know.

Do you cringe at the thought of taking questions? What if someone asks you something you don’t know? Not knowing doesn’t make you less; it makes you human.

When you receive questions outside the realm of your expertise, mirror back the inquirer’s curiosity as you explain that you’ll do more research to find the answer. The inquirer will appreciate that response much more than hearing you grapple for an answer. And you’ll feel more relaxed, because you gave yourself permission to move beyond the question. Be who you are and know what you know – these are two things your inner approval addict can’t argue with.

4. Show up to give attention, not get attention.

The root cause of your inner approval addict’s panic is the fear of being judged. And when you’re worried about what people think of you, you’re making it all about YOU instead of THEM.

Your audience’s approval of you, your talk, the weather, and the latest fashions are firmly rooted in their own personal experiences, colorfully tainted by their own inner approval addict’s fears, moods and shortage of chocolate chips. You simply can’t control what another person thinks. You’ll be surprised at just how liberating this new paradigm can be and when you remind yourself of it, your panic will lessen considerably.

5. Make a just-in-case plan for “popsicle moments.”

So what do you do when your inner approval addict wakes up in the middle of your talk and puts a freeze on you? Panic. Well, that is, unless you have a plan to quick-thaw what I call popsicle moments (it’s when you freeze, get it?).

Plan for and be ready to execute one or more of these strategies to mollify your approval addict:

  • Use a 5-second grounding exercise to get you back to where you need to be… take a deep breath in, imagining that you’re breathing in courage and joy, and exhale out the fear.
  • Remind yourself not to make this about you. Remember that you’re here for someone. And remind yourself that you can’t control others’ perception of you.
  • Bring in the humor. You could say to the audience, “Oh sorry, I was all up in your business for a minute.” Or “Please enjoy the music while I get through this popsicle moment.” You’ve already set the stage that you’re human, so it’s all good.

(Linda says: Thanks to these strategies, I’ve never heard from my own inner approval addict when writing these tips. I showed up for you, being who I am, offering what I know. You can take it or leave it – it’s really none of my business. But if these strategies have helped just one person, then I achieved what I set out to do. And that’s enough for me.)

Your Turn:

What does your inner approval addict say to you when you’re speaking in front of other people? How do you deal? Please share!

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LindaLinda Bucher is a Master Certified Life Coach, Coach Mentor, Speaker & Author of The Confident Coach: Connecting the Work You Love to the Success You Want to Achieve. Known as “The Clarity and Confidence Coach,” Linda helps amazing coaches like you get clear, get confident and go BIG.

If you’re a coach and you thought you be further along in your practice…

You can join Linda for an indispensable hour and discover just what’s been keeping you indecisive, invisible, and immobilized in your coaching practice.

Secrets Training with Linda Bucher 1

She’ll share:

  • The 3 reasons why your ideal clients aren’t finding you
  • The 3 secrets to clarity and confidence
  • And the exact steps she takes her mentoring clients through to become the CLEAR, CONFIDENT, PRODUCTIVE, CLIENT-ATTRACTING COACH you thought you’d be by now.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dania September 24, 2015 at 1:54 pm

This is one of my all time favorite articles!!! The tips are spot on! I will make sure to keep coming back to this article whenever I forget the tips 🙂 Thank you!


Virginia September 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Like the popsicle image – and that it’s okay if it happens. Just push on. Sometimes it’s actually set me off into a better direction. It’s like the good inner voice had to tell me to re-direct. “Expert status” is over-rated; you are so right saying that helping one person gain an a-ha is sufficient. Thanks Linda for good tips and reminders to just be human.


Linda Bucher September 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

You’re welcome, Dania & Virginia! A popsicle moment can also be cleverly disguised as purposeful pause when you make eye contact with individuals in the audience. 🙂


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