What is Holding You Back?
You communicate who you are.
Who you are and how you are shows up in your nonverbal communication. It shows up in your posture, your tone of voice, your sense of space, your gestures… I’ve said it over and over again in articles, workshops, and coaching sessions: “You communicate who you are.”
But <confession> it’s not really true.
It would be more accurate to say, “You communicate who you think you are.”
Unhappily, most people don’t think much of themselves. Even the people (especially the people) who put others down to prop themselves up, who brag and boast and condescend—the ones who act like they have it all together—don’t think much of themselves. In an effort to hide their sense of smallness, they put on a nonverbal show: rolling eyes, sneers, puffed out chests. They think they are not good enough and overcompensate. They communicate who they think they are: small, vulnerable, and in need of protection.
What is the truth?
In his book, The Charge, Brendon Burchard wrote, “Most of us are congruent with how small we think of ourselves… but we are not congruent in our everyday actions with how great we know we can be.”
Your limited concept of who you are hampers your ability to be fully yourself, to speak and act with confidence, to connect with others, and to lead your life.
How would you show up if you believed in your own capacity for greatness? How would you look if you knew you were “enough”? How would you communicate if you had an unwavering sense of self-worth?
I’ll tell you:
You’d stand up straight and tall.
You’d let others hear the weight of your words.
You’d be present.
You’d make larger, more purposeful gestures.
You’d be generous with your attention.
You’d speak up.
You’d listen up.
I train people to use these nonverbal communication techniques because changing your body can change your mind. When you put on these nonverbal skills, they won’t compensate for a negative self-image. But they can help you change your self-image. And the opposite can work, too: Change the way you see yourself, and you will change the way others see you, too.
You communicate not who you actually are, but who you think you are. Stop holding yourself back. Start thinking better of yourself.