Today is Halloween! Memories of kids in costumes brought back a memory of one of my favorite success stories…Darci Lynne Farmer.
For those of you who don’t watch America’s Got Talent, Darci is this year’s winner. She’s a ventriloquist who sings through her puppets…and does so in amazing fashion. As one of the judges said most people can’t sing with their mouths open, much less through a puppet.
While that is a great story, you’re probably wondering what it has to do with confidence.
What makes Darci’s success even more fascinating is that her parents gave her a puppet because she was shy and withdrawn. Through her puppets her true personality emerged and, within 2 years, she transformed herself from a shy, insecure child into someone who was performing in front of millions of people.
The lesson from Darci’s backstory is that sometimes it’s easier for us to be more confident, feel more confident, when we’re playing a role. Somehow it feels safer. It’s the character that we’re playing that will be judged, not us.
Yet it’s precisely at that point that our nature, our individuality, our value and values emerge. That’s when we’re able to be who we were destined to be.
I’m not suggesting that you live in fantasyland, but I am suggesting that fantasizing can be a way to overcome what frightens us as it apparently did for Darci.
Visualizing may be a more descriptive term, but it feels clinical to me and I’ve seen too many people who visualize what they desire, then fail to act upon it. Fantasizing is a more playful term and, at heart, we’re all kids who want to play and have fun.
The key is to know that you’re playing a role and use the success you enjoy in that role to boost your confidence. If you can be that person while playing a role, there’s no reason why you can’t be that person in everyday life.
If you still feel that it’s too big a stretch to play the role you want to be while going about your normal routine, set up a role-playing game with family and friends and play it with some frequency.
Choose a role that reflects what you want to be, then live it to the fullest in the game. You’ll gain confidence in your ability to be who you’d truly like to be. You’re also likely to get a better sense for who you really are and what advantages being you has.
While playing Dungeons & Dragons with my nephews I discovered that I liked the sorcerer role the best. It combined the ability to work magic with the ability to learn on the fly and implement the magic I learned as quickly as I learned it.
In playing that role I realized that fit my natural style. I’m not into planning. I learn as I go, adapt to what I learn and implement what I learn as quickly as possible. In doing so, some suggest that what I do is magical.
There is a lot to be said for imagining yourself in a role to help you overcome things that make you uncomfortable in life. When my wife decided that she wanted to learn to scuba dive, I was shocked and dismayed. I not only was not a good swimmer, I feared the water.
Yet, immediately following a lesson, I’d revisit those exercises that made me uncomfortable looking for ways to make them comfortable. I always managed to find a way to overcome my discomfort. The next time I performed the exercise I did so with greater ease and confidence.
You can use this same technique…envisioning yourself doing what you fear, but without the fear. In doing so, you’ll boost your confidence and release power that you didn’t realize you had.
For our kids
When you find your kids struggling, get them to fantasize about what it would be like to live without that fear. Ask them to imagine how they could make that happen. Let them know that if they can see what it would be like in their mind’s eye, they can make it happen in real life.
Of course, they’re more likely to believe you if they see you using the same approach to great effect. Let them see your struggles and how you overcome them. Then they will believe that they possess that power as well.