Thomas Edwards


Tips from a Professional Wingman on How to Find Your Confidence

Key Takeaways

On psychology:

I tend to focus a lot on two things, your physiology and your psychology, understanding how your body functions when you're in various environments and what happens when you get exposed to different things and then also your psychology and the same thing. What happens when someone tries to rattle you or shake things up?

What is your psychology? How do you behave in terms of your reactions or your non-reactions? What I've been able to do and see with my clients is they become to understand – this actually translates very well into speaking – when you actually understand how your body functions and you get over the fact that this is wrong for your body to function that way and you just own it, then it makes it a lot easier for you to have a clear psychology going into whatever it is that you're going through and going into.

Even if you go into something fully prepared and someone tries to throw a wrench in the gears or something comes up that was completely unexpected, your mind is clear enough to start spontaneously respond accordingly or not depending on – what kind of result you're trying to achieve.

On confidence and comfort zones:

Whenever you're outside of your comfort zone, it's uncomfortable. That's why it's called outside of your comfort zone.

But, as you continue to expose yourself to that kind of environment, while you're paying attention to your body and what your mind is going through, become more and more comfortable.

Your comfort zone expands to that area where you once felt uncomfortable. There aren't any magic bullets or quick fixes for that, but that's good because once you're constantly exposed to that environment and you become used to it, your mind and your body becomes clear of any objections or obstructions.

Being reactive to certain things becomes a lot easier. Being quicker on your feet becomes a lot easier. Being patient and calm and projecting more confident energy becomes easier and more natural, so it does play along with the fake it 'til you make it, but it's more of just expose yourself so you can become very, very comfortable.

Anything that‟s worth having never exists inside the comfort zone. It's important for you to be able to see that and be able to put yourself out there and continuously put yourself out there.

On taking chances:

Just like going into a board room, if there are high stakes and you‟re nervous about it, more reason enough than to go in there and try to blow things out of the water. The same thing with walking on stage, if you feel like you‟re not sure what 1,000 people are going to respond to you, then it‟s even more of a reason to go out there and explode with something, especially right out of the gates to get people engaged.

Danger vs. fear:

There's no danger in expressing yourself. Danger is a physical thing. Things can be dangerous. If you were going to play around with a mountain lion, that is danger. I can understand the danger with that, but fear is something that we create through our imaginations based on something that hasn't happened or yet or doesn't exist at all. When you understand that, then it makes things a lot more tangible in terms of what you're capable of doing.

On preparation and winging it

But, for me, my perspective has always been if you‟re an expert in something and you‟re really passionate, then there should be no one on this planet who knows more about the topic than you do, so why do you need to prepare?

You already know the message that you are going to deliver. I think it's better to speak from passion and not necessarily come out as polished or as formal, but do it in a way that's authentic and genuine and can resonate more with the audience. Of course, there is the other way that is definitely much more prepared.

What I simply do actually is the night before I'll do two things. I'll write down the three points I want to make and then Ill type it. Technically I'm writing it because it's very cathartic, but then I'm typing it as a result of actually seeing it clear as day. Then I go to sleep. Those are always the three last things that are on my mind.

On relationships:

When you think about your professional life, you think about the 360 element of relationships. You have your peers. You have your direct reports if you‟re in a managerial position. You have your bosses.

There are going to be different relationships that you have at each level, but it's very important that you grow and maintain those relationships at every level for whatever reason. It can be something as simple as being what I call the office therapist where someone who might be going through growing pains whether it's professionally or personally, they come to you.

They know that you're the person that they can sit down and talk to without judgment or you having to feel like you need to fix the solution, just being a sound board, being able to be there where they can release that tension that they feel or you're an advocate. They know that you're going to pull for them and be there for them whenever they need help or do something.

Those relationships are going to be paramount in terms of your accelerated growth within a company or through entrepreneurship or what have you. When it comes to speaking your relationship with the audience is just as significant as well.

 What does it mean to speak like a pro?

I think speaking like a pro is being able to selflessly convey a message that's meant to resonate with an audience that's entertaining, that's fun and it‟s so inspiring that you, I guess, encourage them to become their own agent of change.

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