We have habitual patterns of behaviour learnt from our upbringing and influenced by those around us. These behaviours are the core of our identity, which include our vocal quality and body language. It might be through self-preservation that we find ways to protect ourselves – we may keep our voice low so as not to be heard, we may restrict our body language so we don’t draw attention to ourselves. This can have a huge impact when we’re communicating. If we keep returning to an ingrained belief or self-script, we’ll keep reducing our chances of development. However, by increasing awareness, we can start to change these patterns of behaviour and shift ingrained core beliefs.

When we tell ourselves, I can’t stand up and present, or I won’t get that job, or I’m not capable of leading a team, we re-affirm these negative patterns. We may fold our arms defensively, look downwards, avoid eye contact and unconsciously we undermine our abilities without an awareness of what we’re doing. We send messages to a potential employer or to our colleagues that we’re not open and resilient. We do this in order to protect ourselves from failure, and therefore sabotage our chances of change by avoiding positions of authority or roles where we’ll be at the fore front of communication.

We need to be kinder to ourselves and adopt a gentler approach that inspires awareness rather than a self-critical or judgmental one. If we develop an open awareness, laying out all our fears infront of us, we will allow things to organically unfold. If we get frustrated and angry, we’ll block our natural progression to new positive patterns of behaviour.