Category Archives: Confidence

Cast on ‘True Blood’ after Alexander Technique

Self-Sabotage Solutions: Sharon Jakubecy and the Alexander Technique
by: Michelle Luchese www.MichelleLuchese.com

 


  “Just wanted to let you know, that my first audition back I was thinking about everything you taught me and     walked in with confidence and just innately took a breath before beginning and I booked it!! It’s a Co-Star on   True Blood and I’m so excited, thank you so much!! What an awesome way to start off 2011. I just had to tell   you!”
-Michelle Luchese www.MichelleLuchese.com who played the role of young woman who is an anti-vampire       campaigner in the fourth season of True Blood

 

 

So often we walk into an audition room and clench up only to have inhibited the very gifts they have asked us to show them! What do you do to stop this constant innate self-sabotage? Well I found a lady with some answers, people, and here is what Sharon Jakubecy’s expertise taught me today!

Sharon first approached me about checking out one of her private Alexander Technique classes for my blog and I was more than happy to stop by and see exactly what this technique I’d always heard of, was actually all about. Now I can officially say, Sharon has taught me the art of allowing my body to tell me how to relax.

We started by learning how to relax the head into it’s natural upright position, trying to get away from this thing that had somehow become habitual. Checking out my normal everyday walk in her mirror, we noticed that my head was darting forward in some sort of attack mode! Once I understood not where specifically I needed to move my head to fix this, but how to relax into the correct position, we talked about the differences between what my body naturally wants to do and that of which I could do with all the extra space in my lungs if I just freed up and allowed my body to be centered, grounded, and full of breath. It seems that starts with just allowing your head to find it’s proper place, all through relaxation, as opposed to forcing it into some unfamiliar territory.

It’s amazing how resilient the body is. I was afraid the slump in which I had allowed myself to hangout had become my new posture, but not so. With Sharon’s adjustments through light touching to some tension points, I found a healthy, strong, centered stride and was on my way. She has this amazing bullshit-detecting mirror in her studio and she had me going back to my previous slump position as we worked, so as to see the progress. It was fascinating! Not only did I feel so much more in my power, I looked it too!

Sharon asked where and when my clenching usually occurs and I said that first few minutes in the room at auditions. So we did a couple mock auditions, coming in centered, then again coming in flustered from being late but taking just a second to catch my breathe and center myself just before opening the door. And what I walked out of her door with, was a whole new idea of what confident and grounded means. It’s not just a state of mind people-oh no-it’s an actual thing you can practice and ask your body to keep reinforcing. I’m so excited to use it next time I audition!!

(And she did it!)  If you have a big audition, pitch meeting, or interview, call TODAY to set up your Introductory Alexander Technique session.  CALL (310) 383-1796 for information and to schedule your first session.

 

 

Own the Room! like Angelina Jolie in the spy movie ‘SALT’


SALT Own The Room
By Jessica Sitomer & Sharon Jakubecy

When CIA agent Evelyn Salt is in the room, everyone takes notice! The question throughout the movie is, “Is she a mole or a double agent?” It’s so hard to tell because Salt, is elegant and graceful in her body, no matter who’s in the room. Angelina Jolie was excellent casting for this role, as she didn’t have to use any acting tricks to convince us she can ‘own a room.’

Standing out and ‘owning the room’ is an art unto itself, and a very necessary one if you want to attract networking opportunities, job opportunities, and create great marketing tools. What makes some people stand out while others go unnoticed? The obvious answer would be, confidence. Yet, plenty of people who lack self-confidence do a great job of ‘owning a room.’ If you’re shy or feel you lack self-confidence, you probably can’t imagine how simple it can be to stand out simply by using your body correctly. Because there is a much cheaper and faster route that a decade in therapy, I’ve asked Alexander Technique Expert, Sharon Jakubecy, to give you five tips for in her words to, “Gracefully inspire the people you are meeting”:

1) Take your time and slow down even as you are walking from your car to the building. When you take your time while walking through a door, you make a powerful entrance because you already look and feel more confident. If Salt was rushed, she would blow her cover. A rushed person makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. Taking a beat to slow down allows you to be physically loose, fluid, open, and graceful. Magnetic, even.

2) Before you walk into an audition, pitch meeting, or interview, let breath out of your mouth, in a whispered Ahhhh. Most people will say “Breathe!” This command usually evokes a desperate gasp for breath that only makes you more tense. Letting breath out on a whispered Ahhh slows your breath rate, which slows your heart rate, which calms your nervous system. Your body’s natural breathing coordination can kick in and do its job. You think more clearly. Your eyes are brighter. And you have great energy when you make an entrance.

Watch this video for a demonstration so you can Own the Room!

3) Look into the horizon instead of down at the floor. Your eyes have a huge impact on your posture, your perception, and your confidence. Looking into a room makes you look taller and more open. You can literally see more of the world and more of the people you want to connect with. You will also feel powerful and confident because you are no longer “hiding” by looking down at the floor. Your spine is longer and your chest and shoulders are wider. Everyone can see you and you can own the room.

4) Stand on both legs at hips-width distance. What do your legs have to do with your confidence? Everything! Your legs are literally your foundation. If you are collapsed on one hip with most of your weight on one leg, you are not grounded and it is harder to breathe. Standing on both legs gives your body structural support; you can breathe easier and you are taller. When you are grounded, you can make quick decisions, respond creatively to networking opportunities, and take bold actions to market yourself.

5) Release UP to your full height. Most people relate confidence with great posture AND most people will try to stand up straight by lifting their chin, tightening their neck and back muscles, squeezing their shoulder blades together, holding their breath, and locking their knees. Try this. It does not feel confident, more like an uptight soldier. Your full height, your most powerful stature, your expansiveness happens when you let go in the muscles of your neck, shoulders, back, legs, and abdomen. You are taller and more open when you release muscular effort. You stand out in a crowd and easily attract the people and opportunities that will propel you to success.

And Action!

If you want to Own the Room,

1. Practice the exercises Sharon suggests. Get them into your physiology BEFORE you are in a high stress situation

Having a greater understanding of how to your body functions best, is an important success strategy. Imagine exuding Salt’s confidence with a simple Ahhhhhhh.

2. Check out coaching sessions with Sharon and experience a Total Transformation in your body language and voice at http://alexandertechniquela.com/privatesessions/

You can also find Jessica Sitomer, The Greenlight Coach, at www.TheGreenlightCoach.com

6 Ways to Calm Yourself Down During an Adrenaline Rush

Your body releases the supercharged hormone and neurotransmitter, adrenaline, when you have to slam on your brakes, get out ofthe way, or run for cover. It also releases it when you are stressed out, on a deadline, and have to speak in front of a group.

This RUSH triggers the FIGHT-or-FLIGHT response which turns off bodily functions such as digestion and increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood flow to muscles: all good things when you have to escape from a burning car.

However, when the stakes are high, FIGHT-or-FLIGHT can destroy any chances of effectively delivering your pitch, getting board approval, or making the deal.

Speaking in front of the board, pitching to your clients, or presenting to your colleagues is demanding and can trigger some of these more subtle and off-putting reactions:

1. Clenched Jaw
2. High-pitched Voice
3. Scattered Thinking
4. Locked Knees
5. Hunched Posture

6. Tight Throat – Can’t get your words out
7. Fidgeting or Clumsy Movements
8. Rushed or Fumbled Speaking

These symptoms will also make your listeners uncomfortable. They won’t take you seriously.

Being able to identify your own Fight-or-Flight
Response, and then, ground yourself enables you to communicate your expertise and think quickly on your feet. You can utilize the energy and the excitement of your adrenaline rush to connect to your colleagues or clients and get them “on board.”

Try these strategies when you experience an overpowering Adrenaline Rush:

1. Slow down.
2. Pay more attention to breath going out.
3. Feel your feet on the floor.
4. Open your eyes instead of squinting.
5. Stand tall and let your shoulders be wide
6. Let your ribs move with your breath.

Taking these action steps to calm yourself in a high-stakes situation makes you look, feel, and sound confident. Instead of feeling like you were in a car wreck, your colleagues and clients will be eager and enthusiastic to pat you on the back, shake your hand, and start your project!

 

Sharon Jakubecy (www.AlexanderTechniqueLA.com) is a speaker and Alexander Technique teacher for thought leaders, executives, and public speakers so they are calm, confident, and dynamic in high-stakes speaking events, interviews, and presentations. She has been featured on NPR, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Weekly, and Backstage as a stress management and Performance expert. Want more helpful articles and videos? Sign up below:

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Alexander Technique Your Power Pose and Confidence in the Work Place

This article was published in CareerBliss and written by Ritika Trikha.  I was a guest expert speaking about women owning their full height and how it affects their confidence in the workplace.  When I work with my Alexander Technique clients, they discover their true height which is much less work than the typical Stand Up Straight posture.  My clients who have to walk into meetings and communicate their expertise learn how to Own the Room with their Power Pose.  They are far more aware of their body language, how they tense when they are nervous, and how to release and open.  Read the article below:

 

Are Taller Women More Successful At Work

Taller Women More Successful At Wok?

by Ritika Trikha

Researchers do concede, though, that there may not be a direct link between height and success.

However, “tall people may have greater self-esteem and social confidence than shorter people,” according to Timothy A. Judge, PhD, of the University of Florida who led the study referenced above.

“The process of literally ‘looking down on others’ may cause one to be more confident,” he says in the Journal article.

This got us thinking – do tall women potentially have an edge in the workforce, especially when it comes to working in male-dominated offices?

We spoke with psychology experts and several women who are perceived to be tall (and some who count themselves among the short) and talked to them about how their height has impacted their career.

Here’s how to make your height work for you:

Posture Says it All

When we feel anxious or lack confidence we tend to slouch down. Curl up in a ball. Drop our heads—try to take as little space as possible.

“This pattern makes [tall women] look and feel ‘less-than,’ nervous, and withdrawn,” says Sharon Jakubecy, certifiedAlexander Technique teacher and performance coach.

Instead, taking up space (e.g. standing in a power pose) is a great way to project more confidence and assertiveness.

“At work in the office, the woman who walks at her full height and allows her chest and shoulders to have an easy openness will be the most confident of all her colleagues, including the men,” Jakubecy says.

You can’t help but take notice of a tall woman’s strong posture.

It’s a Great Networking Ice Breaker

“While some people might think that tall people come off as more intimidating, on some levels I’ve found that it makes me more approachable,” Lara Levin, a 5-foot-11 senior account executive at Allison + Partners says.

Generally speaking, most people “will not comment about how short someone is,” Levin says, and “while it’s not the most original conversation starter, people always ask me about my height.”

“Then they always ask if I played sports in high school or college, which opens up the door to talk about hobbies and be relatable to clients and people that I meet while networking,” Levin says.

What an easy ice breaker when you’re networking — use it to your advantage!

Own Your Height – Tall, Short or In-Between

Nearly all women we spoke with told us that height is an amplifier, but confidence comes from within.

For tall women who feel insecure about their height, Casey Bond, a 5-foot-9 content manager at Consumer Track offers this piece of advice:  “Sometimes you have to ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’”

It was this mentality that helped Bond feel more comfortable at a recent business dinner with a group of very petite coworkers. “In those instances, you can feel a bit like Sasquatch!” she says. “But what I’ve learned is that others perceive you to be the way you perceive yourself, and if you project confidence, others will see it.”

This means owning up to your height, short or tall.

“I round up to 5 feet, and I look very young,” says Sharon Rosenblatt of Accessibility Partners. “As a result, I’ve had to boost up my professionalism both on the phone and in person to make up for my apparent immaturity. As a result, I speak up more than my taller friends in social settings.”

So, if you want to be successful, forget how tall you are relative to those around you in the office, especially men.

“What a woman does with her height and whether she embodies her full height will determine her experience of confidence, power, and success at work and in life,” Jakubecy says.

Dear Gracie: 8 Ways to Project Confidence in the Workplace

I recently contributed to a “Dear Gracie” article on ProfNetConnect describing how you can project confidence starting a new job.  That first moment you walk into the office, you want to make a powerful first impression.  Read the article below and leave a comment.

 

Each week, Dear Gracie answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of nearly 50,000 ProfNet experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com

 

Dear Gracie,

I’m about to start a new job, and I want to put my best foot forward. I know I’ll be nervous and insecure about myself for at least the first few weeks. Do you have any tips on how I can seem more confident?

Novel Nerves

 

Dear Novel Nerves,

Eight ProfNet experts offer up eight tips on projecting confidence at the office:

1. Walk tall

“Do what your mom told you as a kid — stand up straight!” says Stephen Balzac, president of the management consulting firm 7 Steps Ahead, and psychology professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology. “This is the first and most important step in projecting confidence.”

If you improve your posture, you will also increase your confidence; and the more confident you feel, the more confident you will act, he says.

Walk with a long spine and open chest without crossing your arms, adds Sharon Jakubecy, speaker trainer, performance coach and certified Alexander Technique teacher. You’ll seem more open and approachable.

And just before you enter a room or a meeting, let the breath out of your mouth, she suggests. “This releases uncomfortable tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw, which can make you look aggressive and off-putting.”

Don’t stand slumped over, with your hands in your pockets, not making eye contact, stresses Scott Sobel, president of Media & Communications Strategies, who has a master’s degree in media psychology from Touro University Worldwide.

2. Shake hands like a politician

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s important: Don’t give the “half-hand shake,” says Billy Lowe, celebrity hairstylist. It feels weird, and tells people you’re not fully committed. A good handshake requires three things: full hand, firm grip, solid shake.

3. Look your best, feel your best

Showing up to work in ill-fitting clothing, hair unkempt and a “run out the door” image does nothing for your self-confidence, Lowe says. “If you look great, you feel great.” People will notice and compliment you, which in turn will boost your self-esteem even more.

Moreover, image conveys volumes about work ethic. “People that are up on their beauty and image routines are usually more polished, together, composed and self-assured,” Lowe continues.

“How you carry yourself and dress in the workplace often gives coworkers tips on your attitude and demeanor,” agrees Nancy A. Shenker, founder and CEO of the marketing company theONswitch and co-author of “Don’t Hook Up With the Dude in the Next Cube: 200+ Secrets for New Grads.”

Furthermore, if you roll your eyes at coworkers’ ideas, pay more attention to your smartphone than your colleagues, or consistently flaunt designer duds and pricey bling; you’re sending out the message: “It’s all about ME!” she says.

4. Speak easy

Practice speaking in an even tone, without unnecessary pauses or hesitations, says Balzac. “We perceive confident speech to be speech without gaps.”

And — believe it or not — it’s actually better to say “um” than to let silence reign, he says.

Don’t speak too fast either, Balzac adds. “Rapid speech makes people feel rushed. Confident speakers know they have the time to deliver their message.” Try recording yourself or practicing in front of someone else to see get feedback.

“Rushing makes you and your body more stressed,” agrees Jakubecy. “Your voice will be higher pitched and strained.”

To relax your voice, hum or sing before you go into work or a meeting, she suggests. “This warms up your voice so you sound like an expert. It gets your body moving too so you walk into work feeling more relaxed and connected to your body and voice.”

5. Find your happy place

To appear poised, recall a time when you were at your best, and create a buzzword related to that emotional state, says Gregg Steinberg, motivational speaker, professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee and author of “Full Throttle: How to Supercharge Your Performance at Work.”

The buzzword should represent the confidence you felt in that situation, like “bulldog” or “fighter,” for example. Say the word to yourself each time you start a routine, or right before you begin a task.

For instance, say your buzzword every time you have face-to-face meetings. Your confidence will get a boost when you are already in a positive mental place.

(My buzzword? Tiger-claw!)

6. Give credit where credit’s due

When Vicky Oliver – author of five books on career development, including “301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions” and “The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even if You’re Not” — worked in the advertising industry, she met five people who all claimed to have written the “I Love New York” campaign. “It doesn’t take five people to write five words,” she says.

It takes a confident person to let someone else shine, and doing so will highlight your integrity and assuredness. So if you are the boss or colleague of someone who did something brilliant, bend over backwards to give the person credit, says Oliver.

7. Let others put in their two cents

“A monologue may be fine if you’re a comic, but confidence is demonstrated by your ability to let people in,” says Balzac.

Stay in control of conversations by asking questions, he says. “Ask other people about themselves, what they are doing, what matters to them.”

Be a good listener by trying to find the underlying message in someone’s words, and don’t interrupt, says Oliver. “Conversely, if someone interrupts you, smile at him or her and do your best to tolerate it. You will win more admiration that way.”

8. Always keep it classy

Admit it — we get annoyed with our coworkers sometimes. Whether someone is bragging too much, giving you unwanted advice or gossiping up a storm, always take the high road and people will think you’re trustworthy and dignified.

People who brag are doing it because they want to feel successful, says Jill Spiegel, author of “How to Talk to Anyone About Anything! The Secrets to Connecting.” Trying to “one up” them severs the connection, so instead, celebrate their success. For example, if a coworker says “I noticed on the sales report that I was the top performer again this week.” Respond with: “That’s exciting. I’m impressed!”

Similarly, if someone gives you advice you didn’t ask for or don’t agree with, don’t respond by explaining why their suggestion won’t work; just make them feel helpful through appreciation and diplomacy, she says. If a coworker says “I’m reading a book about decorating the office for more productivity. Your area needs a few plants. You should get some.” Say something in return like: “Thanks for your idea. I’ll give that some thought.”

And if one of your co-workers in the lunchroom makes a gossipy remark like “Julie’s desk is a mess. I happen to know her sister is a hoarder,” just remember that people gossip to feel important, says Spiegel. Even when others chuckle or seem interested in the gossip, everyone else ends up thinking “What will they about me next?”

Create an inclusive atmosphere by responding with something upbeat, and then redirect the conversation, like: “Julie has such a great laugh. Hey, your presentation today was powerful! Have you always enjoyed speaking for groups?”

Employers, clients and colleagues pick up on defensive behavior and lack of positive wording, says Sobel. Speak and act in an empathetic and welcoming way so everyone sees you as part of the team.

Good luck!

Gracie

A Powerful Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!

When you listen to a powerful performer, it’s not just the words that captures your  heart. The sound of a dynamic performer’s voice can give you the chills, comfort you,  inspire you, and rally you to action!  They have a powerful voice that fills the room and  captures your heart!  (Find out about these qualities live and in person October 25 by visiting http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/resonate/)

There are 6 qualities of an engaging and powerful voice that can propel you towards  SUCCESS, whether that means speaking on stage, on a telesummit, or interviewing on  a radio program:

1) RESONANT Your voice is sound and sound is vibration. The vibration of your voice  bounces off the bones of your body and it fills the room with your message.

2) EMBODIED Your voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. When you are connected to your whole body, your voice is amplified from your feet on the floor, to your legs, hips, belly, back, and head.

3) GROUNDED The body of a dynamic speaker is grounded which means that both feet are hips-width distance and planted on the floor. This will calm your nervous system and literally allow you to breathe with ease.

4) TENSION-FREE You don’t have to push your head forward and tighten your neck, shoulders, and abdominals to make sound. An attractive voice that gives you the chills pours out of a body that is released and open which allows for a flexible ribcage that moves with your breath.

5) ENERGIZED Without tension, you are calm and the energy of your message can flow out of your body and impact your audience. They will literally FEEL the energy radiating from your voice.

6) COLORFUL With the above 5 qualities, your body is free to move with your breath and voice. This gives you the ability to play with pitch and pace. You can speak in a low voice when you want your audience to taste your every word and with a quick and forceful voice when you call them to action!

 

Watch the video that describes The Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!

With these 6 qualities, capturing the hearts of your listeners is joyful and easy. They will feel your passion and joy and join your movement.

To OWN THE ROOM and CAPTIVATE THE HEARTS OF YOUR AUDIENCE sign up for the next RESONATE workshop October 25 at http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/resonate/