I am brave.
I am free.
I am radiant.
This picture is actually a still shot from a home video of me at about 3.5 years old.
My family had gone on our first trip to Disney World, and in the video I’m doing one of my absolute favorite things in the world at that time: twirling.
I end up twirling for so long and with such joy/enthusiasm that I lose both of my shoes…and STILL, I keep twirling.
I chose to use this photo as part of a powerful visualization exercise I participated in this week with fellow coaches from around the world. The exercise was about empathy (which we often have for others but less so for ourselves) and unconditional love. It actually brought me to tears, which I wasn’t expecting.
As a high-achiever I can be extremely hard on myself, so it was very touching to recognize these same qualities in the grown-up version of me and to reconnect with my true essence, my exuberant inner child.
Weaving bravery, freedom and radiance into my current self is just one step in my journey to make a difference in the world. And since I know you have similar BIG goals, I invite you to give it a try, too.
Find a childhood image of yourself. Then look at the photo from an outsider's perspective, and with empathy and love.
Then take a long look at yourself in a mirror, and look for those same qualities in your current self.
It's almost the end of October, which means that I'll be wrapping up my own journey through the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge (but you can still play it any time of the year on your own).
Next week I'll be sharing my thoughts on what I learned, what I can do better next time, and what surprised me as a result of putting gratitude front and center in my life for a month!
Keep sharing joy,
This weekend I had a jazz duo gig at an upscale restaurant in Houston.
I was looking forward to a night of singing my favorite standards after an extra long trip to Louisiana (that's another story I'll tell you later :p)
As I walked in the door, I ran into the pianist who had played the earlier solo shift. We knew each other "virtually" but had never met in person, so this was a nice surprise. He suggested we play a short song together before he left to "try each other out" for potential future collaborations.
I said, "Sure!"
The dining room was surprisingly noisy that night. All the tables were full, and several large parties were seated near the music area.
We headed over to the piano, selected a jazz standard from my repertoire list ("Almost Like Being in Love" for those of you who are curious) and he began to play the intro.
After a few seconds of music, I knew it was time to begin singing but couldn't seem to find my starting note in all the commotion.
I glanced over at him apologetically.
He quickly realized I need more context and played a snippet of the melody. That was just the boost I needed, and we ran through the rest of the song with ease.
Once the song was over, I felt the need to apologize for the late start.
"Sorry about that," I said nervously. "It's so loud in here!"
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to shove them back in. Why was I apologizing? It wasn't a big deal. No one was even paying attention at that point--they were talking with their friends--and we handled the delay like pros. Yet I felt the need to say, "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it," he smiled back, but I could feel the tiniest bit of a negative energy shift between us.
By leading with "sorry" rather than "thank you," I lost an extra opportunity to put my best foot forward and let my confident, grateful self shine through.
HOW APOLOGIES KILL OUR CONFIDENCE
Do you apologize unnecessarily on a regular basis?
Statistics show that women do this most often, but I also know lots of men who over-apologize, so really, everyone can benefit from becoming aware of the habit.
Replacing “sorry” with “thank you” is a small switch that holds a surprising amount of power and can even change the course of an interaction or conversation.
Overall, you’ll see your life trend in a more positive direction as you thank people more and more often for the kind things they do for you (even when that means they are pointing out your minor mistakes)!
THANK YOU = SHARING GRATITUDE & ELEVATING CHARISMA
If you're playing the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge with me this month, you'll notice that replacing "sorry" with "thank you" also puts you in a grateful mindset. So even if you've missed a few days of the Gratitude Challenge, don't apologize for it. Flip that script around and consider this an opportunity to say "thank you for reminding me to get back into the game!"
For those of you who'd like additional details about communicating in a more charismatic way (including situations when you can replace "sorry" with "thank you" or other more powerful phrases), check out this TEDx talk below:
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.