The Fear of Speaking: Finding Your Voice with Elena Cardone 
Welcome to Backstage with Pete Vargas III, where we take you behind the scenes every week to teach you how to get on those stages that will allow you to build your business and get your message out to the world.

We all know that Grant Cardone is a dynamic, highly sought-after, international speaker, coach, and consultant. But standing next to Grant is one of the most inspiring women leaders you could ever meet. Elena Cardone has used her vast experience to assist men and women in creating, growing, and defending an extraordinary marriage and career. We recently had the privilege of hosting our dear friend, Elena, on our Backstage Podcast, where we asked her just a handful of questions. Today, we want to share some of the power-packed takeaways from our time together.

One of the things we talked about with Elena is the reality that some people would rather be the dead guy in the coffin than the speaker giving the eulogy. Literally, they would rather face death than face public speaking! Why are people so afraid of communicating?

Elena knows all about stage fright from her Hollywood experience. She knows what it feels like to stand in front of people and subject herself to the opinions and judgments of an audience. That is an incredibly vulnerable place to be! Most people understand what it’s like to be judged or embarrassed. Everyone wants to do a great job and be validated, so there is this natural fear of being humiliated. Most of us feel afraid to say something wrong or do something that may cause people to not like us,our message or our product. This is a real fear. The problem is, if we can’t get beyond the fear of using our voice, then no one will ever hear our message. So we asked Elena how she personally overcame her fear of the stage and how she would encourage others to do the same.

Elena’s Advice on How To Overcome Stagefright
  1. Share your message in front of somebody you trust, where there’s tons of safety for trial and error. Get in front of someone who will help you become really aware of your “likes” and “ums” and the weak parts of your communication and who you know will love you and support you no matter what. Once you are aware, you can hammer those phrases and insecurities out of existence through repetition and by simply getting used to hearing yourself communicate.
  2. Get really clear on your purpose and what you want to communicate. What is your message? What is your voice? What do you want to come through when you communicate? Becoming crystal clear about what you have to say to the world will allow you to step out with intention.
  3. Get outside of yourself and remember how you are helping someone else.
    What if you can help one person in your audience? Does it matter if you have a dry throat or shaking knees if you can truly help even one person? Helping others has to become more important than how you feel in the moment. Helping others has to be more of a motivator than saving yourself from sweaty palms or from stumbling over your words. When you’re focused on others, the experience will stop being about you. The attention will come off of you and onto the people sitting in front of you who need to hear what you have to say. Elena shared that many of the nervous symptoms still happen to her, even after all the experiences she has had on the stage. But she is driven by the motivation that the content she has to share will change someone’s life. Maybe someone gets the courage to go ask for a raise, or maybe a marriage gets transformed. Does the person who is impacted by your message care if your knees shake? No! Absolutely not!

    It’s okay to acknowledge the fear of being criticized or judged. We all feel that. But keep in mind, anyone who’s willing to criticize is really telling on themselves and their own transgressions and lack of character. Don’t worry about them! You’re not there for them! You’re there for the one who needs to hear what you have to say.

Elena explains that communication is the “universal solvent.” Communication has the potential to solve problems that literally take people into wars! It allows us to build affinity with others and gives us the ability to “show up” with our own unique expression in the world. In her words, “Without communication, you’d be a rock!” It’s funny, but think about it! It’s so true! What you have to say to the world, your message, is what makes you unique and what brings value. Communication allows you to get that message from your head and heart to your mouth, so you can impact and help those around you. Knowing this, don’t we have a responsibility to learn to communicate effectively?

What I’ve Learned From the Cardones About Parenting

One of the most significant ways I have been impacted by Grant and Elena Cardone is by watching them parent their children. They share a story about working with an individual who would be helping their girls with some of their schooling. This person asked the Cardones what school subjects were most important to them and which areas they wanted their girls to grow and develop. Grant’s answer just blew my mind. He explained that he didn’t care much about the subjects. His biggest priority was that his daughters would become confident communicators, knowing that if they could communicate, they could do anything in life because they would have the platform to share their ideas and passions.

Maybe you're reading this, and you’re not a parent. Don’t tune out because these points are absolute gold, and we all have a responsibility to be an example - to encourage, teach, and train the kids in our lives.
  1. Don’t shush your kids. How many of you can remember being shushed as a kid? As I became an adult, I wondered why I was afraid or why I lacked confidence when I was trying to communicate. When I heard the Cardones teach this point, I had this epiphany! It’s because I was shushed all the time as a kid. And beyond that, I realized all the times that I shushed my kids - reinforcing in their subconscious that they’re supposed to be quiet. But I don’t want that! I want the opposite of that. I want them to speak up. I want them to be confident. But if I’m constantly shushing them, how are they going to learn to be confident communicators?
  2. Give your kids opportunities to get in front of people to become confident. I love how Elena has intentionally taught their girls about how to communicate and about the power of stages. I’ve seen them create opportunities for training by putting their kids on stages from a very young age.
  3. Teach your kids how to safely talk to strangers. Elena shared with us how many people raise their eyebrows at her on this point because the message our society sends to children is to be scared of strangers. She explains that it is our job as parents to keep the environment around our children safe so they can learn to interact confidently without fear. It’s our responsibility to protect our kids from danger - to keep a good eye on them and the people that we allow around our kids. But it’s also our job to teach them to communicate without fear.

    Here we are taught never to talk to strangers, and then we grow up as adults, and we need things. We need to sell our products and services. We need to get out there and lead a meeting or speak on a stage with strangers - strangers who you were taught your whole life not to go talk to. It’s no wonder people hate sales and are terrified to go ask for a close or to introduce themselves.
  4. Teach your kids to ask for wants and needs. Grant loves to tell the story of when their daughter, Sabrina, was two or three years old, and they were on an airplane together. She really wanted cookies, and Grant told her that if she wanted cookies, she was going to have to go ask for them herself. So she pops out of her seat and goes up to the flight attendant and asks her for some cookies. The flight attendant explained that they, unfortunately, didn’t have any. So Sabrina heads back to her dad and tells him that they didn’t have any cookies. Grant pauses and then says, “Well, did you ask her to check?” Sabrina pops back off of her seat, waddles down the row, and goes back to the flight attendant. “Excuse me, can you please check and see if you have any cookies?” The flight attendant looked around the serving area, and sure enough, there were cookies. So Sabrina walked back to her dad, excited and proud of herself because she got what she wanted by communicating. People have everything that you want and need, but so many times, we just don’t have the confidence to ask. What a great lesson to learn at such a young age!
  5. Watch Out vs. Be Careful. What a great piece of advice! Elena shared with us that they were careful not to introvert their kids. They chose not to use the phrase “be careful” because they felt it could cause the kids to be fearful and concerned. Instead, they would say, “Look, you see this sharp corner right here? You might not want to hit that. Watch, look there. Watch out.” The phrase “watch out” brings your attention outward instead of inward. It allows you to look for opportunities and be aware rather than be introverted and afraid of the world or how you might get hurt. 

What action are you going to take as a result of what you learned today? 

Are you going to build a safe audience and start practicing?
Are you going to work on crafting your message?
Are you going to spend more time thinking about how to serve others with your message or product rather than how afraid you are?

Take action today! If you’d like to hear more from Elena Cardone about how she overcame stagefright, follow this link >>>