How to Feel Confident in Uncertainty with Alyssa Dver

How to Feel Confident in Uncertainty with Alyssa Dver

“Don’t be afraid to breathe, don’t be afraid to slow down and don’t be afraid to ask somebody to poke you every now and then, because the reality is we can all use a little help right now. There’s nothing shameful about it, but at the same time I think everyone around us can use our help, so let’s do it.” - Alyssa Dver

With the turbulent times we are all experiencing this year, who wouldn’t want to be more comfortable, calm and in control? That’s why I’ve invited past guest Alyssa Dver back to the podcast to share her insights, because she is an expert on confidence and had so much great wisdom to share with us the last time she was here. 

Alyssa Dver is the Chief Confidence Officer, CEO and co-founder of the American Confidence Institute (ACI) which shares science-based ways to sustainably increase personal, academic & professional confidence. 

Today’s episode is a fascinating look at now only how we can all become more comfortable with our own circumstances, but also how we can promote confidence in ourselves, and as a result make the world a more confident place for everyone. 

Connect with Alyssa: https://www.americanconfidenceinstitute.com/ or http://alyssadver.com/

Connect with Laura Khalil online:

instagram.com/iambravebydesign

linkedIn.com/in/LauraKhalil

Learn the five habits that help women rise:

http://bravebydesign.net/fivehabits 

Invite Laura to speak at your live or virtual event http://bravebydesign.net

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • A look at what a confident brain is doing [3:33]

  • How we can begin to feel confident when our brains are overtaxed, especially with what is happening in 2020 [6:00]

  • The incredible benefits of slowing down your speech while in conversation with someone else [9:25]

  • Some ways to identify people who are struggling with confidence, and how they may react to you [16:48]

  • What you can do to give people confidence, plus why it is important and will always “circle back” [22:13]

  • Alyssa’s valuable advice for anyone looking to boost their confidence - starting today [26:30]

Additional Links & Resources:

Alyssa’s TEDx Talk

Her Latest Book, Confidence is a Choice: Real Science. Superhero Impact. 

All Of Her Other Works 

The In Confidence Podcast

Alyssa’s Previous Appearance on Brave By Design


Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Alyssa Dver:

You know, don't be afraid to breathe. Don't be afraid to slow down. Don't be afraid to ask somebody like we talked, poke you every now and then because reality is we can all use a little help right now. There's nothing shameful about it. But at the same time, I think everyone around us could use our help. So let's do it.

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bake, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design. Listen, I brought back one of your favorite guests to the show and how do I know elicit of yours one of your favorite guests? Because all y'all told me Okay, so if you have not listened to her episode, Episode 33 on the science of confidence, go back and listen to that after you hear this because today, we are going to talk about how to be confidently uncomfortable. Now before we get into it. Let me reintroduce Alissa to you for those who are new. She's a TEDx and Boston best speaker, and uses brain science to prove that confidence is everyone's superpower and choice. Alyssa is the chief confidence officer at the American competence Institute. And seven time author with confidence is a choice real science superhero impact that just came out in May of 2020. Her co hosted podcast in confidence face your workplace is one of many free resources on the ACI website. Alyssa, welcome back to brave by design.

Alyssa Dver:

Oh, I'm so excited. You know, I just dawned on me that you said I was Episode 33. You did. That was my high school basketball number. So hopefully this episode will be something equally lucky because I love being on your show. Laura. I love that.

Laura Khalil:

Oh my gosh, how cool. So as I said, I heard from a lot of people after we did the science of confidence episode, and I knew we had to have you back. I knew that in the era of COVID people are feeling very discombobulated. I mean, they don't really know what to do. We don't know where to go. And then you propose this topic of being confidently uncomfortable. And Alyssa, tell me more. How you more Well, you

Alyssa Dver:

know, Laurie, I was working on an application for yet another TED talk that as of yesterday, I was accepted. And that was my brain. Because you know, in, like you said, COVID and black life matters and all this turmoil. We are really struggling with being in a place that we can't seem to figure out how to get comfortable again, right? It doesn't mean that before was better or easier. It just was comfortable. And so the unpredictability, the uncertainty of every single day and the future. I mean, it's very taxing on people's brains. And of course, when our brains are tax like that, not only is it exhausting, but it's really hard to make good decisions, it's hard to be mindful about anything, let alone being confident. So I just think this is the new norm or the norm for at least now for a while. And I think we need to talk about it, acknowledge it. And I think there's a way that we can actually deal with it better.

Laura Khalil:

So Alyssa, let me ask you this, because things have been changing. And certainly since we recorded our episode with you last, as you said, we have had some major shifts in this country, and frankly, in the world around Black Lives Matter around deepening our awareness of anti racism efforts. We have an election that's coming up that has a lot of people, and I don't care what side of the aisle you guys are on. A lot of people are very, very at a 10 out of 10. In anxiety over whatever happens. We have COVID. So it just seems like this is not going nothing's going to go away anytime soon. Doesn't it feel like there's always going to be something?

Alyssa Dver:

Yeah, I mean, again, I think this is not really a new norm. I think this is just the way life has always been. But now it's been escalated. So you know, when I rewind some of the research we did at the institute pre COVID. Right? There is definitely a difference between a confident mind a confident person and a non confident person that boils down to this ability to take a moment we call it the amygdala moment where you feel uncomfortable where you're going to do or you're being asked to do something that is not predictable. That's not something that you've practiced or otherwise know that you can do successfully, right. There's that Oh, crap moment that you say, you know, I may fail I may say or do something that I'm going to regret or I may not be liked. Right. Those are the three right rejection and failure. And that moment for confident person they look at and they go Okay, you know what, it's possible but he Here's what I'm going to do to minimize that. And more importantly, here's what I'm going to do to give it my best go, you know, and I'm going to learn and grow from this. And if I fail, failure is part of that process. That is what a confident brain does. Now, with that said, you know, to teach your brain to build the neural pathways that go there immediately. That's what we've been doing for, you know, seven, eight years at the Institute. But you need brain cycles to do that. And if your brain is so taxed with Who am I going to vote for? What's this country coming to? You know, can I go outside safely? What mask Am I going to wear today? You know, all these things that we worry about, you know, kids, it's really, I would say, hard, it's impossible to find the brain resources to control. So part of what we have to learn to do as a society is not so much compartmentalize, but appreciate the fact that that stuff isn't something we can control. We know that. But at the same time, there's a whole bunch of stuff we can control. And we have to reclaim that.

Laura Khalil:

Okay, so tell us a little bit more about that. How do we find sort of that zone? Or how do we begin to find that zone where we can say, okay, there's a lot of unknowns in the world. And there's, as you said, a lot of things that are quite frankly, outside of my control. And so how do we, that's one of the most challenging things I think, for people to finally come to accept is we love to think that we know our environment, and we can predict what's going to happen. And it's going to, you know, be kind of the same way every day or whatever, and we're not in that environment anymore. That just doesn't exist in the way that it used to. So what do we do? Do we start to like, sort of find one thing that we can feel confident about? Or how do we begin to feel confident when our brains are overtaxed? When we're exhausted? We're probably underslept. Probably with a lot of anxiety. Where do we go Alyssa?

Alyssa Dver:

Well, you know, there, again, on a short forum podcast like this, I'm going to throw out some ideas, but by no means I don't want people to think this is the whole program or the whole rigmarole, right? It takes a lot of time or energy, but there's different things that work for different people, right. So one of the things we find that happens, every human brain seems to do this automatically is we react, you're in a meeting, for example, or you're having a call zoom or otherwise, and somebody says something and you react to that. Yep. And you wind up losing sleep at night, because you're like, I'm such an idiot. I can't believe I said that. Or they must think this You're overthinking it, your brains going a million miles an hour, right? Who needs that stress Anyway, let alone now. Thank you. We don't. So here's the tip, you know, doesn't matter what the circumstance Slow down, slow down, don't answer immediately. You know, in a interview environment, we teach this to people all the time, if even in presentation skills, you know, slow down, let your brain catch up. Really think a little bit harder about how you want to respond. Pick your words and your entry points more strategically. Now, it's easier said than done for a lot of people. Yep. But here's the key to do it. If you practice what's called active listening, okay, helps. And most people don't do that. I'm noticing, quite frankly, that it's very rare to find somebody who's actively listening these days.

Laura Khalil:

What does that even mean?

Alyssa Dver:

active listening, you listen to what the person says, You let them finish their sentence, I just almost cut you off on that. Right. And that was my bad. Let the person finish. Take a minute to think about what they said and then answer. You ever have a conversation or with somebody you can see it in their eyes. They're planning their next set? Yep. listening to you. That's, that's synonymous. I'm passive. That's lousy listening.

Laura Khalil:

Well, that that's a lot of people, though. I mean, everyone seems to be waiting for their turn to speak, rather than seeking to understand and respond to what was said, I don't think that's a skill that we that's not a skill we naturally know. It seems like that's a skill we have to learn. It is it really is. But it's not something that's hard to learn. If you just make an effort. When you say to yourself, I'm going to meeting after this podcast, for example.

Alyssa Dver:

I'm going to really listen, I'm going to breathe, I'm going to take it slower, huh, it becomes very natural after maybe a second or third meeting because you start to get a cadence around it. You know what else happens? Which is amazing. And you can notice this is everybody else starts to slow down. Really?

Laura Khalil:

Yes.

Alyssa Dver:

Okay, who's listening? Watch the difference. Let's talk at a really fast pass like

Laura Khalil:

okay, yeah, I'm ready. Let's

Alyssa Dver:

like we automatic I'm seeing you on Yeah, we're even tensing up. Right and the person who's listening to intensive just from that microsecond of speed, right? But if we slow down, we get control of our brain and guess what we can actually control other people's brains and give control back to them in their own heads. So that level of slowing down being mindful listening to other people

Laura Khalil:

The greatest speakers speak like this.

Alyssa Dver:

They speak in pregnant pauses, okay. And they speak in phrases, because it gives you opportunity as a listener to process.

Laura Khalil:

Oh my god, this is like, brilliant.

Alyssa Dver:

Oh, it's not me, it's the way of the world if you want to listen to a master speaker and a master, communicator, and such a not a speaker, communicator, 2000, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Nelson Mandela, and it's on the internet, it's about a four minute interview, just go Oprah Nelson. First of all, the message couldn't be any more perfect today than it. It's sad. And it's beautiful in the same moment, because 20 years later, we're still talking about the same stuff, maybe even more so. But his cadence is so deliberate, that you know, you you sit there and you say its power, its control its confidence. And that is really again, do you have to learn how to do that? You just have to think about it, do it and then it becomes natural.

Laura Khalil:

And practice, probably, you know, you've got it, you're not going to master it necessarily the first time. But you know, keep trying to do it. Alyssa, I'm really curious. Let's say people are in a meeting. And the kids are I mean, a lot of people are home now. So the kids are on, you know, on their zoom class, mom or dad's in a meeting. And it can feel like we are at our wits end. And we're not thinking about slowing down. Maybe things are. It's just like we're thinking about surviving. Is there a way to? Do you recommend people to sort of like start the day with an intention of like, Hey, remember, before I go into that meeting, want to take a couple deep breaths. And I'm going to just try to be as present as I can and forgive myself for what I can't do or like,

Alyssa Dver:

I'm trying to think of like, how do we make this really practical for people when they're in the height or in the grip of something and they just feel like, they're not even thinking about slowing down? They're thinking about responding or reacting? Do they just do like a post mortem with themselves and think, Okay, next time, we'll do that better. How do we approach that? Well, that's a great question. You know, I'm not suggesting that we slow down overall, because life has got to move, we got to get stuff done. And I am like one of those hyper productive kind of people always multitasking trying to do stuff I'm not saying necessarily do cut back on the activity. It's just when you are doing something, put yourself in it right. And so here's the beautiful thing about being remote. There's an easy fix, like you put it on top of your screen, a little piece of paper on your window, and just remind yourself, breathe slow down. Another thing that is really helpful if you have a buddy or an accountability, I like to call them right you have a buddy if there's somebody you work with, have a little signal and I don't you know people are listening to your podcast most the time, Lord, but I'm going to do this to you like I'm like playing with my radio. Slow down, right. There's ways you can signal each other because I

Laura Khalil:

feel like that's Laura. Get the car. We're gonna speed away from the bank. Oh, like the getaway car. Laura, get it get the getaways. You're like pulling your ear. Okay, got it. You know, like

Alyssa Dver:

private chat on a zoom or something? Yeah, a buddy that says, hey, breathe. You know, somebody a trusted confidant? Yeah, you can say, remind me if I get off the rails. And you know, I was in a meeting last week. And there's a woman who she's an older woman, she's I mean, I'm not young either. But she's, you know, in her 60s grandmother level, and literally was off the rails. Like she was saying things and I was like, this poor woman. I know her well enough. She's gonna really torture herself tonight. And I owe her a quick note. I was like, just breathe. You seem upset. And you could see the reaction. And then she was like, oh, but you know what she was better after that. So, again, don't give yourself permission to be a coach online like that unless you have a good relationship. But if you can set that up in advance where you say, hey, Laura, you know what? Boy, I woke up, I'm exhausted. I got so much stuff going on. I could really use an accountability, buddy, would you just ping me or rub your left ear? Whatever it is, right? Yeah. So it's hard. I'm not gonna deny it's hard. You got 3000 things going on around you to be present is hard. But I think that if we deliberately do that in a way that we can turn off that meeting and go, Well, you know, I did a pretty good job on that. You know, I mentioned the TEDx. I'll give you another perfect example. Just again, to frame this. Hmm, I got on that interview was about two weeks ago now. And in the past TEDx, it was all students. So when I got on the interview, I was shocked when it was all professors, right? Oh, yeah. And it's really easy in any kind of interview, let alone something like that where you're nervous and you're excited and you're like, I bla bla bla, I mean, me, my eye. You're all excited. You want to throw all that information in I really took that moment and I went, Okay, settle down. And my first comment to them is, I'm fascinated by your work. I'm curious, how did you become a professor of criminology? Right? And so it gave me that moment to give myself a little bit of time to calm down, get my brain in check, hear them make them feel that I cared about that they were there, all that good, juicy stuff. You know, we talked about last time. Yeah, once what came back to me where they started asking me questions. I was like zen, you know, I was like, I got

Laura Khalil:

this. Yeah, there's something really important that I want to call out that you just mentioned, which is, you took a moment to take the spotlight off of yourself to recover. When your time of the I did me, you know, my thing, whatever. And giving someone else the microphone, so to speak, so that they can share so that you can learn and so that also you don't need to be, quote, unquote, on, you can just breathe for a second and say, Okay, what are they telling me what's important here? What's not important? Oh, okay, I think I'm ready to go. I really like that.

Alyssa Dver:

Well, you know, the world is forgiving, I won't, I won't deny that in a lot of cases. But whether it's a podcast, you know, this, right more, it's an interview for a TED talk, or an interview for a job or a meeting that you're just going with your peeps or you don't want to say or do something in that reactive caveman mode, right? When you're aggressive,

Laura Khalil:

negative,

Alyssa Dver:

smartest person in the room kind of stuff, you know, all these behaviors that come out as a result of reaction, defensiveness, survival,

Laura Khalil:

right? Like, can you tell us what are some of those, you just kind of quickly listed them off? But could you see them getting beat? What are those most common reactions that we have when we are being reactive? What's unhelpful?

Alyssa Dver:

Okay, so all the behaviors and you know, again, pulling this apart, you have this kind of symptomatic behaviors, that are really telltale signs that there's a confidence crisis in place, okay. So somebody who's very aggressive, who's very defensive, somebody who's extremely shy, if you think about this, they're protecting their ego, they're protecting who they are, what they value what they want. So they are kind of hunkering down in a way that says go away. And or you could also interpret a lot of these behaviors as bully behaviors, right? Which is, I'm better than you knock it off, go away.

Laura Khalil:

Oh, so everything is signaling go away,

Alyssa Dver:

basically, leave me alone, and or I'm better than you are. I'm protecting myself, I get to stand strong. Now it plays out very strangely, depending on you know, we see a lot of gender ization in this. But I will tell you that it's not gender specific, it plays out in a behavior, that if you really stand back, and you're watching it, like from a third party perspective, you're like, that person's really they're fearing something. They're fearing, again, regret, failure, rejection in some flavor, and subsequently, that behavior is protecting them from that fear. Now, how does this really manifest? I know, I'm getting a little heavy on you here. But here's the reality is when you're seeing that kind of behavior, when somebody is nearly on uncomfortable, right? Those are uncomfortable signs that somebody is not cool, and chill and happy and calm. Those are signs of discomfort. That should be your Aha, that person's having a confidence crisis. And in that moment, that's your just telltale, breathe, calm down, yourself don't react. I can deal with this, because they're the ones who are having the issue. Right? So we go into a meeting. We're all frenetic, below whatever, somebody often gets aggressive, defensive, whatever. What does the rest of the room tend to do? They follow that path. They match the energy match the energy, they're mirror neurons start to imitate and otherwise say, that's the culture, right? Mm hmm. The reality is this. It's the strong, confident person that says we may timeout that's not who I am. That's not who I want to be. I'm going to breathe. I'm going to take it back. And I'm going to speak like this. I'm going to actively listen, I'm going to be the one person in that room. Who doesn't fall victim to the chaos and the confidence crisis because what does a bully want you to do? Laura? If I let's do a little roleplay

Unknown:

Oh, okay. I am ready.

Alyssa Dver:

What Alright, so I do I have a podcast, you know that right? And what is that? I do. It's a more of a business podcast. And I'm going to be a bit of a beyotch just for a minute. Laura, you know, my podcasts, we get some incredible guests and you know, our viewership is off the route like you know, I don't know, man, like maybe you should like really like, do something more like I'm doing what do you think it was your visceral reaction, right? Well,

Laura Khalil:

I'm going to tell you that I feel kind of like my body is tingling a little bit like I'm starting to feel hot. Yeah. And I'm starting to feel small. Yeah, and I'm starting to feel insignificant. And like, boy, What a bitch. Right? Right. What the hell? No. Would you say that? How is that helpful to me?

Alyssa Dver:

It's not, it's not. And it's probably not even true, like social media. Hello, it's probably not even true. Right? Right. But that's your reaction defensive, protect your podcast, protect your ego, re actual. And so if I didn't have this conversation with you before, you might say to me, Well, my podcast is getting 42,000 views every day, and you're going into that mode, that doesn't help anybody doesn't make anyone feel good. It doesn't give confidence to anyone. Yeah, better position is be like, that's great, Alyssa, good for you. And then just leave it there. either leave it there or deal with it in a more productive way, so that you don't feel that you're getting all kinds of crazy, just because I'm all kinds of crazy, huh? So it's that moment of, Okay, I got this, it's okay, I'm gonna choose to be confident stay in my zone of where my values are, I'm not gonna let Alyssa drag me down. I'm not gonna go to that place of reaction. And then right, you're no longer uncomfortable. You're in control. You are like, you know what good for you Alyssa, go have your crisis.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah. And you know, what's really interesting about that example, and we see this a lot in work is separating yourself from the other person's issues. So whatever is going on with them, you don't need to assume it. You don't need to make it a part of who you are. And it's interesting to talk about podcasting, because that's an easy one for us to talk about. Because a lot of people try to compare numbers, right. But that's just one example. everyone listening to this has that example in their industry. And it can feel so frustrating when people say to you, well, you know, I mean, I am just knocking it out of the park. And then the other person saying, we'll shoot, am I that good? Maybe I'm not that good. What do I do, but I like this idea of, it's not playing the comparison game, not getting into that just saying, hey, that's awesome, good for you. I'm gonna keep trucking along. I'm gonna keep doing my thing. I'm not going to be blown off course. Now, you said something interesting. And I don't know if it was a turn of phrase. But I want to kind of, sort of pick it something you said. You said, when you're in this behavior, it's not giving anyone any confidence. So I just want to ask you about that. Can we give people confidence? That's why

Alyssa Dver:

I get up every morning. Because Yes, we can. We can give him a market and send a lot of different ways. But the most powerful one is the one I'm going to do right now. Which is Laura, your podcast is all of them. They're juicy. They're interesting. They are giving confidence to people on the different topics you cover. Yes, you give confidence. My husband's a teacher, obviously, he gives confidence. It doesn't matter what you do for a living, we all are in the business of giving confidence. And the easiest way to do it is to just tell somebody that what you're doing actually matters. And whether you're doing it for 400,000 people or for people listening on the podcast for people that you're giving confidence to you, you're a rock star.

Laura Khalil:

Ah, that is a really beautiful message. And I hope that everyone listening to that remembers that you're having that kind of impact with your community, when you're in your integrity, when you're doing the things that light you up. And when you're coming from that place, again, of not trying to put your ego out there. But as I see it anyway, a place of service a place of helping. I think that's really awesome. Alyssa, I love that.

Alyssa Dver:

Well, you know, it sounds so simple, but just giving somebody that confidence, literally to know that they should be awakened walking around on the earth. I mean, how easy Yeah, yeah. And we do this we trivialize it. You know, I love you are in this and the other one, like happy emojis and all that. No, you know, I tell somebody, you know what, Laura, I said this to you when we started. I'm so grateful to be on the podcast. Again. I was grateful the first time to get a message out. But I think equally important is that we acknowledge that this work is sometimes thankless and often people listen, and they may send send you a note here and there. But the truth of the matter is it only takes one person to make your day right, somebody says the truth. So listeners out there, give Laura some confidence note, let her know. This really does help. It really does help.

Laura Khalil:

You know, Alyssa, that is so great that you mentioned that and it's so it's so truthful because I will say every time I get a response to one of my emails that I send out, or a comment on the show, it is like it's kind of like a shot in the arm of vitalik It feels like vitality to me. I'm like, oh my god. Okay, let's keep going. Yes, this is impacting someone. So I love thinking about that as you walk through the day and you meet people and you engage with people around you. What Is it cost you to be somebody's cheerleader for 30 seconds? What does it cost you to just compliment someone? I mean, that's a that's a beautiful way to walk through your day. And then I think you get it back at the same point.

Unknown:

Well, you get it back twice,

Alyssa Dver:

you get a choice. And you know, that's my last title of my book. I don't know how to say it's simpler. We have this superpower, we don't use it. And the superpower is this, like any superhero, you make somebody else matter, you've given them confidence. And it's like, a spotlight back to you saying, Look, what I just did my ability

Unknown:

to make somebody feel good, I have

Alyssa Dver:

the ability to be the listener, to be the person in the room that comes everyone down, like what a blessing. And everybody's got it. We just don't get taught how to use it. And that is why we are here because you know what? We have that power, and so does everyone who's listening? Oh my gosh, I love it. I love having you on the show. And I hope that everyone listening to this episode feels like they just got a shot of competence, because I certainly feel it. Lissa, before we go, do you have any final tidbit of advice for the audience? You know, this is a hard time and there's no doubt about it. Right? We are being taxed on every level. But it will pass and we know it will pass. But in the meantime, you know, I think the people that are going to be the best suited for the future, through this whole whatever the remaining part is, is people who kind of breathe take the moment to be mindful and thankful for what they wear. They are what they have. And I am certainly today with you today, saying thank you. But I also really want to encourage people to just kind of you know, don't be afraid to breathe. Don't be afraid to slow down Don't be afraid to ask somebody like we talked poke you every now and then because reality is we can all use a little help right now. There's nothing shameful about it. But at the same time, I think everyone around us could use our help. So let's do it.

Laura Khalil:

I love it. Alyssa How can people learn more about you?

Alyssa Dver:

www dot American competence Institute calm is the easiest URL My name al ly SSA dvr.com. I find my speaking work. And I love to hear from people. We've got some you mentioned it earlier incredible free resources. We just launched a thing called confidence quickie so sign up for those super short little ways to boost confidence on a regular basis.

Laura Khalil:

Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us again on brave by design. I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date. And I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave