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The KEY Questions: What is the secret of confidence?

18 June 17

You do everything right. Sitting opposite the table from the client you adopt his posture – legs crossed, arms folded. Not in such a way that he would notice, of course. You go about it subtly, shifting your weight and adjusting your position to mirror his every move. You are also pacing his breathing, another trick you’ve learned from your study of NLP. You are becoming a master of the technique of ‘getting into rapport’ with another person, the point being to achieve that state of grace where you both feel comfortable, at ease with each other, and able to conduct your business like two old friends getting together for a drink and a chat. It feels good. You feel energised and, all in all, really quite pleased with yourself.

Then you notice he’s giving you a funny look. He’s leaning forward in his seat, cocking his head inquisitively. He’s evidently asked you a question and is waiting for your reply. You realise with a sinking feeling that for the last couple of minutes you haven’t listened to a single word he’s said.

Do you like paradoxes, those ‘chicken and egg’ conundrums that you can mull over for hours and never get your head around? I’ve got a great one for you, and it’s to do with confidence. So just imagine: you’re about to give a talk to a roomful of people who have paid good money to hear what you have to say. You’re understandably nervous and unfortunately for you the more aware of that feeling you are, the more nervous you become. It’s completely self-fulfilling, you become ensnared in your thoughts like a fish caught in a net, and the chances are that with this mindset you will not perform to the best of your ability, and may come away from the experience with even more negative thinking about yourself. ‘I screwed up. Why do I always screw up?

Here’s the paradox: If your confidence is something you’re concerned with, then by definition you are not confident. When you are feeling confident, then confidence ceases to be an issue. In fact it’s the last thing on your mind.

Is it possible to think yourself confident, when it was thinking that caused the trouble in the first place?

When we’re feeling insecure any task we have set ourselves can take on a daunting aspect. What should be a very pleasurable experience – something we genuinely look forward to – can turn negative, for no other reason than our thinking has momentarily gone off track. I’ve had every possible good and bad experience over the many years I’ve spent talking to groups of people, and I’ve tried to learn from all of them. Nowadays, since I’ve discovered that my only challenge is to speak from my grounding – and so not really a ‘challenge’ at all – I have begun to enjoy my work more than ever. The only difference between a good experience and a bad one is the quality of our thinking in the moment.

If you have a busy mind, whether you’re speaking to a single client or a roomful, if you’re ‘checking in’ with yourself from moment to moment – ‘How am I doing? How am I coming across?’ (and we’ve all been there) – then the internal ‘noise’ of your thinking may be loud enough to drown out your ability to listen, and properly communicate your message.

To be fair to the unlucky hypothetical NLP practitioner in my story I should add that the whole point of learning a technique like ‘Rapport’ is to master it to the point where it becomes automatic, so you begin to mirror the client’s posture and breathing without really even thinking about it. It served me pretty well over the many years that I used and taught it, but I’ve moved on. My position now is that if these techniques work for you then stick with them but always be aware that your authentic voice is the one that will resonate best with the client. The intelligence is built into the vision of the world you carry with you, so expand your grounding first, and the results will follow effortlessly. Have fun with your models, but never forget that they are models. Being comfortable in your own skin is what will make you fascinating to the client – and you might find he or she starts modelling you!

So I guess the answer to my question is: yes, it is possible to ‘think yourself confident’. All you have to do is stop thinking!

I think that’s what they call a paradox!



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  • Having attended David's course and then had some one to one sessions with him my approach to my life has changed dramatically and improved. David has a very gentle and empathic way about him, yet managed to challenge my habitual way of being and thinking. As a result of our time together I now practice his "way of being" and I truly find that I am getting far better results in all of the relationships that I encounter. My inner chatter is under control, most of the time, and I am learning to pause and push away harmful thinking . It's surprising how habitual thinking can do so much damage and how, once you really focus on what comes into your mind you start to realise that you can be bigger than your random thoughts. So David thank you for putting me on a better pathway. Looking forward to sharing another journey with the Auspicium family!
    Rowena Wild

  • The course I attended with David Key was marvellous, every moment being filled with joy and laughter. David has a unique talent to teach, unlocking the full potential of every person he encounters. His course opened up an infinite number of ways for me to get the life I want, right now, today, and in the future. It made me realise that thought is fluid and that I can mould it the way I want to suit my day. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in search of a new professional career or for those who simply want a happier life. Thank You!
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  • It took me about 5 years of 'dithering' before committing, and in that time I attended several introductory days from various training providers. David's accessible style and the unforced flow of the day is what persuaded me to choose his company. David provides a training model that helps you become your best self - as a student, as a practitioner, as a person. By 'best', I mean more open, less fearful, more confident, less judgemental - whether you attend the course to make a change personally or professionally, to build on existing success, or with no idea where it might go, simply because you are interested (that was me!) you will be impressed at what you are able to achieve with David's expert guidance showing you how to use your curiosity as a pathway to growth. In the first week following the course, I dealt with several potentially difficult situations both at work and home, coming from a changed perspective - resulting in no conflict, calmer colleagues, less stressed family. And this without actively using any techniques; the biggest change has been inside my own headspace. I can't wait to do the next course. Now that I know, unequivocally, the benefits to be had, I wish I had come down off the fence years ago! Added bonus, a bunch of fabulous new friends. And a final thought about cost; some of you reading this will be struggling to justify spending a chunk of hard earned money "just" for yourself. Well, I will be using these tools every day for the rest of my life - pennies a day investment! I am SO worth it. And so are you!
    Sue Bee

  • I first met David at an evening business club a couple of years ago. During his presentation something “clicked” with me and I felt compelled to further my understanding of NLP. I attended the Auspicium free trial day. My earlier feelings were confirmed. This guy knows what he’s talking about and has a passion for helping people. I duly signed up for the NLP and Hypnotherapy practitioner course. What a week. All in the class left in such high spirits with a very different outlook on life. Following on I have attended the NLP and Hypnotherapy Master Practitioner course. Again excellent. There was something about the Hypnotherapy element of the course that I loved so on to the Hypnotherapy Trainers Training (another absolutely brilliant week). All the courses that I have attended have been very well organised, have a great team of trainers and support volunteers. The documentation is well put together and the exercises are all structured to push yourself to show you have a grasp of the given subject. I now have a fantastic group of new friends who I have a deep link with. We still meet up when we can to catch up on what we are all doing. As of March this year I have been participating in the Auspicium Freedom Project. This is a yearlong “conversation” about the 3 Principles – Mind, Thought and Consciousness. It took me a while to “get” it but now just by “doing nothing” I find myself doing more with better results and no stress. There are no models or techniques to learn. We all have the Principles inside us. We just need to be woken up to how to use them. It’s a great journey that will take the rest of my life. David is a superb trainer and fully deserves all the praise he receives.
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  • Before going on David’s Practitioner course, I thought I knew what I wanted, where I was headed and how I was going to get it. All I wanted an additional skill to add to my portfolio. I thought my life was in reasonably good order, nothing that needed fixing. I can sum up my experience of working with David in two words: life-changing. Instead of just learning a new skill, David encouraged us to apply his teaching, our learning, to ourselves. In a very safe environment, I gradually dropped the barriers I had painstakingly built up over a long time. This change happened very quickly and I continued growing as a person, studying 2 more courses with David and joining him on the Freedom project. Why David? He is disarmingly honest, genuine and engaging. He has a very broad knowledge of human behaviour and passes his knowledge on with grace. As a result of working with David, I have changed, and my life has changed. In myself I am very happy and contented person. My marriage is better and stronger. My business plans have taken a different route - one that is exciting and feels very right for me.