5 Ways You Can Train Yourself to Take Up More Space and Be Visible
As an artist you have to be willing to take up space.
Have you figured this out yet?
Culturally, we are conditioned to play it small, keep ourselves in line, be polite, don't overshare, don't be so loud!
The list goes on and on.
But as an artist, a performer, a creator you have to be willing to stretch what's comfortable. You have to be willing to share your art and take up more space than most people are comfortable with. Does the idea make you feel a little nauseous? It's because you've been trained otherwise.
Here are five easy things you can start doing today to train yourself to take up more space:
1. Stretch Yourself Out When You Sit Or Stand
Try this: next time you're in a group, try sitting back in your chair, spreading your arms out around you (I've been so bold as to drape them over the chair of the person next to me if I know them), or propping them up behind your head like this woman picture here. Instead of squishing your legs together or crossing them, try placing them on the floor - apart.
2. Take Up Two Seats On Public Transit
Ok, so clearly if it's a packed bus or someone needs a seat, you'll give it over. But practice this when there are a few seats available. Sit in-between the two seats taking up two seats.
3. Insert Yourself Into Conversations Without Waiting for the Person to Finish
Yes, this is technically interrupting, "and," the voice in your head says, "isn't that rude?" Well, we are taught that it's rude, and yet powerful people do it all the time. Here's the trick to doing it artfully: Dovetail the conversation. That is meet the conversation where it is, snatch up the tail of the moment and take the conversation where you'd like it to go.
Try this: Jump in as someone is finishing a point by repeating the last few words they said then saying, "I hear you and . . . " then insert your point of view.
4. Take Up An Extra Chair With Your Backpack or Your Purse
Next time you're at a restaurant ask them for a chair to place your purse on. Taught to me by a friend of mine who believes it is "bad luck" to put a purse on the floor (not to mention dirty), I find that while not always practical and not always convenient it can stretch you to be more comfortable taking up space.
5. Walk Into Your Next Audition (or Onstage) More Slowly
All right, so you can't be a total diva about it, I get it. But I've been in casting waiting rooms before and I've watched what happens when an actor's name is called. They lean forward and jump up quickly sending a signal to their body that they're in a rush.. this can send you into a tailspin of stage fright. Instead, gather yourself and stand as though you are in the comfort of your home and you decide to get up and go into the kitchen for a snack. Gently, relaxed and confident. You will feel the difference and BONUS you send off signals of confidence by doing this.
I know this sort of "outside in" approach doesn't work for everyone. If you try these things above and find they aren't helping the deeper issues that you have with taking up space, then it might be time to get some support or take an intensive to help you unlock the real reason you play small or feel uncomfortable being visible. In this case, I suggest you seriously consider getting some one on one support whether with me or with a professional coach or therapist that you vibe with.
with BIG LOVE,
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Do you have other ideas for ways to get more comfortable taking up space? I'd love to hear!
Please feel free to share your comments and insights below.