Podcast Intro:

Hey, welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m your host, Hadar. And this is episode number 286, and today we’re gonna talk about why it is so hard to speak with other people.

Hey everyone. Thank you so much for tuning in for another episode. So the title says, ‘Why is it so hard to speak with others?’ This is what I said in the introduction. Now, it’s not really why it’s so hard to speak with others. You know, I had to get you to listen somehow, so I made it serious. But you and I both know that sometimes it’s easy to speak with people and sometimes it’s hard. Even though we use the same language, whether it’s our second language or first language.

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. But for some reason, that we all know what that reason is, I guess, it is harder to do it in your second language. And today I wanna address that, but not just the aspect of the language itself, like pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and all of that good stuff. But what is underneath that? Because why sometimes it’s easy when we have the same grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation? And sometimes it’s hard, even though it’s the same grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation. What is the difference? I wanna talk about that gray area, and talk about what’s going on inside, inside of ourselves.

You know, for many years I used to teach English from the outside in only, how it comes out. We focused on what comes out. And then gradually, you know, how you think about it and how you create the language, but not how you impact the outcome by working from the inside out. Today’s about that. And it’s also a good opportunity, I’m gonna talk about it at the end of the episode again, it’s also a good opportunity to tell you that today we also opened a new mini course. Ah, this is so exciting! We haven’t launched anything new in almost two years, so it’s definitely a good reason to celebrate.

And the mini course is about mindset, it’s called My English Mindset. And it’s a really easy to digest training program with daily audios of 10 minutes each. And if you like podcasts, and if you are listening to this on a regular basis, then you are going to love it. Cuz it’s like a mini podcast that you have for yourself, just about mindset, 10 minutes a day with daily prompts to reflect on the daily topic. So, I’m very thrilled about that. I’m going to link to more information in the description, but you can also just go to hadarshemesh.com/mindset and learn all about it.

Now, this episode actually talks about why we need to work on our mindset and a few of the challenges and obstacles that we face, more specifically, not just this general feeling of, Oh, it is different. Why is it different? How do we break it down and how do we tackle and dismantle every element? All right, so let’s listen to today’s episode.

Video Transcript:

Why is it so freaking hard to speak to your boss or your kid’s teacher or your doctor when it’s not that hard to speak to a friend or your family members? Why is it so hard for you to make mistakes or to not understand someone for a second? Why is it so hard? Why is it so hard for you to understand people who speak to you in real life when it’s not that hard for you to understand people when watching YouTube videos or listening to podcasts, or watching your favorite Netflix show? What happens in the interaction with other people that makes it so freaking hard?

Hi everyone. I’m Hadar, I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I am here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom. And today we are going to talk about all the other elements of English that are not English, that are preventing you from speaking English with clarity, confidence, and real freedom. If you wanna find out more about me and how I can help you, make sure that after this video you go and check out my website at hadarshemesh.com, and follow me on social media where I share valuable content every single day.

But before that, I wanna share with you a personal story of why this matters so much to me. When I was 21, I moved to the US. I wanted to become an actress. And I studied acting and I worked there and it was pretty amazing, and also devastating and really hard, and all the possible emotions that a human being can experience I’ve experienced.

And then my visa expired and I had to move back to my home country, and I wasn’t ready to move back. I wasn’t ready to let go of that dream of becoming an actress in New York City, but I had no choice. So I moved back to my home country, and I felt that even though I was speaking my first language, I wasn’t feeling like myself. And most importantly, I felt like this huge part of my life, this big dream that I had, was shattered. And I lost all confidence in who I was and what my purpose in life was.

At that time I joined a theater company. And I remember that I didn’t feel like myself. I was always trying to hide who I was because I thought I was not good enough, like they would get so bored with me, and I stopped talking, gradually. I really like stopped communicating with them because I did not want to bother them.

And with that, I noticed that I started speaking less and less and less. And it started affecting my voice, like even when I would try to speak, I would feel like my voice is not strong enough to carry out what it is that I wanted to say. So my voice started becoming weaker, I felt less secure in what I was saying, and I felt pretty crappy altogether.

And this was in my first language. So I started making that connection between confidence and voice. And I noticed that when you feel insecure, when you’re very much consumed with what other people are thinking of you, and maybe if you have a low self-esteem, it would ultimately affect how you use your voice and how willing you are to fully express yourself, no matter what language you speak. So if it can happen in your first language, it can absolutely happen when you communicate in a second language where the starting point is feeling less confident and not as good as who you are in your first language.

So, all of a sudden here you are. You’ve been learning English, you’ve been using English, you’ve been exposed to English. And yet, you feel like you cannot use it properly. Why is that? Now, there are many reasons for that. Maybe the language is not available, maybe you haven’t been practicing it enough. I have other videos that discuss that. Today I wanna talk about the concept of confidence. And in that I wanna address mindset.

Mindset is how you think about yourself as a speaker of English as a second language. It’s the thoughts that you have before speaking: “Should I speak? Should I not speak”. While speaking: “Oh crap, I didn’t pronounce it correctly.” Or, “Should I use the Past Perfect or the Present Perfect?” And after speaking: “Oh, I really messed up. I wasn’t able to express myself. I got stuck so many times.” And all of these things take up so much space in your brain. And they end up lowering your confidence and lowering your ability in English, your performance in English, and your belief about what’s possible for you in English.

So based on my experience considering this type of work, understanding your thoughts, your patterns, and working towards changing them is not less important than developing your intonation, rhythm, stress, pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary. Because if you are not confident, it doesn’t matter how well you know English, you are always going to get stuck: when you feel evaluated, when the stakes are high, when you are challenged, when you speak to native speakers.

You’re gonna be limiting yourself, no one’s gonna do it to you, you will. And it’s not your English. It’s how you perceive yourself in English. But the good news is that you can totally change it by focusing on these aspects. And not just on the practice, and not just on learning more. You can make massive change in your confidence, and ultimately, in your English and in your fluency.

Now, I’ve created a lot of episodes and videos about mindset, and I’m going to link all of them below if you are new to this concept. And today I wanna share with you key elements that tackle mindset in language learning. Now, in fact, I actually collected 30 of those key elements, and I collected all of them. And I’m gonna talk about how you can get access to those 30 elements with a lot of thought work to help you process these things and overcome them. But for now, let’s talk about five.

The first one is overthinking. Overthinking tends to happen all the time. It’s about what you’re gonna practice, how you’re gonna learn English. It’s about whether or not you’re going to speak and how you’re going to speak, and what you’re going to say. And how you’re going to say something and what words to choose and what tense to choose. And after speaking, it’s about playing the conversation in your head again and again and again, thinking whether or not you did well. That is overthinking in English.

There is the concept of being too hard on yourself when making mistakes. I have an entire podcast recorded about that. And that is the concept of not being able to give yourself grace when you make mistakes. When you do something that you know shouldn’t be done in the language. When you use a tense that you already are familiar with, and yet you’re being so hard on yourself. It’s that idea of being a perfectionist and always trying to get it right, which stops you from actually expressing yourself and communicating.

Another thing is the environment you surround yourself with. Have you ever considered that maybe the people that you practice English with or the people who are around you when you practice English or the people in your work, affect how you perceive yourself as a speaker of English as second language? Whether it’s comments that you’ve been getting or people deterring you from doing the work, or maybe people criticizing you a little too often. Maybe this environment is not helping you thrive, and you just take it for granted. You’re like, “This is my life. What am I gonna do about it?” There’s a lot that you can do about it. And changing your environment and creating the best circumstances for you to succeed is critical for your progress.

Another element is comparison, comparing yourself to others. Has it ever happened to you when you heard someone else speak and that person speaks the same first language as you? And they’re non-native speakers of English as well, and you thought to yourself, “How come they sound so good and I sound so bad? How come they’re doing all of those things and I’m unable to even go to a job interview? How come they sound so clear and fluent on their video or recording or in a meeting, and I don’t even have the confidence to answer when someone asks me a question?” If you’ve ever compared yourself to others, know that it’s a destructive habit that is preventing you from progressing.

The last element that I wanna talk about that I think needs to be put into work is understanding what’s possible – opening yourself to the option or the opportunity that what you wish for yourself and what you want for yourself can indeed happen. When you go through life or go through speaking English thinking, “Oh, I would never be able to work in an English-speaking country, it’s so hard.” Or, “I would never be able to get fluent, I would never be able to speak to my neighbors”, if you’re an immigrant in an English-speaking country.

What you’re doing is you are limiting what’s possible for you in life. And when that is your reality, when that is your perception of reality, what makes you think that you would actually go and do things that go against that belief? If you think that it’s impossible for you to work in English, would you actually go and look for a job or go to interviews in English? Of course not. And if you don’t do that, then of course you’re not gonna find a job in English. But if you change that thought, then you say to yourself, “It is possible”, then maybe you’d be more open to the opportunity and the option of interviewing in English.

And when that happens, the chances of you getting a job in English are higher than when not interviewing at all. How you think about what’s possible actually determines the results that you see in your life. And that requires work as well. And not just more practice and more vocabulary and better grammar. All of these elements are critical for reaching a breakthrough and for reaching real limitless fluency.

Now, like I said, I’ve collected 30 of these patterns that supposedly prevent you from feeling confident and speaking fluent, and I wanted to do something about it. So, I created a mini training called My English Mindset. It’s a 30-day mindset training, where every day for only 10 minutes, I address each element and talk about how you can overcome it. Every day for 30 days, I talk about each one of those elements that stop you from feeling confident and being fluent.

And when you start thinking about those things and dealing with those things and asking important questions like what are your limiting beliefs, or what is your environment like, you start making changes around you and inside of you, that will ultimately make it possible for you to reach a breakthrough and to succeed, and not just in English, in your personal life as well.

My students who’ve been doing this type of work has seen incredible results in their relationships, and work status, and how they are with their kids, and friendships, only because they started developing a healthier, more proactive, more productive mindset. So this 30-day training is composed of different lessons about overthinking and feeling good, and criticism, and resistance, and trauma and language, and being in control, and so much more. And every day I ask you to reflect and help you make those internal changes. This is thought work, this is mindset work. And it’s so incredibly important. And I also wanted to make it super affordable so that almost anyone can access it. I’m going to link to it below.

And in the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Please let me know in the comments, from the elements that I spoke about today, what resonated the most with you? Write it in the comments, and let’s start a conversation. Also, you can send me a DM on Instagram and share with me your thoughts. You can find me at @hadar.accentsway.

Thank you so much for being here. And thank you so much for doing this work, even though it could be so freaking hard. But it’s not impossible and you have to believe in yourself and in the fact that it’s possible for you. And I hope I can show you how.

Thank you so much. If you like this episode, make sure you share it with your friends, colleagues, and students. And that’s it. Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.