I’ve just watched Knock down the house on Netflix about four female candidates trying to win seats in the USA Congressional elections of 2018. I found parts of it very moving and compelling
I love how Alexandria Ocasio prepared herself for a hugely important debate with her rival in the congressional primary in New York. In the film. at that moment. she is seen as a complete outsider, in conventional terms she stands no chance of beating Joe Crowley who is the fourth most powerful democrat in Congress. Boy, were they wrong!
In the film we get to be witnesses to her pre-debate pep talk. It’s 61 minutes into the film
“I am debating on behalf of the movement tonight
This is not about electing me to congress
Its about electing us to congress
That’s what I have to communicate”
She tells herself to
“Take up space
Take up space
I need to take up space
I am here”
She practises taking up space by waving her arms
And then speaks the folowing
“I CAN do this
I AM experienced enough to do this
I am knowledgeable enough to do this
I am prepared enough to do this
I am mature enough to do this
I am brave enough to do this”
“The whole time he’s going to tell that I can’t do this,
That I’m small, that I’m little and that I’m young, that I’m inexperienced”
She pushes those ideas away with a strong movement of her arms and big sigh
Notes about her pep talk
What I find moving about this is just how many people who are scared of public speaking don’t want to take the space and how wonderful it is to see someone step right into their personal power.
She’s also making it NOT about herself, her narrative is that its about “US” being elected to Congress. This is about a bigger picture, more anxious people would make it far more about themselves.
And her messages to herself are about self-acceptance rather than being about being perfect. She is saying that “I AM enough”. Studies show that completely positive thinking can actually damage self confidence because the brain doesn’t believe them.
She is fundamentally trusting herself to do a difficult thing. There is some nervousness but she is focussing on stepping into her power and not focussed on what could go wrong. And it’s very inspiring to watch her take her space.