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Public Speaking


My Adventures in Sucking.

This past weekend I attended the Advanced Speakers Academy in Kelowna, presented by the incredible Hugh Culver and boy did I get my money’s worth! When I was asked to go with my cousin, Mo (a kickass keynote speaker and community engagement rock star), I definitely felt in over my head, to say the least. The part that made me laugh was the literal fact that I was daring myself to suck – in front of a dozen seasoned speakers and doubted my performing experience from high school was worth mentioning… *gulp. I had no idea what to expect and designed an alliance with myself to approach the two days as an open-eyed learner – no faking it till I made it – that I’d be open and honest about my newbie status and would drink in the experience and wisdom I was about to receive. Doing this made it a WHOLE lot easier to walk through those doors. Immediately after introducing myself to the other attendees I felt this reassuring sense of how we are all just people wanting to spread our messages to a bigger audience and make an impact on the world. My nerves began to calm a little bit more. Let’s do this. Hugh dove in with his infectious enthusiasm, humour and ridonkulous experience on the subject and I was fascinated by the world of professional speaking. With every story he told there were invaluable how to’s, tips, tricks and helpful templates and systems to build a solid, organized business as a speaker and facilitator. He consistently delivered ‘one-two punch’ after another. I couldn’t stop writing and was glued to his every word. And then, it was time for us to give it a go… on video. Faaack. As we were handed random numbers I quickly ducked out to use the ladies room and gather myself. It was as if my heart was trying to beat its way out of my chest. When I returned I discovered I was number 11 out of 12… SWEET! And then found out he was going in REVERSE! Son of a…! My head was spinning and as much as I’d tried to rehearse my 3 minute story, it felt as though it was slipping away, one sentence at a time… oh crap. The first speaker began and she was incredible – clear, powerful, articulate and smooth…. uuggh. (AM I REALLY GOING TO DO THIS?!!) Let’s just say the universe decided to hit fast forward and it was my turn. So up I got with a huge smile on my face and a nervously giddy came over me as if the sucking had already happened. Something inside just said “Well, you’re here now lady… just LET GO and enjoy the ride!” I told the story about how I chose my theme this year of “Daring to Suck” – that this past year was one of huge transformation for me as I embraced my passion to become a life/business coach and help others make BIG things happen. I relived the moment I first heard this phrase during one of my training workshops, when our instructors noticed we were trying to make the coaching look “pretty”. I remember she stopped the exercise and said “Don’t be afraid to get messy. Your messy could be exactly what your client NEEDS to have a breakthrough. Swing wide, take chances, look foolish for THEIR sake!...

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Daring to Suck!

In my quest for living a bigger, more purpose-driven life, my theme for 2013 is “Dare to SUCK!” which was a phrase I took away from one of my weekend coach training sessions challenging us to swing wide with our clients and take risks. So this approach is going to be perfect for me this year, where I plan to put myself in situations where I don’t have all the answers and seek to try new things. To expose myself to new experiences, new people and to do it all being unattached to the outcome – meaning I could completely fall flat on my face, in front of a LOT of people… and it not MEAN anything, other than I gave it a go and (hopefully) learned something. The more I think about this, the more I wonder “What the hell are you thinking??!! You know the Universe is listening, right?” That being said, I developed the following strategy to help keep me moving forward when I get stuck and want to retreat (anybody who’s read Scaredy Squirrel to your kids might recognize the approach): Step 1: PANIC! (aka Let Go and Feel it all) – Surrender to the discomfort, messy, ugly cry, frustration of being stuck and say all the irrational crap out loud that I am telling myself. Leave no stone unturned. Exorcise that shit in a big way and clear the way for what lies underneath, which is hopefully, rational thinking and my true inner voice of reason and wisdom that wants more for me. Step 2: Take a deep breath, figure out what I need and (ahem..) ASK FOR HELP! I choose to draw on the richness of experience and wisdom from others around me (friends, colleagues, family) and if it’s not there then I commit to seek it out – research, expanding my network, reading, classes. I choose to be an empowered participant, for the sake of walking into awesome! This step is a toughie hard, especially because I really want to look good, do things perfect the first time and appear to have my shit together, but it’s amazing what happens when I don’t rely on others to read my mind, or better yet, test them to see how well they know me – because they SHOULD know, right? Been there, done that and it’s a dangerous game I no longer want to play. Step 3: TAKE THE HELP, I asked for it! Shut off the voices of resistance/pride/ego in my head, say “Thank You” and open up my mind, ears and take in what I don’t know. I need to remember that NOBODY ever did anything worthwhile or impactful ALONE. Nobody. I will find comfort in this fact and consider tattooing it somewhere I can see it anytime I need to. Step 4: TRUST AND LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN! Whatever it is I want to do or try, I will take what I know, suck up some fierce courage and TRUST that no matter what happens, trying and failing miserably (worse case scenario) is truly better than not trying at all. And who knows, I might not only inspire others to do the same but inspire MYSELF to keep going! I can also sense some hilarious stories to come from this place and I love me a good story to share J This thought is almost exciting… where I can practically feel...

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