August 28, 2020

Rise up out of the noise



Every day, I see more of my friends and colleagues speaking out against injustice, finding their voices, and speaking their truth.

Just yesterday I wrote about a conversation with a friend who was feeling hopeless. Later that day, another friend spoke up publicly for the first time about the issues plaguing our country.

Maybe you didn't jump on the bandwagon three or six or 36 months ago. Maybe, for whatever reason, you've been holding back. Maybe you're afraid to rock the boat, turn off potential customers and clients, or upset your boss.

You know what? There are A LOT of ways to speak your truth. You don't need to bash people over the head.

But if you're a public figure in any way (speaker, coach, entrepreneur, business or nonprofit leader), with a public platform, and you're not saying *anything,* you're doing your customers and clients a disservice.

Are you a leadership coach or speaker? A financial coach or speaker? An expert on customer service, marketing, social media, graphic design, money mindset, mental health, chronic illness, fitness or something else where your clients are relying on your support to transform their lives or work?

How does your topic/work/content apply to what's happening right now?

People need you. They need to know how to manage their money - in this current environment. They need to know how to stay mentally and physically healthy - in this current environment. They need to know how to deal with their customers - in this current environment.

What people don't need is shallow platitudes and empty clichés. People are struggling. People are hurting. They need you to rise up out of the noise and speak authentically to them about their challenges.

Stay tuned: I'm offering my FREE Speaking up for Change virtual workshop next month to help you get your message out of your head, off of your heart, and into the world. 

You'll learn the Why, What, Who, Where, How and When of #speakingupforchange!

Want to know more? Raise your hand in the comments! Details are coming soon!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 25, 2020

How to be comfortable with uncertainty



I had an enlightening conversation with my acupuncturist yesterday about the uncertainty of life, that triggered a revelation I want to share with you as a lesson for public speaking.

But first, let's go back to December 1, 1990. I was a happy-go-lucky grad student on my way home from the store on my scooter, with a few groceries in a paper bag tucked under my feet. 

In a split second, I was a no longer happy-go-lucky grad student, lying in the middle of a busy intersection with blood pouring down my face, having been hit by a car that didn't see me—head-on.

Due to the head injury and other bodily injuries, and the length of my recovery time, I ended up finishing grad school in two years instead of one. My future changed that day in many ways.

December 4, 2017 was the day the Thomas Fire began, right down the road from us in Ojai, eventually burning through 440 square miles of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, destroying over 1,000 structures, damaging 280, and ultimately causing $2.2 billion in damages.

If it wasn't enough that many lost their homes and businesses (the fire raged for a month, causing such poor air quality that people stayed inside, not shopping, eating out, or pursuing any leisure activities), we had heavy rains the following month. The rains caused a massive debris flow in Montecito, in the area of a burn scar, which killed 21 people.

March 2020: Coronavirus. Need I say more?

What do all these things have in common? In a split second, those of us involved faced death, disability, destruction, disaster, devastation.

Now, let's go back to September 1987. I started a new job and met the man who would become my husband. Three months later, we had our first (group) date, and the rest is history.

How about March 2018, when a rambunctious cow cat named Benjamin, in need of a home, streamed through my Facebook feed? A week later, he was soothing our grieving hearts after having recently lost our 14-year-old TigerLiger to cancer.

Again, in a split second, life changed. But in these examples, instead of destruction and devastation, love came into our lives.

We've been talking about COVID as a "time of uncertainty." And of course, it is. Life has changed and will never go back to the way it was.

But isn't this always true? Isn't every day uncertain? Do we ever know what's going to happen tomorrow? 

In a split second, everything can change. And it does. On a regular basis. Not just now. Not just because of COVID, and not just because of a looming election. Not just because of climate change or because of racial unrest. In a split second, everything can change. And it does. Every single day.

What's happening right now is that this uncertainty is right up in our faces. We can't hide from it. It's easy to forget that life is so unpredictable. We don't like to be reminded.

I was wondering why this "uncertainty" hasn't bothered me as much as it has bothered some. After all, I never know where my next client is coming from. I never know if we'll face a raging fire that takes our home. I never know if I'm going to be healthy tomorrow, or if perhaps I'll fall down the stairs and break my leg. Oh yeah, that already happened on the 4th of July. So that's out of the way.

I also never know if something amazing is going to happen tomorrow! With COVID, I'm seeing so much innovation and creativity, that I'm overcome with optimism for our future. 

And in this experience lies the difference between how I face uncertainty and how many others face it.

I see the possibilities in the world. When I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, that's okay. I know I don't control the outcomes of everything. In fact, I control the outcomes of very few things in my life, when I really think about it. And I'm okay with that.

I wasn't always this way. I have been a major control freak in the past. That car accident in 1990 set me straight.

I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't think straight due to my head injury. I couldn't do my grad school homework. My short-term memory was shot. And I started having panic attacks and anxiety that have never fully gone away and are now managed with medication. I couldn't control my body or my mind. Wow. Not good when you're used to the illusion of controlling everything!

Guess who had to get over being a control freak, and super fast? Yep, this chica. (I had a great therapist who helped me recognize this!)

One of the things that many of my speaking clients hate is the uncertainty of presenting. You can practice for days and weeks. You can record yourself. You can create the most beautiful, perfect slides. You can hire an expert like me to ensure you are performing at your best.

But when Zoom goes down for hours (like it did this week), or your client forgets to set up your polls and breakout rooms, or you wake up with laryngitis (happened to me) or your next-door neighbor starts up the leaf blower right outside your window, how exactly are you in control?

We can have contingency plans all day long—and many speakers do! It's a really good idea. But life is uncertain. Presenting is uncertain. Every time you present, you are stepping into the great unknown. And ultimately, we can look at that as potential disaster, or we can look at it as potential possibility.

You actually get to choose how you see the world, how you perceive change, disruption and the unpredictable nature of life.

I had a client who used to dread speaking. We worked on his mindset. After a radio appearance he had feared, he told me that he actually enjoyed himself. In changing his mindset about the possible outcomes, he realized "I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t go well."

How about you? Can you practice making this mental shift? It's true, tomorrow could be a disaster. You could get hit by a bus. Or you could get pooped on by a bird. Or you could win the lottery.

Or, to paraphrase my favorite Instagram dog Beaux Tox, tomorrow could be the best day you have ever had in your whole entire life!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 19, 2020

Your presentation needs osteoclasts



Nerd alert! 🤓 I have become obsessed with the process of bone healing!

On July 4, I lost my footing on the stairs in my home and suffered a compound fracture in my right leg, an "open tib-fib" in medical shorthand. I'm calling it "The Saga of the Four Fractures."

I had surgery on July 5 to insert a rod and screws (you can call me the Bionic Woman🦿), and I've been working on my healing and recovery for the past six weeks.

Of course, I started studying up on bone healing. Our bodies are amazingly resilient, but the way bones heal is particularly magical.

You would expect that there are cells that are entirely responsible for building bone. They're called osteoblasts. 

A couple weeks after the initial fracture, after the body has produced a healthy swelling around the injury and then a soft protective callus made of collagen, the osteoblasts start their work building new bone.

The osteoblasts add minerals into the collagen tissue—starting at about the six-week mark—and between weeks 6 and 12 (on a lower limb injury like mine) the hard callus forms.

We might expect that, once the hard bone has formed, the work is done.

But wait, there's more!

There's another type of cell that now jumps in and continues working on the bone. This cell, the osteoclast, is responsible for removing bone.

What? Removing bone?

The osteoblasts are not about finesse. They build bone where it's needed, with a little extra for good measure.

The osteoclasts now come in and remodel the bone, reshaping it to its proper form. They break down and digest excess bone in a process called bone resorption.

This balance between building bone and breaking it down is called bone homeostasis: Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are equally important in the process of maintaining healthy bone, not just when bones are broken, but throughout our lives.

Yep, this illustration of homeostasis is directly related to your presentations!

Most speakers have too much information to share. It's rare when I see a client who doesn't have enough to say about their topic. When you're a subject matter expert, it's hard to say everything you want to say in an hour or less! I get it.

In an effort not to leave anything out, many speakers pack their presentations too full. They overbuild. And frankly, they make a mess of things. 

They put too many bullets on slides, they leave out interaction and engagement activities, they talk too fast, and they run over time... all in an effort not to leave out a single concept or idea.

There is a better way! Incorporate the osteoclast techniqe into your presentation!

First you build the presentation. Then you practice the presentation out loud and record it. Why out loud and why record? Because this will give you valuable information about flow, structure and timing.

Once you have this information, you start breaking it down, reshaping it and shaving off the excess. 

You cannot create a successful presentation without removing the excess, paring it down, and culling the extraneous. You can't create a successful presentation without the balance of expanding and contracting, building and demolishing.

Keep practicing, recording and revising, until your presentation has taken its most streamlined and elegant shape. Just like your beautiful bones.



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

June 10, 2020

Do you cringe when you hear "white privilege?"



Equating racism with hate is a red herring for white people. (Or maybe just liberal "enlightened" white people.)

Making hatred the defining characteristic of a racist person allows white people to disengage from the exploration of white privilege and implicit bias.

I’m going to go out on a limb and wager that the majority of the people I know and love don’t actually hate anyone based solely on their race, ethnicity, religion, weight, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or socioeconomic status. 

(Maybe some of you do hate people based on these attributes. Then I guess this post isn't for you. And we shouldn't be friends.)

It’s easy to think that, because you don’t “hate” anyone or you’re not “mean” to anyone, you can’t possibly be contributing to racism.

You may not hate anyone, but if you’re white, you still benefit from a system of institutionalized racism that discriminates against people of color. 

You may not hate anyone, but you are part of a society that, from textbooks to news media to movies tells – at best – an incomplete and stereotyped story of the lives and contributions of POC and – at worst – a completely false and dangerous story.

Study up on white privilege, read about implicit bias, acknowledge your defensiveness when you hear the words "hate" and "privilege," listen to the experiences of POC, and find ways to take tangible action to break down the systems and policies that put nonwhites at a lifelong disadvantage.

If you want to put the focus on love and kindness, please also remember to focus on personal responsibility for self-awareness and action.

And if you don't feel that the words "hate" or "privilege" apply to you, keep listening, reading, and studying anyway. Don't let the words distract you from the work.


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

May 12, 2020

I have a secret...



There are so many great online programs out there, and I have several coaches whose programs I'm pretty much always going to join.

But most programs have a Facebook group component, and this is where I find myself holding back from signing up for a program, especially if I know that this program has 50 or 100 people in it. 

When I'm about to join a group with 50+ people all doing the same homework every day, I get super anxious.

Am I supposed to comment on and like all 50+ people's posts every single day in a 31-day challenge or an 8-week program? How am I going to have time to watch all 50+ introduction videos and other videos? How am I going to support others while also getting my own work done? 

I'm highly apprehensive about groups. In fact, I really don't like 90% of the groups I'm in.

I don't like being in groups that don't have active participants, obviously, and I feel sad and lonely if no one likes my posts, so I want to be active for the other people in the group. 

But I also don't have all day to spend in a group making sure other people get likes and comments. I have anxiety and guilt pretty much every time I'm in a program or challenge group.

This past weekend, I started leaving Facebook groups. I'm still in a LOT. Too many, in fact. 

The ones I'm paying for, I keep, and I do my best to balance my own needs with being supportive of others.

Ones I'm not paying for, especially ones I've never been active in, that seemed like a good idea at the time, those are gone.

Groups that are community-based, like local buy/sell/trade groups, I keep for their usefulness when and if I need them.

And then there's that "other" category: groups I joined to help or support a friend or colleague, but that I never really pay attention to. Arrrgh. What do I do about THESE groups?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on (large) groups. I'm in some smaller groups that are perfectly manageable. 

But when you're in a large group, do you feel compelled to support everyone else? 

Do you feel guilty if you comment on some posts and not others? 

Do you do "drive-by likes" where you just like every new post so people don't feel ignored?

Share your thoughts, guilt, anxiety, or love of groups!


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

April 30, 2020

Embrace imperfect action



"It's always easier to just say no. It's always easier to say 'We can't do it.' 
Because when you say 'We will try to do it,' now you're changing things, and whenever you change, there's opposition. Every time. 
So it's always easier just to stay status quo. It's always easier not to risk, not to try to raise the bar. Because maybe you can't do it, maybe there will be problems. So it's easier just to say no, it's easier to say 'This is all we can do. It's impossible.' 
That's not what the mayor is doing here. The mayor is stepping up and he's stepping up in a big way."
~ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
California's governor, Gavin Newsom, was the first to issue stay at home orders when the numbers of positive COVID-19 tests began to rise. Newsom also has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to launch a one-of-a-kind program that will use local restaurants to prepare and deliver free food for eligible seniors.

Not everyone is happy with Newsom's decisions, like today's decision to shut down state and local beaches in Orange County because of large crowds over the past weekend and high numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

But Newsom is not trying to please everyone. He's taking actions, backed by research, that he believes to be the best actions for Californians. Regarding the beaches, he said, "I hope it’s just a very short-term adjustment."

California and other states are modeling—on a daily basis—what imperfect action looks like, in the face of a challenge none of our leaders has experienced before.

As Governor Cuomo said in his address on April 30 (quoted above), "It's always easier not to risk, not to try to raise the bar." He points out that there will be opposition, and that it's easier to do nothing than to possibly create more problems.

What would you rather see in your leaders?

Would you rather have a leader that sits back out of fear of criticism, fear of making mistakes, or fear of not getting reelected?

Or would you rather have a leader who tests solutions to the best of their ability, gathering as much data as possible in order to make informed decisions, and then fixes mistakes as they go along?

Our leaders are under tremendous strain and pressure right now, and I would not want to be in any of their shoes.

The best leaders are striving to serve. They're not focusing on fears of failure, they're focusing on getting the needs of their people met, however they can.

Every leader has a choice right now: Take no action, or take imperfect action. That's it.

Which leader are you? Striving for perfection, focusing on your own potential failures, or striving to serve your people?




I'd love to help you take imperfect action on your next presentation! If you struggle with inaction due to perfectionist tendencies, always waiting to get ready... to get ready... take a look at my 8 Steps to Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection workshop, coming up on May 7!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

April 28, 2020

Your audience needs you - now



🔸What are you holding back on releasing to the world because you're still getting ready... to get ready... to get ready?

🔸Are you delaying the release of a new program, a new product, a new virtual training?

🔸What could you accomplish - right now - if you could just get over your need to be a "perfect" presenter?

Ditch🧹it! Dump🗑️it! Kick🦶🏽 it to the curb! Perfection, that is. 

My workshop "8 Steps to Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection" will set you up for speaking success with 8 actionable tools that you can put into practice immediately.

Your audience needs your message and your solutions!

Reserve your spot now.

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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