The following is a brief excerpt from my forthcoming book,
Buoyant: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Becoming Wildly Successful, Creative, and Free:
When I was three or so sentences in, Real Speaking Founder, Gail Larsen, looked up from her notes and interrupted me: “You’re too cerebral. Stop thinking and scripting your story. Connect back to your Home Zone and speak from your heart. Trust the words will come.”
I started again. I got a bit further into my story before I ran back to the barn of safety by leaning into my brain for language. Gail stopped me again. This time, she pointed out where I had madean impromptu action with my journal to illustrate a part of my story, and how much it had resonated with her.
“I’m on that beach with you when you dropped your journal. Speak from that place.”
I bumbled and fumbled my way through my story, falling into and out of my pattern of wanting to control a presentation, rather than share a deeply-felt experience. I was relieved when I finally arrived at the end and could sit down, out of Gail’s scrutiny.
“If you want to change the world, tell a better story.” ~ Gail Larsen, author of Transformational Speaking
Heat rose in my chest, upward to my face and ears. It turned out that the woman who aced public speaking couldn’t speak her way out of a paper bag. My mind turned gelatinous with shame.
We worked intensely over the course of four days, connecting with and deeply dropping into the truest and most vulnerable parts of ourselves. We uncovered what it is about us that is uniquely powerful—gifts only we possess that hold the keys to transforming others when expressed authentically.
It was an exhausting and profoundly powerful experience.
When I boarded my return flight in Albuquerque, I knew something inside of me had shifted forever, and that I possessed the keys to connecting with and moving others through story (whether speaking or writing).
My challenge would be (and continues to be) to stay there, in that place of trust and surrender—out of the briar patch of wanting to control and create by way of my analytical mind.
As recently as last week, I found myself trying to write out the entirety of a 45-minute video presentation on note cards. Not a skeleton outline to ensure I had covered all the salient points, but a highly-controlled, full-blown script. I could feel my shoulders constrict and lift as I tried to fit my words onto the small rectangles, knowing it was an impossible feat.
A sweat of panic swamped my forehead. I had lost connection with creativity’s fuel…self-trust.
I sat back in my chair and stared at the crown of note cards taped around my laptop. The ludicrous sight snapped me out of my clawing for flawlessness.
I remembered that my singular job was to amplify my true self and speak from my depths. To create a zone of flow and ease by leaning into what I was passionate about sharing.
To focus solely on serving my audience with empathy and expertise. To trust the right words would come.
Down came the note cards.
In their place, I stuck a singular Post-it note with 5 bullet points on the side of my screen. I immediately felt enlivened, bold. Excited.
Before my presentation began, I looked at the pile of note cards on my desk and the wadded ball of tape resting on top. A heap of an old fear of not being enough.
I think I’ll keep it there, to remind me to let go each time I reach for perfection. Each time I have forgotten that sharing who we truly are with self-trust and confidence in our voice is what authentic connection demands from us.