“She is so quiet, nobody can hear her speak.”
What happened next changed the trajectory of my life.
Here’s what happened.
The words above came to me in a text from a mom at school. She was talking about her 11 year old daughter and had reached out to me in despair. Did I know anyone that could help? she asked me.
I was a professional actress and between jobs, so without thinking, I immediately replied, Yes! I can do that. Gulp!
I called in a favour and for that first meeting with Maria, I got a massive room with a stage. Talk about overkill! But we did vocal exercises and warm ups. And we chatted. Lots.
Turned out that alongside the acting tips and tasks, the issue of confidence was really important.
What does confidence feel like?
What does it sound like?
Who’s got it and who hasn’t?
I was getting the chance to practice my newly minted coaching qualification in ways I’d never imagined. This is what changed the trajectory of my life, though I wasn’t to know it immediately.
More than that, I saw myself in Maria.
Although outwardly chatty and smiley as a child, I often felt out of place, powerless and most definitely silent about so many things, just like Maria.
No wonder I became an actress, all those emotions had to go somewhere and I loved the freedom of being able to explore them in a safe way, I LOVED the relief of being someone else for a while.
The hard bit? Getting over all that self-judgement, self-criticism and the ‘What would my friends say if they could see me now?’ mind drama. With acting you have to throw yourself into whatever you’re doing with gusto and hang the consequences, fly free and love to fail fast and fail forward. As my friend so succinctly put it, “You have to take the F**k-it pill!” And that’s when the magic happens.
I’d already learned how important this was when I trained and subsequently performed with an improv group. You have to leap – into the scene, on to the stage – with confidence that your brain will come up with something, anything, to keep the action going.
And you know what? The brain ALWAYS comes up with something. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, or good, or perfect. In fact messy, everyday, downright stupid suggestions will actually work. And if it doesn’t? Move on!
Back to Maria. I remember talking to her about all this, how to be brave, take a leap and, most of all, speak up.
And she did. She started talking to her parents, her teachers, and her friends. She even stood up to her class bully! And everyone marvelled at her new found confidence.
Because speaking up always moves the action forward, perhaps imperfectly, messily but always forward. Talking will get you somewhere, whereas staying silent lets you (and others around you) suffer, be ignored and gets you … nowhere.
Thanks to Maria, my business Generally Speaking was born and I now work as a Video Coach, helping others find their true voice, be brave, be seen and be heard. (And let me tell you, the entrepreneurial journey is a lot like going on stage every day.)
All around me I notice girls and women playing small, hiding, afraid of speaking up and speaking out.
I’ve been there too (and still am some days).
I notice how it affects our careers, our dreams and our relationships. I know from my own experience that being authentic can be a struggle, that putting on a facade and being someone else feels easier, more acceptable. Talking about myself, my dreams, my struggles, my business journey? No thanks!
And now that we seem to live in a virtual world, now that we are all online and having to get used to being on screen and find connection in new ways? Well, hallelujah! Because let me tell you, a film set feels like home to me. The most important word on a film set? ACTION! Being on screen is my happy place and now I can help other women not only face their fears of being literally visible, but get to a place where they ENJOY it. Where getting clarity and confidence REALLY matters and where they get to be their genuine, authentic, 100% brilliant selves. So they can share their wisdom and connect with their dream audience.
Because being seen and being heard always moves you forward. Perhaps messily and chaotically, but always forward. You are important, your message and your business are important and we want to hear from you!
Join me on this journey to powerful transformation through authentic communication. Come and hang out with the awesome tribe of women in my Facebook Group and let’s keep the conversation going.