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Stop Hiding, Reclaim Your Voice | Alexia Vernon

2019-05-21 | 🔗

Alexia Vernon (https://alexiavernon.com/) is a transformational speaking and women’s leadership expert, coach and author who shows entrepreneurs, business leaders and change-makers how to develop the mindset and behaviors needed to walk into any room, or onto any stage, and speak with "moxie" - so they can radically (and positively) impact their audiences, businesses and communities. Now, branded a “Moxie Maven” by President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, Vernon is the founder of The Spotlight Speaker Accelerator and Spotlight Speakers Collective and the author of Step Into Your Moxie, (https://amzn.to/2GbwPqz) a rally cry to amplify your voice, visibility and influence the world. 


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The alexia vernon is on a mission to empower people defined and share their voices, especially women, at an early age after being sexually abused. She spoke up saw the power of her voice to make a difference, then about four years or so later, arriving at school in the old school full on braces and headgear, her classmates did to her really lead. Her taken can go quiet for a lot of years until she discovered an outlet for her expression in ballet, where she not only studied on four scholarship at the pacific northwest ballet school. She also began to turn out to the world rediscover different forms of expression and teach and speak more publicly in high school that led her to also share her story about her abuse in a public way and something in her realise at telling her story allowed her to be of service to others and that speaking made her come on
so she picked up that torch ran with it becoming miss junior america. We talk about that in our conversation naturally, and how she really feels about it and and why she ended up even sir pursuing it land to herself scholarship, lay the foundation for work in speaking, advocacy and empowerment. Now branded a quote: moxie maven by president obama's whitehouse office of public engagement for a pretty unique and effective approach to women's empowerment. Alexia is achieved from a really sought, after speaking, coach corporate communication and presentation, skills and sultan and trainer and she's the founder of something called the spotlight speaker, accelerator and spotlight. Speakers, collective and the author of a new book called step into your moxie, which is a rally cry to amplify your voice, your visibility and influence the world super excited
this conversation with you and be sure, to keep turning into our special second weekly episode this month, as we Did you see two new, citizens and singers songwriters and performers every thursday threw out the month of may super excited to bring this to you. I'm Jonathan fields- and this is good life project- the how does a I even work, weird creativity, come from. What's this grit to living longer, ted radio? Our explores the biggest questions with some of the world's greatest thinkers. They will prize challenge and even change you listen to npr ted radio hour wherever you get your podcasts
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World where'd. You grab los angeles and then the pacific northwest. Once my parents divorced outside of seattle and cannot category, if you could see the smile about ever it's almost like. Where do I go with this was a walking dichotomy, because I had these moments where I was painful the shy and awkward- and I talk about this little bit in the book I mean I had headgear- I had glasses- I had braces a tongue thrust, correct her jewelry line. I mean I was one hundred per cent that kid who threw herself into exile. And as a way of cultivating self worth, but then there are also
these moments, particularly through day answer through cedar, where I love being on stage and I loved being seen, and I was a ham if I could hide behind a character or behind humor. I was good if I had to be seen as me. That's one stuff got real, uncomfortable jewish says for why through the process of writing this book. My answer is actually different than what it would have been so now. My answer is that I simply don't think I understood that I could be both parts of me and so when I would think about myself out there and then it would have this awareness of people are looking at me and then I would get those tommy butterflies know how to manage that and then I'm going to the story of I'm. Not this person, who is stepping up
stepping forward. What are you doing like get back into the links, but if you'd asked me previously, I would have just said: I'm shy and introverted and I don't think that's the full story, I'm curious. What would people who knew you back and had said people who knew me back then and who have read. The book have been really surprised. Some of my closest friends, particularly who might have known me, let's say in my late teens and my twenties college graduate school, have said you always looked so confident I had no idea what was going on inside your own hand, but I think is typical for most of us, if People knew what was going on inside our own heads. They would never be friends with us people who knew me as it.
Hid. Who may not have seen me blossom have said, I'm so sorry that you didn't understand how to be able to use your sensitivities in a way that makes you feel hole. So some teachers, or in a few cases, friend, I have been who certainly had compassion and empathy and in many cases related because it felt very similar to, own journeys, which is probably why I gravitated toward them. Even as a young person me
Interesting to me. Also, I've been thinking about this a lot recently that I feel like, especially with each season of our lives, whether it's a couple of months or a couple of years or decade, the people we tend to interact with, on a daily basis, develop a sort of frame for us like they're, like misses me like you're, this type of person- and this is what you're about and like this is the imprint that they have of you, and it happens really. Quick clay and once it happens, it's really hard to break that pattern. It's like that. Is your identity in their mind forever, unless something really dramatic kind of like really changes essentially I went to couple years back, the thirtieth high school. I never dreamed I was amazed at how quickly I dropped back into what I thought. The perception of b was in new among different groups
in highschool and it was really interesting to kind of feel myself. Shifting gears in the middle of this experience, be a ninja and wondering how people were seeing me at that moment in time like where they still were they all snapping. Back thirty years to, I had the opportunity to go back to my high school twice in the last six to nine months outside of seattle, and the first time was for a big reunion. Twenty years, and everybody knew the book was coming out- had a sense of what my work was and it was validating how many people were not surprised. Day saw something in me, and some of my teachers are still there. They had these incredible careers at this girl school saw before I did and then being able to do a book of at my school in front of all the fifth research wealth creators. All these
young women was fascinating because the fifth and sixth graders worse so in it, they were raising their hands. I got it. A workshop with them. There was an inability to be paralyzed by the insecurity it was like. I feel at no moving through it by the time I was talking to a lot of the I'd, say, ten, eleven, even twelve grey. first. There was this awareness of everything same manners. It will have impact, and I dont know, if I'm ready for that. So it felt like much more of a stretch, to get them to mean that there were psychological by an but to actually play with the principles I mean it. I guess at age where you quote fitting in its is everything survey
and what's interesting to me, is that that's when it lends hangs over the hills, lives and question is: does that ever leave for a lot of us and, if so when? And how does it happen because I think a lot of us per that becomes a near the primary determinant of so many decisions we make to either step out or retreat back for the rest of our lives. He grew. I agree lately, I had the opportunity to speak at my daughter school and it was in front of it seventh and eighth graters who were being conducted into national junior, honour society, every single case. They read exactly what they were going to say. It was incredibly polished
then my husband had the opportunity to be at the school for a different events in front of the fifth and sixth graders, and they didn't have notes and they were magical. They were funny they were present and for most of us we think credibility is gonna. Come from polish from having the research from having the evidence, and unless we have the opportunity to recognise Actually, our greatest credibility gotta come from our vulnerability from having moments where something you say that I love. We take it from us and we speak to the conversation it's going on in the heads of the people who are listening to us that that swear, really transformational communication, that's how it happens, whether its speech, whether you're negotiating or whether you're having a heart centered conversation with a loved one yeah
so agree and and yet sir foundation of renee brown's work as well, and I I think so many people resonate with the idea but resonating with it, understanding it and then actually embodying it profoundly different things. Then he gets to know smaller set. That has been your work in the world as like you're at an adult out there working with people to to find this in themselves. I mean it's funny as a speaker. I have I've done on that same journey. I have hyper scripted things and been really precise and delivered exactly the quote value that I want to deliver and then I've gone out and said you know. I know my story and I just need to tell it with with honesty and yeah there's one or two ideas that I I hope to extract from that and though the reaction is profoundly different, so you end up graduating highschool somewhere along the way at like aged nineteen I think I know what you're getting letters
there's this chasm that you span from it. a story that how you are in space camp as a kid twelve and you had a horrifying released, at the end of it when you realize that you were had essentially become the butt of everybody's joke, and they have that. I really like unfortunate name that was incredibly hard for you based entirely sort of like on your appearance. And then he fast forward not that many years later, at the age of eighteen, when you're standing on stage and you in the mist, junior america, competition, private debts of it's quite a journey, it's quite a journey in a relatively short number of years, but also me what struck me too. Is that and I'm curious about what your experiences from the inside out when I think of those patterns have never been evolving, and I know that was actually your one and only time it always seemed to me like this was all about like how you judge,
facade of a person. What was but it seems to me the way you experienced it was more of an inner journey totally when I think back to being called Harry beast its base camp. Yes, was painful and it was based on reality. Greek, jewish I've got a lot hair, but it was also that I unknowingly, of course, contorted myself to be whoever I thought. People at that weaken and made a b and as a result, I was always apologizing for being in the space. I was younger than most of the kids, because my dad had called up years of the organisation and said my kid tests really well, you should let her end. So there's also this issue of. Socially being a little bit younger than everybody else. There is well, but my whole experience there was about fitting in, but when I about what happened with miss junior america. For whatever reason
by the time I got there, I had surmised aesthetically. I wasn't going to win so if I wasn't gonna play that game, I had this opportunity to bring out who I was and at the time I was studying improv. I love to dance and when I got on that stage there was actually something about not being able to see the thousands of faces that were there and just seeing lights were I gave myself permission to imagine. I was speaking directly to the people in the room because I didn't actually have to feel gaze on me and that emboldened me to speak with them rather than at them, and I have been speaking at people for a long time if are holding onto notes, and that was one context where I couldn't hold onto notes. Nor could I
exactly what I was going to be asked. So preparation was out the window and that made all the difference. It also seems that you can set the the foundation for how much that was about to come your way when you walked off that stage. After that, one experience did. Did you feel in any way change by the moment? Yes- and I didn't know why and that's why had a painful next decade of going back when I I speak to all of my old habits like what planning every single detail out seeking to memorize, not telling stories and instead being a channel for other people's expertise, hiding behind fancy, slides and nuts in presentations. But I would certainly do that in my college classes, often times never wanting to disrupt the status quo and say I have a counter viewpoint here and here's. Why? So
What brings you backed leading with her, even though I had been speaking for a while and having a modern amount of success? It was the opportunity to be the closing keynote speaker first social enterprise conference little over a decade ago. I got to the event a little bit early before the participants pitch fast and each of the approximately one hundred young people who are at this event had a couple of minutes to present their big idea for how they wanted to heart. Entrepreneurial solutions to solve a big social, economic or environmental problem and the pitches were outstanding. I was in total watching they were old. They were well researched. They were full of heart and at the events, the people who were in attendance got to vote on the fire
lists and the room was approximately fifty percent female fifty percent male average age, twenty five and I'm giving those details. So they can appreciate why, when the finalists knee or announced. I was stunned because every single one of them was a young man, not one woman's voice was packed and that moments stirred me on a deep, deep level, because I recognized that there was something that was happening to me. That was endemic of something that was happening to a lot of women. So whenever I get stirred up like that, I try to ask questions rather than simply rely on my assumptions and was interesting, was that both the young men and the young women said the same thing they had voted based on who they saw as the best pitcher or best speaker. Another words who took up space who project
his confidence, who had a lot of volume, what one would call a more masculine model of delivery. But yet, when I asked who were the speakers that you felt most connected to whose ideas you would want to champion, there's a lot of women's names who came up because they told stories they revolt, ball at. Sometimes they were so honest. They admitted they still had a lot to learn before they felt like their ideas could be set successful in the world. They get. That wasn't seem to be good, pitching good speaking, good influence. And that was when I realized that I had been ping pong or want between what I While being a bit of a bonnie standing back seeking to, please always poligized, mother, literally apologizing or simply using words like just or so, to diminish myself, but because there was this other part of me that
new. Fundamentally, I wanted to be visible. I wanted to use my ideas, my voice, to make the world a better place. Sometimes I would pay hung in the other direction, but then I would be hyper masculine what I call a dragon it didn't feel like it was born out of self worth much like the other stuff. I would do. It was always about past bring in some way- and I realized in that moment. Some of that was me, but then some of it was what was. I was picking up on society in terms of what is a paradigm for our female leadership even coming out of an all girls school I did see that in the world very much, and so I was having a hard time finding my place, and I realized a lot of other women are too so that closing keynote speech. I let go of the script. Let go of. The slides spoke from the heart asked Craig djinns, pulled stories allowed myself to be a little messy and
I realized I'm never going back like. I know how to structure, presentation and I'm going to keep structuring presentations, but I'm going to allow for a lot more breath and how I speak and be one hundred per cent unapologetically me in service of calling audiences to take action on ideas or that there are some people who didn't like what I said and whose liberating because I realized I can survive being, unlike their want, a lot of people who had ever. Unlike me, until that point, but I don't know if anyone really liked me either, because a lot of people didn't know who I was yeah, I mean what a powerful lesson re in a makes me near. It brings
you just how how much I think so many of us control or behaviour based on the desire to not be this light or to do not be critique or just to have the greatest number of people want to be our friends and one who invite us in and terrifies us adding it shut. So many of us down, and yet, when I think about the most compelling books, I read the most telling talks. I've ever heard most complain, performances had ever seen. None of them were in a lot of them were provocative. A lot of them came from people who I strongly disagree with baby. Did like all that much in the moment at least, and yet they stay with me. They move disturbed something in me because there was a real mess that that, just you know it cut through everything else. So where do you go from america? So you like yours, you spend in the ten years before that her like,
new way up in being professional end. And then you have this moment where you're like a cabin ping pong between trying to be accepted, stepping into one or the other, these two different paradigms and and there's something which is completely my own and I just tried it. I tested on stage seem to land. But what are you with that. So at that time the focus of my business and my speaking was all over the place, because I was allowing opportunities in my perception of what other people wanted to define me I had around that time written my first book on on boarding millennials into the workplace. So that was the message I was supposed to be talking about what what was your actual professional jobs or leak in the window, leading up to the coach and consult inside got my shingle unless working full time for someone else and, like I said, got into a certain o level of success, but I always felt like ones.
I hit this income goal or once I have ex audience, then I, I do something around speaking in voice, and that was the moment where I said alright, I haven't hit that income goal yet I haven't hit that following, but I had been teaching public speaking as an adjunct, professor for the city university of new york at that time. If not now, then, when, like this is I I want to pivot, and I did I didn't look back. It was incan You need to have a book out and recognise that I need to do so down. Promotion of somebody else, but I'm not I'm not going to continue to generate new opportunities in this direction. I will be in my integrity and honour the commitments, obviously that I've created, but that was when I started. I hope I said I want to coach entrepreneurs, coaches consultants, executives, change makers in this way of speaking
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I guess you gotta give it a year. This is so interesting to me because I've heard it that I think that's unusual. It is- and I acknowledge that one hundred percent- and it's also Thirdly, because I want to be really honest, I was ok, but Nobody saw me at the pinnacle of my potential and alive, people who knew me when I would explain my vision? For what this could become would say to me: that's what I need. Unfortunately, the people who I keep close to me were always people who did give honest feedback, but there there was this sense, that's what you were born to do. You ve had a lot of experiences and when you look at them in hindsight, they all mink sentence for the direction that you wanna go. So there's probably something there, and I say that a lot of people who were in the creative coaching
insulting world that oftentimes when were struggling with this question of definition. Who am I? What should I do? How should I serve when we feel confused or stock? If we look at what are those AHA moments? We have had. Typically, that's where the answer lies. Yeah the famous hidden collected us looking back of lot easier than looking forward, so you basically made this major pivot. Now you know you are the person who is helping. People learn to speak, powerfully and find their voice, but also with a focus on women. Tell me more about that. That that pitch fast was profound. There's this room full of women who are exceptional. Who are not a being seen as exceptional in a community of peers, male and female and
to be honest in many cases, while the quality of their ideas was exceptional, their delivery, wasn't you could feel that there was this If it wasn't ping pong game between the money in the dragon stuff, it was all dragon. It's my way or the highway no ability to receive feedback for fear of being critiques or, on the other side, displaying small business and having top public speaking for a couple of years. By this point, where I was going pretty much off of a standard curriculum, you give your informative speed to give your persuasive speech. I saw that all the time happening classroom as well, and I wanted to create communities where women felt like they could take risks. They could role play the version of themselves as communicators and as leaders that day
My imagine but never take action on. So what does it look like? So at first it looked like having small community of eight to ten women who work face to face over the course of six to eight weeks. In my community law, must honouring a lot of my corporate work but then even when I would go into organizations, it wasn't always going into women's leadership initiatives. They do a little bit more of that now. I was often working with men and women, but also holding space for folks, irrespective of their gender, to be able to integrate the masculine and the feminine, because the most effective speakers, the most effective leaders, have that there is that desire to speak with people to call people to take action. While doing it from a place of vulnerability, using stories and so forth, and yet, particularly in business climate that can feel really hard near
If you've used the the sir of the different strengths speaking at and speaking with a couple of times now tell me more about how how are those different in your mind when we are focusing on the ideas we want to get across. These are my three to five main points, whether it's a presentation or it's interpersonal communication, and Typically, what will do as wall sculpt? What that is in our hands? Sometimes all romanian on at sometimes will practice it out loud, but its inherently about us and so
whether we have an audience of wine or we have an audience of a hundred or more. Our goal is to get through the points and be heard, which is not effective communication if we pivot to thinking about what do I want to call the person or the people who are listening to action on by the end of the time that I speak and actually reverse engineer from their final destination and think about what are the three to five mean things I need to share that are responsive to what that person or those people are thinking and address that
the place of humor from a place of heart, but keep ourselves. One hundred percent focused on what those people are thinking on a moment to moment basis and speak with that that, speaking with a love, that distinction is singing as yours, sort of speaking, I'm spinning in my head, I'm like who am I? Where am I on the spectrum you speak with? And I, but I think it's it. It has been and thank you for saying that. I think it's very much still a journey for me and it is not something that actually comes naturally and because I think for me that you're making the journey from speaking, add to or speaking to to speaking with is a fairly recent thing for me and there wasn't sort of like a very intentional inner dialogue that was similar to what you just shared. Where for me, I think when I first
I started take a stage whether I'm in a boardroom with six people or whether on stayed in front of thousands of people. I had this thing in me. That said, I want them to know. I'm smart, I never can, and I don't consider myself like overly bright. I just consider myself, I I will outwork the next person to you like to figure things out on on a high level, so there's value, but there I realized that there was something inside of me they kept saying like. I want to be seen as somebody you know like who's who's, leading in the call If they're thought too has something to offer and was one hundred percent ego. Rather than stepping up and saying, let me just assume that I have something of value to offer and think about how do I want what what is experienced that I can create that will allow somebody to feel a certain way, and I I I switch from her I want the audience to feel and then what is literally a single thing that I want them to leave. Thinking about everything began to shift because it started as a fire hose
as you know, which is essentially like he like I dont number one. This is how smart, I am item number one. A is how, smarter I have in this which year- and that is the very repelling what you end up learning. But when you make him when you bruce I cabin it was just like a k, so we're here together her I want you leave feeling what is it. Sort of the journey. I want you to go on when we're together when I'm in the green room. Before I go on it. If there isn't something I can write I'll just take a pad. I literally take a marking to write that sentence. I'm here to serve just to remind myself to get out like the ego driven side of this and to get out of any sort of predefined paradigm that I have in my head and just like on my javascript. As I know, my stuff, you made me realize that, like you, that was my primary goal for a long time. I want to be smart. I want to be credible. I want to be trusted
because I'm smart, because I have access to knowledge and initially it was somewhat self serving somewhat. For that pitch fast. I was talking about where I realized. I'm going to go in with a different goal, which is I want them to see. I am just like them and it's self serving initially, because that's what gets me away from feeling held back by all that sensation. I didn't know how to process. If I'm aspiring to be just like them, then I get to be me. I get to be raw and I want them see that I'm just like them and I figured out how to get out of my own way more times than not. I have some pearls from my lived experience that I can share, because I make the assumption so when I was growing up It was a period of time or I thought I wanted to be a dancer and everyone around. We wanted to be a dancer. Then there is a period of time, or I wanted to be in and everyone around me wanted to be an actor. Then maybe it's the company that I keep these.
cause, I feel, like everyone around me, wants to use their voice and a more powerful way, whether on their bucket list, it's ted talk or whether they simply want to speak more truth to the people in their lives or in the workplace. And if I can, tell them that it was really hard for me and I figured it out, but I'm still create. you like they are, then Neither listen and they'll actually do this stuff. I am recommending, rather than here it non their heads, and then minute, I'm done default right back to what they ve known, yeah, cognitive, nodding along and emotionally. I'm like that story. Way. Through this, you offered a phrase also when you bring groups together in organizations or individuals or your own groups to hold space is the phrase at uses. The phrase, a phrase that I use also- and I realise that when I used that phrase, lotta people on the sort of mainstream or. it's a show where all the roll their eyes. What do you mean by that? And how do you do it?
you're, saying that you say in the mainstream world, people roll their eyes because I often times wind up using vocabulary from me. Clients and I had an executive, coach client who was wanting to step out morbus, bigger role and she really shifted the way I think about holding space, because as summit came out of the nonprofit social change sector. Every one is that terminology typically meant holdings base and making it safe for people to have difficult conversations and to be able to share alternative truth, and I dont disagree that that's what holding spaces, but she was the first person to tell me that not everyone wants space. To be held like that for them, the common denominator it for me and for her was when you hold space. How do you take yourself out of the mix and simply listen and give people the space to speak, but often time
they have never said now that my son really similar to what I said before, but before there was a little bit of ego attached, meaning as I'm holding space, I'm facilitating I'm making the magic happened seeking the magic happen and for a long time I was very hands on as a facilitator, and I had an experience. I don't think you know about this last spring when hosting a three day event where I got an upper respiratory infections and I had complete wearing Judas
nothing was coming out. Unfortunately, when I host this event, the people who ve done one of my programs are always coaching facilitators. They have their own coaching circles and they do some speaking and I had to take almost three fourths of one day off from speaking and stand back and trust that they could lead this event until I recaptured something of my voice, and it was one of the most powerful experiences of leadership,
I ever had because I had trained these folks. I had held space for them to do, but now I needed to get out of the way and let them lead, and it showed me that, as I hold space I I don't need to talk so much. I can be a lot more quiet and listen. There is a subtle distinction, but I think powerful it when I, when I think about the phrase also- and you kind of alluded to this, the central experience of that firm for me is safety is like the feeling of safety and because people won't step out, people won't reveal what they're really thinking who they really are, how they're really feeling and lessen until they feel safe. Yes, and, as you said right now, and we weren't an interesting time, people are feeling a lot and thinking a lot and they dazzle
We want to say a lot, but at the same time, so many people are terrified to open their mouths cause the stakes. I've never felt higher my voice at ethnic. Most of us have this awareness. My voice is needed now more than ever, and if I put it out, air and I don't get it one hundred percent right. Our people can attack me shut me down and then my voice may never come out again yeah, how do you deal with it? I mean, what's his enemy, I think a lot of knowledge just listen to exactly what you just said and they'll get it's me, but but now I yeah I led with stories that Oh, I understand that first hand and that there have been moments where I have spoken up and it has been library ding and in his emboldened me, to bring more of myself into all facets of my life, and I tell story, of moments where I was in my integrity. I spoke my truth and it did. Go away that I intended and its soft and was difficult
brought me to my knees and made me question everything and I may not have known it in the moment, with a little bit of critical distance even those moments didn't happen to me, they happened for me. They helped me step into my next level of service of influence, voice, and for me, as you know, many of those moments have happened in my family. Nothing that the world could ever throw me was worse than some of this stuff that happened from the people who were killed. This to me and yet, when we think about What is our worst fear and actually name it. I got her going through and asking people so that happened and your worst beer happen What would happen and then they name it and then what would happen then? What would happen in every single case not only to pee
usually recognised that it would be survivable, but they ultimately get to the place where they realize? If that thing that has felt It has been a noose around my neck. That thing that felt like it was keeping me from expression happened and I survived. Then I would probably never play small again, and that is usually the case there so great so powerful. when at last start getting so complicated, buying a home complicated. Home finance is certainly not a walk in the park. Raising kids, it's a lot, then there's insurance One of my policy doesn't cover this or what? If I have to make a claim in the middle of the night, good news stay farm. Is there for your? What if's you can reach them. Twenty four seven claim on the state, far mobile, app or simply call your agent to ask anything. So, even if life gets tricky, insurance doesn't have to be like a good neighbour states, farmers there call or go
state formed our com for a quote today. I'm thinking thinking that people I've seen in the online space where you know it is this petri dish of people testing how public do I gotta have specific data. How directed to go with? What's on my mind and how I feel any granted, I mean they're testing as well or ill Not nearly as aggressively as so many people, but I've seen avis interesting recently, I saw you like one person is getting massive following social media is very much out. There is a social justice activist and make her major misstep and with right intention, but, but seclusion that cause harm and- and I watched as this person immediately was called the task in a very public way.
and immediately owned it and said I just did something that was from my heart really intended to do good and without realising what I was doing. I did harm and I'm sorry and I understand now like the process. I understand what happened and I'm gonna work on this and think about it and figure out how to step back into a public conversation again. with the intention to do good and try a different way. You know a more informed way and and while it was brutal- and if this has hurt you- I thank you like. I have gratitude to those who stepped up to help. Show me what I wasn't seeing and I thought to myself man I if that were me, I don't. I would hope I would be able to find the fortitude to act with that level of
this increase, but I don't know there have been a lot of examples over the last year of for lack of a better word influencers folks with a public identity who serve a lot of people trying things. Sometimes they have landed the way that they have intended. Sometimes they haven't in my experience, when foe take full ownership when they have caused harm, whether that was intended or not usually it's easier to recalibrate. Usually the people who are truly, our audience will forgive, and sometimes there are people who might have been hurt so deeply that, don't I think, for the most part, what were terrified of is that people will disagree with us That is the thing that for most, is scarier than the fear
am I going to hurt someone because one we are acting from a place of true service, of wanting to support wanting to help. Sometimes we can get it wrong, but for the most part, people typically feel the energy behind that now. I'm kind of curious when you say that people They think we ve heard more than anything else there. She people disagree with us and disliking and dislike on me. This at the deeper fear, is like, or is it that the the ideas that we that we hold dear might be invalidated and then were cut adrift again? I think it can be both, but I think the first scarier, particularly for women coming more. We want so badly to be liked, and that is something that happens from a young age, because the first feedback
We typically get gender wise is about our appearance or about how we're making other p both feel right, There, then about our ideas, and when you ask that question I realized gender wise, I think it's different. I think if you asked most men that question they would say, I want people to like my ideas. I care about that if they don't like me as a person mare, but I dont think most women would answer that way.
I think the fear of being disliked- and maybe sometimes there's not even an awareness that that's what's at play, but that that's what is at the source? Nonetheless, so where do we go with that? I mean we need everybody's voice in the conversation more than ever right now we need people to feel like they can step out. They can. They can share, what's on their mind, whether it's fully formed or not, and whether people are going to agree with them or not, simply because we need a diversity of voices in the conversation at the table and so that it can become a conversation and through the conversation we can have like, we can move more towards resolution that is informed by more voices rather than just the loudest ones like. Where do we go with us at this point, especially if you've got this really
different experience of your gender based experience of how we interact with that social dynamic? I do think in our workplaces and in our families is where some of the steepest work can happen and needs to happen. Oftentimes those who are privileged to be an entrepreneurial creative space get to do this work with like minded people, and we have a responsibility to make sure that we bring this work into other arenas so in the workplace he's right now, it's probably more difficult than in any other period of time in our lives, to have daring conversation. About any marker of identity, whether its race, whether its class, whether its gender, where there's asking questions about what does and does not constitute sexual harassment. In a quick but important aside, I had the opportunity to give presentation at a big marketing event not too long ago and kudos to this particular event, for
bringing in a diversity of speakers who were having difficult. Say going into daring conversations about a lot of these issues, but one of the themes that came up again and again from some of the female speakers was guess: we need to change our workplaces. Men need to know what is sexual assault? Men need to know what sexual harassment is. We need to talk about how to heal and I actually take a different approach. We might argue that there are certain things that everybody should now but most of life is lived in the gray space, the gray under utilised peace between what is black and white is white, and in my particular session, which was about, How do I organizations champion the voices of their women post me too, and time's up? I was pleasantly surprised that our men in the not as many as I would have liked, but that the line to speak to me
the words was more male than female, because I had made it safe for them to ask questions I feel like they were a moron or feel like they were incense because they didn't know, am I still allowed to date in the workplace. If I find that a female colleague looks good, can I say that without being offensive like to be able to ask questions without fear of retribution for being curious and admitting there's a lot that I dont know to me. That is
one of the most important places to start is to give people permission to ask questions rather than be left a draft to figure it out for themselves and either sensor themselves for fear of getting it wrong or not be so self aware and operate the way that they did and her people without that intention in families the work as a little bit different, it is giving particularly young people we are all or part of families, but particularly our children, opportunities to role play speaking up and now on behalf of themselves on behalf of their friends on behalf
the ideas and issues that matter most to them so that by the time they find themselves in the workplace. They're not starting. This work fresh rather, they ve already solidified the practice of using their voices and brave way that that was actually or experience as a kid that your mom role played with you at a very young age. Yes, she did so when I was four years old. I spoke up about the fact that I was being sexually abused by a family member and for long, I didn't understand. Why particular as a young person who perpetually felt like she was tat dancing on eggshells, as we discussed, and
wish. I could tell you that that time when I spoke to both my mom and my dad about what was happening in when I share that I didn't want it to happen any more, that everything was rainbows and cupcakes afterward, but that was most definitely not the case. A lot of people in my family weren't ready for that revelation and felt that they needed to choose sides and if they chose to empathize and believe me that that would mean turning backs on another family member who was beloved into the great things in the world, but made some mistakes and so much like what we have witnessed, whether we think about the cavanaugh hearing- or we just think about other bold truth tellers, who have shared their stories
There were a lot of people in my family who said maybe you're not remembering things correctly. Maybe that didn't happen, or there are others who said maybe that it happened, but maybe or miss remembering who it happened with and then there are others who would say think you're making this up for attention, or maybe somebody else in the family brainwashed. You like, I went through all of that, even though there were people like my mom who had my back and who made sure it didn't happen, and it wasn't until the birth of my daughter. Almost five years ago, when I was going through old memorabilia from my childhood, with my mom, that we found this article that had been ripped from a parenting magazine and the article was about how do you talk to your children about what constitutes safe touch and, more importantly, how do you role play with children so that, if they were ever touched inappropriately, they would speak up, and there were all these
notes in the article in my mom's handwriting indicating that she had had that conversation with me that we had practised what to say. And I understood what to say and so. There is no doubt in my mind, I said something what we know. The majority of children do not do as children.
Let alone oftentimes at any point in their lives, because my mom had given me the words to be able to do so, and she made me feel safe using them when such powerful reminder that so much of this, so much of our understanding of how to relate how to be honest, how to how to be and how to tell the truth of what's going on. Was it's really difficult, then, when there may be social judgment involved in it like those seeds to have to stand in a place where you you feel like, you can do that safe enough to do that, get planted at such an early age? And it's interesting to see what happens if they're not planted, and then you hit your thirties or forties in your fifties and at that moment then you're faced with Ok. So now I have to revisit this. It's it's a much. It's a much more complex. It too much harder thing to do, and yet were in a moment now where there is
no avoiding the need to actually go to that place, where we're being frank, we're being honest, we're talking about hard things and there's also a I think, like you said you had a lot of people want this to be to not be a grey issue. A lot of people wanted to just be like there is a clear this or that lives near in in the exact way you had these conversations you deal with in the public discourse. You know how fraught the public discourses is. A representative of how fraught the actual issues are, even when the behavior may be crystal clear appropriate what that triggers within people based on their own individual history is much more complex and our collective desire to make many of these issues. Black and white, is hurting. All of us
I know if my family felt that they had a way to be able to talk about what was happening. That would not immediately involved the criminal justice system. That would not brand another family member for a life for something as a teenager he had done. Our family would be in a very different place. It is, are fear that holding people accountable always be punitive in a way that doesn't necessarily have a bearing on what was actually done, but is sort of just this blanket response keeps a lot of people from reporting, and it also keeps a lot of people who have perpetrated. From taking where some of the work I've done organizational ie is that a lot of zero tolerance policies that look at all
planes, planes the same way, rather than really acknowledging what happened in a particular situation in responding in a context to the appropriate way is preventing a lot of disclosure return people all over the lesson. So, as you deepen into work If you spend more time and now you're you're now years into really exploring what does it mean to understand your story to be willing to step forward and and tell it fully and vulnerably and reveal who you are working largely with women? One of the things that you also talk about, right about business. Can fascinated me is your take on the role of intuition, I'm so He who has server, argued for a long time liking the intuition is data, but its viewed as data
Which is not valid, and on anywhere near the level of anything you can put in a spreadsheet, I happen to believe the exact opposite. I think it's incredibly powerful data, we just we discount it because we can't easily quantify it. Tell me more about your lens, an intuition at it's most basic, level. Intuition is having an awareness, a deep, knowing that something is the way it is beyond facts alone and. when we are able to recognize the way that our intuition speaks to us because make no mistake. We all have intuition the keys, Do we know how it speaks to us and when it does, do we choose to respond and take action from it, but when we are able to it gives us away. Be able to navigate through the myriad situations will encounter where we cannot rely on facts or experience alone nowhere did, I learn more about the power of intuition than earlier. In my career, when I was doing a lot of work with new nurses and at the same,
time. I've been reading a book, crucial conversations which I talk about in the book where the writers had done some research. around how many nurses would speak up if they saw a doctor who was doing something that they shouldn't and the vast majority of nurses would say nothing even if they felt a patient's life would be at risk because they didn't want to usurp authority. And so forth, and when I was sure this with new nurses, there were always in agreement that that felt pretty pretty the civic and yet when I would ask them because were new nurse as they hadn't been in the culture for very long. There are moments when they did speak up and say something it was stunning how many people, because they don't have a lot of experience, yet they don't have a lot of facts to rely on, would sense
their bodies. Something wasn't right with a fellow nurse with the doktor, sometimes simply with a patient. They weren't presenting something that could be documented and they did speak up and it did save that person's life or maybe not so dramatically. It did make an impact. I know that is there. I know it's important you also cannon deconstruct intuition to different types. There is for a lot of us cognitive intuition, that aha moment. We know something like the thought, just appears there and were not quite sure why? But if that's how we get our heads it it's usually like that aha moment, but we see over the course of our lives that plays out quite a bit. Sometimes its experience, salts and experience right place right time when we start to know what our body does. So for me, for example, I usually just get this feeling across my stomach or my chest feels a little butterfly
eyes, and it would be easy to call that fear but to me and qualitatively from the clients I've worked with over the years when it's fear it is something that is shrinking us versus when it's intuition is something we feel deep in. Our bodies is opening us up, even if it feels a little scary and we don't know what to do with it so when I think about that night christmas evening. When I made the decision to speak to my parents, I really sure what I should do, because the fight remember who had been molesting me had asked me to keep a secret, and I was a real role follower so on one hand that felt like what I should do, I dont think I had the awareness at the time. I don't know it's many years. Remove that my mom even had that conversation
me, but I remember as if it were yesterday, while I can't remember allotted details that feeling across my chest say something say something and while I've made no shortage of mistakes in my life any time, I've gotten that feeling and I've acted from it. It's always been rain that I've feel it on and the body's level as well. Generally, I I feel that first and then I ask myself, I'm like okay, so what's the thought that goes a lot like what Sadly, what's going on cognitive really than any to respond to, I wonder and I'm curious because you ve worked with so many people over the years, what your experience has been with us I wonder how much an unwillingness to recognise and valley intuition actually is deeper and that we become
we live so much from the neck up. We've become so disconnected with the disembodied to a certain extend that we actually don't even feel it an honor kneeling on an embodied level anymore. It's like we've turned the If receptor- and I would take it one step further- we might get a piece of it and then we do whatever is in our power to get rid of it, because we don't know how to manage the discomfort that happens from the neck down, whether it's our heart beating rapidly, whether it's our stomach, sending us something whether it's our knees, locking that when our body does tend to speak, depending on your make up your habits, whether its name now with watching a vision getting on the phone alcohol
whatever it is that often times, then we start to bury that sensation. That was trying to speak for us. They make sense. So if you think about the work that you doing right now, why are you doing it? I mean I get why you started doing at the drivers is very personal, and then it became something where you saw something happening in public, especially around the way that women and men were expression themselves differently and that which was causing harm. You're many years into this now and you have expanded on work. You ve worked with. So many people is the driver the same or has it of all. It has evolved very specifically this weekend. My why, when I started the work as much what you just summarised recognising that there's thing, that's happening that I have experienced, that seeing in the world and.
I have a unique lens. I have experiences that make mean uniquely poised to be able to do something positive to help a lot of people and simultaneously to transform culture, because I think it's both what can happen at the individual level. But then how can we start to experience cultural ships that make it easier for all of us to speak our truth, I run a your mind for female entrepreneurs who want to speak and over the last three years I have recognised that significantly more than fifty percent. Let me just say that of the participants have experienced some form of sexual or physical trauma. That has imprinted in their cells in such a way that it has made it difficult for them to speak their truth.
Whether they are in any industry doctors, lawyers executives, whatever it is- and While speaking may be the medium to me and ultimate It comes down to healing, and I wouldn't, if you'd asked me even a year ago, that the work I do is healing. I now know that it is that the process that one gets to go through to reclaim their voice in all parts of their body after some form of trauma and sometimes its little Traumas, someone told them that their ideas didn't matter, but what I'm saying is a lot of the big t, traumas where something someone or some ones did something to the body and the voice in some way died or got stuck that the process of anew,
doing that harm and allowing people not always to use that as their platform in many cases, that's the healing work to liberate their message, which is very different, but that's what I'm called to do and that's why you and I want to be a part of creating a world for all of us to live in where we can access are voice, irrespective of what might have been done to us that have that that sent us the message that our voice doesn't matter. So, as we sit here, come full circle on our conversation, if I offer the phrase delivered a life, what comes up speaking my truth, ensuring other people how to speak theirs,
thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So much for listening and thanks also to our fantastic has who helped make this show possible. You can check them out in the links we have included in today, show notes and while you're at it, if you ve ever ask yourself what should I do with my life? we have created a really cool online assessment that will help you discover the source code for the work that you are here to do. You can find it at spark a type dot com. That's s, p, r, K, e t, why p dot com or just click The link in the show notes and, of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the subscribe button in your listening app. So you never miss an episode and then share and share the love. If there's something that you've heard in this episode, that you would love to turn into a conversation, share it with people and have that conversation, because when
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.