Fear, Loathing & Public Speaking

Fear, Loathing & Public Speaking

As far as I can tell, I only have two real talents in this lifetime: teaching and singing.

And oddly, the bigger the audience, the better.

Don’t ask me to do basic math, handle any kind of detailed logistics, or point out the state of Ohio on an unmarked map of the United States.

But give me something to teach or sing, and I will get on stage and rock that mic.

There’s just this one problem: I am gut-twistingly terrified of being on stage—teaching or singing.

        
  
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    FRIENDS!!! I am beyond excited to announce a brand new, 8 week online course called…     Time Debt: Reclaim Your Life, Live in Flow       My partner-in-crime/best-selling author/host of the delicious   Beautiful Writers Podcast    Linda Sivertsen  and I have been working for months to bring this concept, these practices and this content to life for you… and it’s finally READY!  So, what  is  Time Debt?  It's the misspending of time—either consciously or unconsciously—in ways that lead to a life  half lived.   At one end of the spectrum, Time Debt can manifest as frantic, incessant busyness, as we run from one fire drill to the next, never seeming to have enough time for that creative project we've been dreaming of. Whatever energy we might have had to write that novel or start that business has been utterly spent on other people's emergencies, and a seemingly bottomless list of assignments.  At the other end of the spectrum, Time Debt can manifest in our addiction to screen time, as we hand over precious minutes and hours to mindless, passive consumption of Netflix, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat... the list goes on and on.  But imagine… what if you had the time to do everything on your to-do list, and STILL enjoy the things you want to do (Netflix and Insta in moderation included!), see the people who matter most, and do so without compromising your health, your money, or your relationships?  Yes, we all have the same 24 hours in a day.   But there are people who seem to have more—as if they know a secret to Bending Time.  Ever wonder how do they do it?   Over the course of 8 weeks,  you will learn to change your patterns and find time in ways you never thought possible. There are rules and laws that govern time bending, and they can be learned, by anyone.  JOIN US! Early bird pricing ends on April 21st!!  For a deeper dive on how each week will be spent, my own cringe-worthy Time Debt story and more on  www.TimeDebt.com .   First class begins on Thursday, April 26th!  Don’t miss it!  See you there... this is your time.   B   

FRIENDS!!! I am beyond excited to announce a brand new, 8 week online course called… drumroll...

 

Time Debt: Reclaim Your Life, Live in Flow

 

My partner-in-crime/best-selling author/host of the delicious Beautiful Writers Podcast Linda Sivertsen and I have been working for months to bring this concept, these practices and this content to life for you… and it’s finally READY!

 

So, what is Time Debt?

 

It's the misspending of time—either consciously or unconsciously—in ways that lead to a life half lived.

Best Reads of 2017

Best Reads of 2017

2017 was a year of indiscriminant literary hook ups… hardly the serial reading monogamy I usually engage in. I attribute this to some really poor book choices I made. But despite abundance of one-nightstand stands, there were some OMG reads scattered in there as well.

These are the OMG Books of my 2017. Some titles are old, most are new, but each one made my heart race, melt or break with their word wizardry, plot twists, and teachings (I effing love a good self help book).

 

Who Are You Lookin' At?

Who Are You Lookin' At?

What do Gloria Steinem, Steve Martin, Marilyn Monroe, and Luna Lovegood have in common?

They’re on my Virtual Board of Advisors, and they “live” above my writing desk.

I think everyone needs a Virtual Board of Advisors. 

We play so many roles in our lives—mother/father, daughter/son, teacher/student…. We move through our weeks paying bills, shuttling kids to team sports activities and birthday parties, commuting to work—white-knuckling it until Friday, when we can finally relax and binge watch TV. 

There’s nothing wrong with these activities, per se. 

But if my life were the sum total of only these things, I might lose what few marbles I have.

That’s what the Virtual Board of Directors does for me—they remind me that there is a lot more to life (and a lot more to ME) than just going through the motions of driving, feeding, clothing and emotionally supporting the people around me.

Surviving a Psychic Attack

Surviving a Psychic Attack

Have you ever been in a conversation, or in a meeting,  and suddenly someone says something to you that cuts you to the core?

 

You start asking yourself questions like:

 

“Wait, did she/he just say something shitty, or am I imagining this?”

“Am I ok here?”

“Did I just do something bad? Say the wrong thing?”

 

I’ve found that most psychic attacks aren’t shouty or obvious to the outside observer, but to the recipient, they hurt like hell. And they usually come out of nowhere, catching us completely off guard.

 

It can feel like a trap door opens beneath you, and down you go, your dignity and confidence trailing behind you. Or maybe your stomach turn to liquid, your throat suddenly feels tight, or your mouth gets dry.

The Scarcity Trap

The Scarcity Trap

One of my favorite techniques as a communication coach was given to me (albeit indirectly) by my daughter when she was barely 2 months old.

It was 2006, I had just had Stella, and was back to work with almost no childcare whatsoever. I was a train wreck. My identity was wobbly, none of the time management techniques that had worked for me in the past made any sense, and I was chronically exhausted from trying to front like I had it all under control. One night, in a state of desperation, I went online to seek out information on mindfulness, positive thinking, coping techniques for overwhelm… anything to get me through the next 24 hours.

I came across one piece of advice that made me furious:

Tell yourself a story of abundance... No matter what your schedule says, repeat this phrase to yourself:

‘I have plenty of time, and all is well.'

I wanted to punch that writer in the neck.

The Life-Changing Magic of Encouragement

The Life-Changing Magic of Encouragement

I remember the moment very well.

It was sometime around 1999 or 2000, and I had recently announced my decision to leave my job at Blanc & Otus for the greener pastures of Scient. Word had made its way around B&O that I was moving on, and when I saw our CEO, Jonelle Birney, approaching me in the hallway, I assumed she’d heard the news as well.

As she got closer to me, a pit opened up in my stomach. How would she react? Would she be angry at me for abandoning my clients and the few folks who reported to me at the time? Was I even a blip on her radar screen? I mean, jeeze, maybe she didn’t even know how to pronounce my name!

        
  
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     “Why do I always do this to myself??”      If my thoughts were audible, you’d hear this message with steady frequency.     This thought is always accompanied by a set of physical sensations: butterflies in the stomach, a dry throat, and my heart beating fast and hard.     It’s the thought that crashes through my mind just before I do something that scares me: like standing in front of a microphone, either to teach or to sing.     This thought then gives way to an internal dialogue that goes like this:     “Why do I always do this to myself??”     “I don’t know. It’s ridiculous. If you hadn’t said yes to this, you could be sitting on the couch with a book instead of having to run to the bathroom every 5 seconds to relieve your bowels in terror.”     Then, I think:     “It’s too late now. I’m going to front like I own this place, and let ‘er rip.”     Then I go out there and I crush it—usually.     Sometimes I fail spectacularly, but most of the time I do well. Afterwards, I get that “I was born to do this” feeling. This insane cycle of anxiety is so well known that when my husband can sense it playing out, he usually just skips to the end, and says to me, “Remember: you were born to do this.”     But lately, I’m getting tired of this agony-ridden thought pattern. I’m sick of the voice that accuses me of saying yes to scary things as if that were a bad thing. I’m tired of demonizing the butterflies and nervous stomach.     I’m over it. Enough is enough.     What I discovered in 2016 was this: when I aim the arrow of my life at comfort, it usually hits the target. But it’s not my favorite target. The comfort target often leads to thoughts like this one: “This is nice, but is this all there is?” The comfort target is definitely comfy, but it’s joyless. Flatline. Basic. Safe in that stunted, blurry way of feeling “safe.”     In contrast, when I aim the arrow of my life at joy, it requires a level of focus and tolerance for risk (read: terror) that the target of comfort would never demand. But when I hit the joy target, it leads to feelings so big, I can hardly find the words to express them. Words like transcendence, adrenaline, meaning, purpose, flow, aliveness, love and joy come close but still don’t capture the feelings associated with the joy target.     It turns out that butterflies, a pounding heart, and a dry throat are the hallmark sensations of aiming at the joy target.      So I’ve made a decision. When I experience these physical signs, instead of berating myself with “WHY do you always do this to yourself?” I’m going to repeat my Butterfly Manifesto and breathe deeply.         The Butterfly Manifesto      I feel you fluttering, oh stomach butterflies.     I feel you beating, big fierce heart.     I feel you going dry, oh throat of mine.     I used to think you were to be avoided.     But now I know better.     I know that the best moments of my life are just beyond you.     If I have the courage to move past you.     I was born for joy, not complacency.     I was born to feel alive, not to sleepwalk.     So bring it, butterflies. Bring it.     And if I’m lucky, I’ll see you again soon.        As we move into 2017, and 2016 becomes a memory, I say we bring on the butterflies.     Bring on the opportunities for joy that scare us to the marrow. Bring on the opportunities that take us out of joyless comfort and into experiences we could never have imagined for ourselves.     As the brilliant poet Mary Oliver asks,     “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”     I plan to aim for joy. Let’s  all  aim for joy in 2017. Let’s aim at joy like a band of fierce warriors with braids and rad looking cloaks.  It’s time. Let’s do it.     Merry Christmas, Happy Everything, and a Blessed New Year, friends.

“Why do I always do this to myself??”

 

If my thoughts were audible, you’d hear this message with steady frequency.

 

This thought is always accompanied by a set of physical sensations: butterflies in the stomach, a dry throat, and my heart beating fast and hard.

 

It’s the thought that crashes through my mind just before I do something that scares me: like standing in front of a microphone, either to teach or to sing.

Best Reads of 2016

Best Reads of 2016

My Favorite Reads of 2016

It’s that time of year, friends… it time to take stock of the year, and report back on what we read that was worth reading.

Normally, my list is dominated by fiction. But this year? Of my 10 favorite reads only ONE is fiction. It’s not that I didn’t read fiction, I did. I read plenty. But only one of them passed the “OH MY GOD… you HAVE to read this book…” test.