This month’s theme in the Fempreneur Forum is Speaking. Tomorrow we will be doing a workshop with the fabulous Tracy Lewis, Bravery Coach, Speaker, and Retreat planner. I spoke with her earlier to ask her about her speaking career and introduce you to her before the workshop. Join us at 4:30pm Tuesday on Facebook!
What got you interested in speaking?
I started blogging a few years ago, and as my audience grew, they kept asking for more of my story – write a book (which I plan to do next year), tell us more. At the same time, I became an adjunct at Grand Valley, and realized that I came to life in front of my students. I loved not only teaching them about healthcare careers, but also sharing my own life lessons, and applicable parts of my story. The more I spoke and guest lectured, etc., the more I wanted to share my story and my lessons, and to pour into people. What started out as one of my biggest fears, has become one of my greatest joys!
What do you love about speaking to audiences?
I love being able to connect with people through story, and through speaking my truths (the truth will set you free;). I especially love when sharing my story of finding bravery, inspires my audience to tap into their own bravery.
Tell me a story from one of your speaking events.
Once, at a women’s empowerment event, I told the very personal story of how I came to be brave with my life, and I noticed an audience member who just wouldn’t make eye contact with me. In fact, each time I attempted to make eye contact, she looked the other way. During my talk, I tried to not be distracted, but if I’m honest, I was acutely aware of the dynamic. After the event, I tried to find her, to make sure she was okay, and I couldn’t find her anywhere. A few months after the event, I received an email from this beautiful soul, thanking me for being brave enough to share my story, and for giving her the courage to not only tell her story, but to re-write the ending (the moving forward). I’m reminded that we don’t always know the impact that is made when we share our story, but if we keep showing up in brave ways, we can inspire other people to speak up and speak out.
How has speaking been important for the development of your coaching work?
Speaking stretches me to step outside my comfort zone. Believe it or not, public speaking used to be one of my biggest fears (still makes me SUPER nervous every time;). I find when I am practicing bravery (in speaking and otherwise), my coaching sessions are more productive and transformational. When I’m willing to do the work, and model bravery for my clients, it allows me to show up more fully and inspire my clients to tap into their own bravery.
What do you suggest for entrepreneurs who want to start speaking, but feel overwhelmed?
I strongly suggest starting with choosing an idea worth sharing. What idea/concept are you passionate about, that you can’t NOT share with the world? When you are speaking about a topic that you believe in, you’re more likely to push through the challenges, the blocks, the fears. It’s also helpful to align yourself with other entrepreneurs who have gone before you, or are on a similar path. And, as a coach myself, I also strongly believe in hiring someone to support and coach you. Whether you would benefit from accountability, additional guidance, or just someone to kick you in the pants when you get stuck;), coaching can help you move from overwhelm, to clarity and action. It truly takes a village! 🙂