I had to make a decision recently: to take a regular 40 hours a week job that would be a nice job and provide a lot more stability than I have had in recent years but not a ton of money...OR...stick with my two part-time jobs and keep working on my business.
But one of my part-time jobs - a seasonal sales gig that draws on my interpersonal communication skills - did not deliver the follow-up gig that they and I had hoped. So I went looking for another part-time job...and stumbled across an offer for a FULL-time job. Uh-oh. Decision time!
Taking the job meant I would not be able to continue teaching kids at The School of Rock. This meant I would not be able to give extraordinary amounts of time to building my business during daytime hours! How, I asked myself, could I "back off" of my total commitment to building my business??? I was smart enough to put this conundrum in front of a team of fellow entrepreneurs. (I jettisoned my pride in favor of support and input years ago, and it has been a most rewarding thing to have done! And this was no exception: I got a lot of answers.)
I was a young and naive 16 years old when my mother's friend, Dilly (short for Millard), gave me one day of work at his film company.
It was 1973 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and life was far simpler. But for me, I was primed to approach this mission of living up to parental and parental friend's expectations like a soldier going to war. I had to prove that I was good, and good enough, and that I would be approved of and that I could do what was essentially my very first day of my very first job, short-lived though it would be.
I knew how to type faster than the wind, but I didn't know how to send an overnight package. I had never had to do so. But this shocked Dilly. I don't know if he thought I was supposed to come in genetically predisposed to know how to be a secretary, but his shock felt frightening to me. I couldn't just look at him and say, "No, I don't. Why don't you show me?" I felt like a failure. Hard on myself? You bet! WAY too hard on myself. Insanely so.
After I had finished the day - literally sweating while sitting at the typewriter (yes, children, there WERE no personal computers) - Dilly called my mother and, understandably perplexed, asked her why I was so nervous!
This was courage. Unadulterated courage.
And it was so. very. much. MORE.
Her emotional vulnerability plus strength.
Her downloading to us of core emotional information, through her high simplicity.
Her refusal to be goaded into reactivity or defensiveness.
Her graciousness under the most extreme pressure.
To say I am a fan is to put it moronically mildly. But there was so much meta information happening here that all I can say is: Listen up! We have been given some p o w e r f u l lessons and information here. So, yeah, that's what I'm gonna say: LISTEN UP!
Every time you step on stage, do you judge yourself? Do you fear that you won't be good enough for the audience? That your answers won't be pithy or perfect enough?
You're shoulding on yourself. And when you stop that, you are going to see miraculous transformations in both your style and your impact. So...how do you stop that?
You've said it a million times, haven't you? "I'm sorry!"
Even when it's not your fault. What a remarkably disempowering way of making yourself part of a perceived problem!
When someone you're talking to drops something onto the floor and you say, "Ooh! I'm sorry!" even though you didn't drop it.
Have you ever found yourself tongue-tied in front of a colleague or in a meeting, even though you knew exactly how you felt and what you wanted to say?
That is a common experience. The question is why is it happening? The question after that one is: what do you do about it? Because no one wants to leave a situation feeling incomplete.
If you know my work, you know that I am a proponent of the benefits and the necessity of bringing emotion into play in our communications. I even created a system called Emotional Linguistics™, because we all share one common language no matter our background, color, creed, sexual orientation, and so forth. We all share the common language of emotion. Learning to speak the other's emotional language is life-changing. Learning what our own communication styles are, and how to have our best shot at being actually heard: Priceless.
I had been an actor for a while so I knew what it was like to actually choose an emotion and really feel it. It stood to reason that if I were feeling really bad, I could "choose" to feel really good instead (or at least "as well"). But one day I came up against my own limitations and I had to reach for another sphere of influence. It has stood me in good stead ever since.
I was at a spiritual gathering, and everyone in this exceptionally large hotel meeting space was moving around, talking and purchasing jewelry and books at the back of the room. I was a melting pot of emotions, wandering around trying to get up the courage to initiate closure with an ex-boyfriend even though I felt righteously that he should be the one to initiate. Someone stopped me and said she wanted to introduce me to some friends. I had to put on my mask of capability.
What Is A Good Girl, Anyway?
Every woman I talk to groans, “Oh God, yeah, right?” when I talk about the social shoulds we women are literally heir to.
We know the Good Girl by our lifelong attempts to push her aside. We are all too familiar with holding back our opinions, hearing the internal messages that hold us back from our authenticity, judging ourselves harshly by a set of standards that are rarely, if ever, real.
So, we know her well. We make a mistake in thinking that she cannot be challenged or grown; she can. But first, we have to know the nature of our shared condition.
Entrepreneur, Actor, Speaker and Rebellious Game-Changer - that's me. I coach women, helping them recognize, understand and break out of the social "shoulds" to become empowered, powerful and masterful communicators, on stage and off.