Twenty Years Ago …
I was in graduate school studying Chinese Medicine. One day, I was scheduled to deliver a presentation to my fellow classmates. Before the day arrived, I practiced my talk over and over and committed every word to memory. I expected it to be perfect! But when the moment came and I stood in front of the packed classroom with my mouth open to speak – nothing came out. I opened my mouth again, and this time something resembling a weak frog croak greeted the class. This strange sound was accompanied by sweating, burning red cheeks and a few giggles from the students.
The next twenty minutes were perhaps the most traumatizing, mind-numbing, and embarrassing moments of my life.
Last year, I spoke at the National Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles. A few months ago after publishing my first book, “Dog as My Doctor, Cat as My Nurse,” I went on a nine-city book tour speaking to audiences at every stop. And last week I spoke at the prestigious Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Next year I have my sights set on delivering a TEDx talk.
How did I move from sheer terror to thriving in front of a large audience? – I felt the fear and did it anyway.
7 Benefits of Public Speaking
– Builds self-confidence
– Helps you connect with others
– You become a motivator for change
– Makes you more comfortable with others
– Allows you to make a difference
– Helps you move past fear
– Allows you to know yourself better
My Voice Was Non-Existent
As I was growing up, “children should be seen and not heard,” was never said out loud but always implied. And over the years, swallowing my voice, and my truth along with it day after day made it hard to live an authentic life.
After the classroom fiasco, I swore I would never speak in public again and I didn’t for several years. But an inner voice kept coaxing me to have a bit more courage. They say the teacher appears when the student is ready and along the way, I discovered teachers of all types such as…..
- My Toastmasters group: a fabulous and supportive weekly club to help you leave the fear of public speaking behind.
- My encouraging husband: who no matter how bad a talk I gave, would tell me I was great.
- My menagerie of animals; rescue dogs and cats who model authenticity, and being yourself second to none. They also make a great practice audience when you are rehearsing a talk and are overjoyed to see you when it’s over.
My mission is to have the greatest pawsitive effect on the lives of animals and the humans who love them. And with every word, every conversation, and every audience I step in front of, my fear and self-doubt are outweighed by my feeling of connection to my life’s purpose.
What is Your Unique Message?
If you are reading this blog, then you are probably an animal lover. This key ingredient can help you greatly in life especially as you go through the process of discovering your true voice. Start by asking yourself these questions…..
- Do I feel like I play small and keep quiet when my heart tells me to speak up?
- What qualities does my animal companion have that can inspire me to be better?
- What might messages might they be trying to share with me that will help me align better with my purpose in life?
Nature can inspire us all to be bigger, better and to discover our authentic voice. And right now, nature’s representatives may be cuddled on your lap or strewn across your keyboard. If you can’t voice your truth to others yet, then begin by talking to your animal friends. Share your truth with them. Confide your deepest desires, and see what inspiration comes to you from that interaction. The answer may not be in words, but true connection speaks from heart to heart. Each of us has a unique message to share and when you find yours and are willing to share it, your world will change. And so will the world for the animals we care so much about
I look forward to the day when I am sitting in the audience listening to your magnificent voice, and your unique message on behalf of our animal friends.