My last 90 days have been pretty epic.
I’ve closed some super sexy speaking engagements.
I hosted my third annual The Spotlight MasterTreat.
I’m in the homestretch of my most profitable program launch to date.
I’ve traveled a lot—to 5 different cities.
I’ve retreated and masterminded with some amazing entrepreneurs on both coasts of the country.
Made some new business besties.
Landed my dream agent.
And while on vacation in Maui, closed a book deal. (More on that after the official Publishers Marketplace announcement later this month, pinky swear.)
And above all, I’ve really retired my old habit of thinking, “This is all too good to be true.” And I’ve replaced it with the mantra, “Thank you. More please. I’m worthy of all of this.”
I’ve also been on an almost perfectly executed 80-day coaching sabbatical between rounds of the Spotlight Speakers Collective. (Which, for me, means no clients—or almost no clients—unless someone has a TEDx talk coming up).
This break has given me time to reflect on how I got to this place of equal parts abundance and contentment.
Everyday my desire is running laps around my fears, so when I smell the beginning of resistance popping up, I’ve got my tools to quell it.
Self-talk. The trampoline. Meditation. EFT (Tapping). Journaling.
My moxie is unshakeable, because my toolbox is full.
Last week, my almost three-and-a-half-year-old daughter began a one-week dance camp. Given her love of dancing, Broadway musicals, and most of all the show Peter Pan (which was the theme of the camp), although this was her first out of the home educational experience, it seemed like a no brainer.
(If you are a parent reading this, please quiet your cackling. I suspect you know what’s coming.)
When we showed up for the first day, all of the toddler bunheads were asked to line-up down a long hallway and say good-bye to their parents at the start of the day. My daughter, never previously a public crier, wailed something ungodly as I sought to slip my hand out from under hers and find my place in the lobby for the three hours. Although the dance teachers shook their heads disapprovingly at me, I apologetically walked with my daughter and two dozen other little girls to her classroom, hoping she’d calm down. When we arrived, I placed her hand in the hand of another little girl who I made eye contact with, blew her kisses, and backed away as quickly as possible so that she could cross the threshold into the classroom where it was very clear I was not allowed.
She, um, didn’t cross over.
I played good cop.
“Honey, you can watch four Creative Galaxy episodes tonight,” twice her usual allotment of her favorite show.
And bad cop.
An hour later, “Honey, you will not be watching any Creative Galaxy if you do not go in there.”
It was almost two-hours of watching my daughter suffer through the most dramatic emotional breakdown I’d ever been privy to.
And I’ve seen some things.
But after a quick FaceTime with her dad, she hugged me tightly, dried her eyes, took a deep breath, and pranced into the room for the remaining hour of the first day.
She twirled. She pranced. She hugged the little girl whose hand I’d slipped into hers earlier that morning.
I was a happy mama.
After class, I brought my girl shopping, and she picked out a new Peppa Pig backpack, lunchbox, and Thermos. Onwards to day two.
But no sooner than I threw her new loot into the back of our SUV, she declared, “Mom, I’m not going back to Peter Pan camp. I want to stay home with you.”
I reminded her of the fun that she had. How growth was uncomfortable. When we got home, we danced the fear out. We did some yoga and meditated. We even tapped until she said, “Mommy, I don’t have any icky sensation anymore.”
(Sidebar: there are seriously few things cuter than my daughter tapping along meridian points saying, “Even though saying goodbye to mommy feels a little scary, I still love and accept myself.”)
The next day I had back-to-back calls at the start of the day, so I enrolled my mom to accompany my daughter and her nanny to dance camp.
I reminded my daughter to tap if the sensation came back, and told my mom, “Let her take however long it’s going to take to go in. But please make sure she goes in.”
While on my calls, the texts from my mom started pouring in. “Lex, this isn’t going to work. She’s crying so loudly they are asking us to take her home. There is no way we can keep doing this to her. She’s too scared. She’s not ready to be away from one of her grown-ups.”
I’ll admit it. It felt like a defeat. Not simply as a parent, but even worse, as a speaking coach.
“If I can’t get my own tutu wearing kid to go into a dance studio with a dozen other girls her own age, who am I to think that…”
Fortunately, I called malarkey on that mental script pretty quickly.
Behavioral change—it can only happen when our desire is greater than our fear.
And for my daughter, well, it wasn’t. And no amount of persuading, bargaining, or self-berating was going to change that.
I’m happy to report that this story, while still fresh, has a semi-happy ending. The day after we withdrew from dance camp, I introduced the idea of enrolling in a parent/caretaker and child music and movement class, and my daughter was elated.
“I can stay by your side, Mommy?!”
And now, four days a week, my girl is singing, twirling, and banging her triangle away. She feels safe to take the creative and social risks she wants to because the presence of me, or one of the other grown-ups in her life, has radically lowered the fear that the thought of separation brought on.
I debated sharing this story with you, and wouldn’t have if my daughter was not back to her cheeky, jovial self. But since she is, I chose to because while last week was painful to live through, the experience gets to the core of why so many of us are berating ourselves for a perceived lack of achievement.
With our speaking. In our businesses. In life.
Our fear is simply greater than our desire, and therefore we get paralyzed.
And until we are both swimming neck-high in our purpose (in our vision for what we want for ourselves and for our clients), AND we have the right tools to manage all of the sensation we are experiencing—then and only then will be able to decide that the exhaustion of treading water is more painful than persisting towards our dreams when resistance emerges. As she always will. And the closer we are to realizing our professional, speaking, and thought leadership aspirations, the more intense the sensation we experience. This I know for sure.
And sometimes, the tools that worked in one season of our work, they stop working. And we need a tune-up. Or in my daughter’s case, someone we love and adore to be by our side and hold space for us as we move at our own pace.
What will you do to ensure your connection to your desire is greater than your fear as you pursue your speaking dreams?
I do a lot of podcast interviews, and it’s always a joy to be interviewed by someone who is a long-time fan of my work, who is on her own journey to speaking and thought leadership, and who is just a darn good interviewer.
So it was, when I sat down with Courtney Bentley, a fellow Las Vegan, personal trainer, sports nutrition expert, and behavioral change expert.
During my episode of the Fit, Fierce and Fabulous podcast, Courtney and I jammed on:
- How to show up to speak with unshakeable presence and connect with your audience
- How to reframe “fear” into “sensation” and be with it while on stage
- When and how to “go rogue” when your audience needs something you didn’t prepare to share
- Why meditation is one of my favorite speaker training tools
- How to cultivate morning rituals (even when you are awoken most days by your kiddo) that support high performance