Stories from the Speaker's Club by Brenda R. Bryan

Today, I would like to share the story of another client who came to the Club to overcome her fear and anxiety surrounding public speaking. Mary joined the Speaker’s Club after attending my Quick Connect Pitch Workshop. She said she was drawn to the intuitive way I provided feedback and wanted to be part of a group of like-minded women interested in growth and exploration. She knew in her heart that she needed the resources to change so she could step on a stage and deliver her message.

Something surprising happened. Mary discovered that calming herself down and overcoming her fear and anxiety was not enough. She had tried this many times before, and it never worked. Her most painful story was the time she stepped back from doing a speaking engagement she now knows she was fully prepared to deliver. Because she was so anxious, she didn’t trust herself to do a good job. Earlier in the day, a colleague offered to do the presentation. Five minutes before her presentation, Mary accepted her offer. She was devastated because anxiety won.

Mary stayed with the Club until she got the shift she sought. Rather than “fixing” herself or calming herself down, Mary knows she can deliver her message even when anxiety is present, as long as certain things are in place. Not only that, but she also developed a platform for helping others do the same. Mary’s a walking example of what’s possible when you show up, get support and take action, no matter the obstacles.

Talk about courage and action!

Mary will tell you the rest of the story:

What have I learned by participating in Brenda’s Speaker’s Club?

  • The value of showing up weekly and holding that Club time sacred
  • Being a member for more than six months has given me the skills and processes necessary to answer a deep call in my heart, which is, as a speaker, to help others struggling with anxiety be able to contribute to the world.
  • Raising my hand and putting myself in the spotlight more often than anxiety would like is of great value to me. Here my heart wins.
  • The practice of doing what scares me enables me to discover my authentic style and the strengths that simultaneously emerge from it.
  • Delivering my speech, receiving feedback, reviewing and revising repeatedly is like “take one, take two, take three, etc.” Focusing on one section at a time helps me develop my content and builds my confidence.
  • Being a member of a group that provides consistent leadership, group participation, kind and honest feedback, and skillful listening creates a feeling of belonging and shared purpose, which in turn invites my nervous system to rest.
  • Developing the ability to accept feedback as a tool for improving myself as opposed to one that feeds shame and self-criticism.

What have I learned in the Club that empowers me to speak even when anxious?

  • Keeping my attention focused on what I want rather than what I do not want.
  • Putting an end to trying to fix the anxiety or calm myself down.
  • Bringing loving attendance to the symptoms of anxiety, not ignoring them. Letting the anxiety know it doesn’t have to be in charge, that I’ve got it, helps the fear get out of the driver’s seat.
  • Letting myself know I will make mistakes and imagining myself laughing instead of freezing gets me out of the ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze’ response and wakes up inspiration. This loosens perfectionism’s grip, allowing me to be vulnerable and connect more deeply with my audience. Here it is difficult for anxiety to dominate.
  • Developing and memorizing a strong and impactful beginning and ending to my speech grounds me during what I find to be the most fearful times – the beginning and the end. When I am grounded, I am breathing; when I am breathing, I am less anxious.
  • To build a relationship with my participants, I ensure that my content and delivery are as engaging as possible. This creates more authenticity, which naturally reduces symptoms of anxiety.
  • Engaging with the participants provides inspiration, spontaneity, and joy, which leads to a collaborative dance experience making it difficult to remain stressed out.

So here is Mary’s story. What I love about this is the deep ownership of her journey and the profound shifts she is in to be the influencer who chances lives by standing for herself.

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