Are you feeling stuck with how to speak to your audience right now?
With so much turmoil in our world, are you feeling insecure and uncertain if they will even listen?
It seems every day there is another doomsday forecast, and I imagine if you are feeling overwhelmed, then it can be so easy to imagine your audience feels the same way. And in feeling that way, we can so easily feel like we don’t have choice, and our work doesn’t matter.
And where does that leave you?
Where does that leave your beautiful work?
Where does that leave your livelihood?
Where does that leave your confidence in what or even HOW to offer your gifts and voice during this time?
Because, this doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
In fact, many experts are calling for things to only get more intense this Fall and Winter.
And you didn’t come here to stick your head in the sand. I imagine you really want to KNOW how to connect with your audience and continue to thrive during this time.
Your work matters deeply to you.
So, what CAN you do?
What’s the key to unlock this door that seems to be shut?
I enter the room feeling so self conscious and anxious.
I’ve never been to a support group before, and don’t even make eye contact with anyone in the room.
I see an empty cushion, and sit down.
On either side of me, two people are having a discussion about drug trips from the 70’s and I start to panic. My head is exploding with a loud voice,
I don’t belong here
This was a bad idea
I need to leave NOW
And just as I’m about to get up, a small Pomeranian comes bounding over to me and starts to cuddle with me. He’s a fiery shade of orange, and I feel my whole body relax.
That’s Dante. She’s coming to say hello
I look up and see a woman in a wheelchair smiling at me, the owner of the dog, and I feel myself relax. Maybe it was an ok idea to come.
After all, I was desperately seeking answers. My whole life was falling apart at the seams. I had just completed mediation for my divorce, had moved into a friend’s apartment, took an office job, and was having moments of shock every day…sometimes 20 times in a day. And I didn’t know what to do with it. I was overwhelmed with grief.
I didn’t recognize my life. I was losing everything, and needed help.
So, when I saw there was a support group at the Shambhala Center called the Healing Circle, I decided to go. Something was drawing me here, and for the first time in my life, I was listening to a different guidance.
A voice from within.
It wasn’t very strong, but it was there.
We began the meeting with a meditation. I had just received beginning instruction the week before, so I settled in.
While meditating, I felt Dante come close again. She laid down in front of me, and began to gently lick my ring finger. The finger that was now empty, after being adorned with what I thought was a lifelong promise. Tears streamed down my face. It was as if Dante knew exactly where on my body needed healing.
After the meditation, the teacher, Jeff Rubin, passed the mic around and asked everyone to share their names and why they were here.
And when the mic came to me, I did something I had never done before.
I told the truth of my sadness and heartbreak to a room of complete strangers. I opened my heart and told them my story of loss.
And then the real miracle occurred…..they came closer. In fact, they all thanked me for sharing. And because of what I shared, it opened up the space for others to do the same. They felt more safe because I had been so vulnerable.
And I could feel the knot in my chest loosening…a knot that had been there for decades.
At the end of the meeting, I went to the teacher to sign up for his email list and knew I would be coming back every month for this circle. When I came to him, he stared up at me with the biggest blue eyes and said,
What you did was very courageous.
I was speechless.
For all of my life, I had thought if I shared my soft underbelly, if I showed people I didn’t have it all together, I would be rejected. I had gone through my adult life protecting myself and putting on an “act” of perfection, which was very easy to do as a performer.
And yet, what I had wanted all along was to actually connect with the people around me. I had wanted to connect with my audience and move them, and had been so frustrated in my career when I hit a ceiling and couldn’t seem to achieve my greatest dream.
And I realized,
I had been wrong.
I COULD show who I truly was and not be rejected. In fact, it was my soft underbelly and humanity that caused the greatest connection.
It wasn’t about putting on an act.
It was really about just being me.
Just being real, warts and all.
And this day set in motion a whole turn of events that began a healing and acceptance within my body and spirit, and the following year, I found myself turning down work, and having a complete resurgence in my career.
That day in the circle changed me.
And I dropped the act.
Truth was, it was exhausting to keep up.
It was a relief to lay it down.
It can be so easy to feel alone during times of great stress, and even more so, to feel self conscious and embarrassed if you are struggling.
But, something that the pandemic has shown us, is we actually have way more in common than differences.
I recently invited the brilliant photographer Jenna Martin in to teach Instagram to my clients, and she spoke about how the platform was changing from being a perfectly curated “magazine” to being far more real.
How so many more creatives, artists, and thought leaders were just coming forward to share themselves, to share resources for how to help, and really being vulnerable.
This was such a sigh of relief for me and for Jenna, who leads her platform and podcast from a place of transparency, and her audience LOVES her for it.
And I can share, it has been my vulnerability that has grown my platform from a small handful, to a world wide audience.
And there is really important space to this, because this isn’t about feeling unsafe. You ultimately decide what you share with your audience. You don’t have to tell them everything, but I can assure, they will trust you and RELATE to you far more when you show your humanity.
When you show your heart.
When you can communicate where you are.
Because that actually feels so AMAZING for your audience who has been feeling so alone, so overwhelmed, and feeling NO ONE feels the same.
I recently reconnected with a favorite movie from my childhood, The Secret of Nimh, and the theme song has me in tears.
The chorus repeats over and over,
Love is the Key
Love is the Key
And I wept hearing this in a song.
Being reminded of something far larger that ties us all together.
So, what can you share with your audience?
Imagine how you are feeling, and what if they are feeling the same?
What would you want to hear?
What would comfort you?
What would loosen that tightness in your chest?
And what if it’s the same for them?
My coach mentor calls this courageous space, and it’s actually the key to a raving audience.
It’s not about having it all together.
It’s not about glitz and glamour.
We have all seen that go down the drain this year.
So, open your heart and be real.
Go within, and share what is alive there, because who you are is your greatest power and taping into that is what will create the strongest connection.
Your audience is waiting for that.
They are hungry for authenticity.
And I imagine, so are you.
Turns out, speaking your truth will actually heal and help you both.