I Have a Dream

I believe with all my heart in the incredible power of dreams. Compelling dreams give us hope, inspire action, unite people, and empower generations. They give way to new technologies and innovation. They give us something to aim for, something to focus our attention and intention on as we stumble down the path of life, trying to figure out who we are and why we’re here.

I want to tell you about my dream. And I want to hear about yours. (If you don’t know what yours is, maybe I can help.)

I’ve been thinking about this post for months. And yet I kept putting it off because I knew it was important and I tend to procrastinate when something feels big. Thankfully, I got an email from kabbage.com, which is in the business of helping entrepreneurs manifest their dreams, asking me to write a post about my goals for a campaign they are running. That felt like a clear sign that it was time to put my vision out into the universe.

My dream evolves as I grow and change. It takes on new and unexpected shapes and colors as the next steps of my journey reveal themselves. I don’t know if my life in the future will look anything like what my dream looks like now, but I know for damn sure that it motivates me to move in that direction.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." - Thoreau

Here are some things to think about while capturing your dream in case you’re inspired to do yours too.

1. Practice gratitude. Before (and during and after) envisioning what you hope to create,  remember to be grateful for what you have, right here, right now.

2. Be present. While being inspired by your vision and letting it pull you forward, remember to live your life in the present, conscious and connected to the world around you.

3. Invest in the process, let go of the outcome. While going confidently in the direction of your dreams, remain open to new information and opportunities. Course correct as the next steps of your journey reveal themselves to you. Let go of having things show up looking a certain way. Be more interested in the essence of what you want and the journey toward it.

4. Think outside the box. Let go of any limited ideas of what’s possible and dare to let your imagination run free. You might be surprised what you come up with.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." - Albert Einstein

5. Take bold inspired action. Once you get clear on your dream, don’t forget to get out there and do something about it. Action creates energy and puts the wheels into motion.

Here is my dream as it stands now. I’ve divided it into categories and written it in the form of affirmations (i.e. in present tense statements, as if they’re already true.)

Family
– My relationship is a badass partnership. We are committed to authenticity, kickass communication, and living our fun, crazy lives to the fullest.
– I am deeply connected to my family, despite geographical limitations. I travel to see them often and we embrace technology to keep us close when we’re apart.

Career
– I have a killer team of talented people who believe in my mission that help me run my global business (e.g. virtual assistant, accountant, coach, mentor, PR, web design etc.)
– My business is an expression and an extension of who I am at my core. It reflects my purpose, values, passions and what makes me unique.
– I inspire, empower, and challenge people. The value I create for them is lasting and transformational.
– I have clients who fly me across the globe to work with them.
– I have written a book (maybe several) that tells my story and shares my message in a clear and compelling way, inspiring those who need it most.
– I positively impact large numbers of people not just through my own writing, speaking, coaching, videos, workshops, and retreats, but also through appearances on radio, TV, and live events.
– I surround myself with movers and shakers who believe in their dreams, rule breakers who challenge the status quo, and change makers who are quite literally saving the planet.
– I spend a lot of time outside my comfort zone, embracing failure, stretching my limits, and doing things that scare and excite me.

Money
– I attract and create more wealth than I personally need and am able to donate time and money to supporting and empowering the people, organizations, and causes I believe in.
– I have reached my milestones of being a 6-figure, and ultimately a 7-figure business.
– I spend money mindfully, creating a fun and fulfilling – yet sustainable – lifestyle for myself, my family, and my friends.
– I have a great money team (accountant + financial advisor + money coach) who help me make smart decisions.

Mind-Body-Spirit
– I eat clean 80% of the time (leaving 20% of the time for enjoying the delicious “bad” stuff), drink a ton of water, and get lots of sleep.
– I love and accept my body as it is, celebrate its uniqueness, and playfully test its limits.
– I seek out physical activities and types of movement that make me feel alive.
– My skin is radiant, my hair is healthy, my body is strong, I am glowing with happiness.
– I shine brightly from the inside out. I feel grounded, confident, and at peace.
– I regularly engage in mindfulness practices (e.g. yoga, meditation, gratitude) that quiet my mind, center my spirit, and open my heart.
– I stay intellectually stimulated and pursue continued learning and experiences by reading voraciously and attending classes, workshops, conferences etc.

Lifestyle
– I spend most of my social time doing fun and interesting things with people I love, creating meaningful connections, laughing often, and loving fiercely.
– I host frequent dinner parties, cook delicious food, and consciously create community.
– I travel the world for work and play. I am a mobile world citizen, always seeking to broaden my horizons, become familiar with the unfamiliar, and spread joy wherever I go.
– I make time to honor my passions (e.g. dance, music, languages, culture etc.)
– I am solar powered + water inspired, so I spend plenty of time in the sun and water.
– My wardrobe is a reflection of who I am: simple, classy, fierce, and playful.
– Though I travel often, I have a home base somewhere beautiful, near water, that is warm and welcoming, where friends and family eagerly come to visit.

Our World
– Through our collective wisdom, new technologies, and social responsibility we are finally figuring out how to save the planet from our own ignorance and overconsumption.
– A new brand of leadership is emerging. People are stepping up, working together, and love is winning over hate.
– Discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc. is outdated and nearly obsolete. We are experiencing a shift in consciousness and evolving into a more heart-centered and open-minded people.
– Western and Eastern medicine are being integrated into a more holistic healthcare approach. Doctors are in partnership with their patients. Quality healthcare is available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
– Common sense, respect for mother nature, and compassion keep us grounded as we develop new technologies and enter an exciting new era of rapid innovation.

This week on The Fierce Leadership Call we were talking about taking radical responsibility for ourselves and our world. Someone made a comment about random acts of kindness and I’ve been thinking about the invisible impact and the ripple effect of kindness. It reminded me of the “Kindness Boomerang” video below, which captures the essence of my dream for our world: love, respect, compassion.

If you take nothing else from my sharing my vision with you, take this: Be kind to each other. Protect each other. Help each other. Love each other.

10 Things I Used to Hate About Me

I am celebrating imperfection today. And so should you. “Perfect” is a rather outdated (and boring) concept, don’t you think? Not to mention nonexistent.

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist… Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” – Stephen Hawking

And yet here we are, chasing the unattainable. We are buying into the media’s idea of what perfection looks like, smells like, talks like, walks like, dresses like, and acts like. We know it’s unreasonable, but we run after it slobbering like a bunch of idiots, staring glassy-eyed at the photoshopped models on the covers of magazines, fantasizing about what it would be like to look like them, be them, or be with them. On some level we know that they’re not real people, we know they’re edited versions of real people, and still we compare ourselves to them. We hungrily flip to the section about that latest diet craze, glancing furtively around us to make sure no one saw that we’re buying into what is obviously pure bullshit thrown together to sell copies.

Obviously that doesn’t apply to all of us… But the essence of it is alive and well in many of us on some level, isn’t it? Are we maybe buying into some of it unconsciously, even if we aren’t consciously buying into any of it?

The concept of beauty is an incredible part of the human experience, albeit one that lies in the eye of the beholder. Naturally, ideals of beauty vary greatly from culture to culture. But when society and the media constantly shove unrealistic ideals down our throats, it has an impact. The pressure to attain these ideals leads to everything from bullying and body shaming to eating disorders and suicide. Especially among youth. Especially among young women. We know this now and we still let it happen. That is NOT ok. Please let’s step up our game and make a change.

I do think that things are beginning to shift and I’m ecstatic about it. I’ve noticed a significant change in the voice and tone of cultural messages about beauty in recent years, haven’t you? Definitely in social media. Less dramatically in traditional media, but it’s happening. I’m cautiously optimistic and my heart is filled with hope every time I see an ad or video that rises up and instead promotes more useful things to strive for like self love, self acceptance, strength, self awareness, respect, and an appreciation for different body types.

marilyn monroe

There is nothing sexier than a person who is comfortable in their own skin, no matter what they look like. <<Tweet this>>

As individuals we can take responsibility for building our own inner power and confidence and letting go of comparing ourselves to other people (and photoshopped people.) We can learn to own it, whatever “it” is. In addition to the attention and intention we focus inward, however, don’t we have a responsibility to move the collective consciousness forward and past this nonsense?

I want to do my part in promoting authenticity, truth, and vulnerability. I believe that our beautifully imperfect human bodies (and minds) deserve to be acknowledged and loved as they are. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive to improve ourselves. But, let’s make sure we understand that our worthiness as human beings doesn’t have anything to do with being any particular size, weight, race, gender, sexuality, or shape.

stevemaraboli

So, here are 10 things about me that I used to hate – 10 things I could easily continue to criticize, compare to others, hide etc. that I have instead chosen to not only love and accept, but to share and celebrate. Enjoy!

1. Long arms. My arms are disproportionately long and I used to be super self conscious about them. Now I celebrate the awkward gracefulness of them (as well as being able to reach things in really high places.)

2. Long fingers. I never knew what to do with my long alien fingers and used to hide my hands in pockets or behind my back. Now I let them dance and play as they wish. It doesn’t matter how they look.

3. Small breasts. My lack of boobs used to make me feel like slightly less of a woman and, admittedly I sometimes longed for a nice C-cup that might actually fill out a top. Now I cherish my (small and perky!) girls because they make me feel and move like more of an athlete.

4.  Narrow hips. I used to hate that I couldn’t fill out a pair of shorts or jeans the way a curvy woman could. Now I embrace the fact that my curves are not in the traditional places. My curves, which I love, are my shoulders and my nice big ass!

5.  Small head. Yup, I used to bemoan the small size of my head (in comparison to the rest of my body.) Now I simply identify with my spirit animal, the giraffe. Big strong body, long graceful neck, small head, warm eyes, feet planted firmly on the ground (the part of me that is practical) and head in the clouds (the part of me that is a visionary) and I rather like it.

6. Open bite. My malocclusion evolved as the result of a tongue thrusting tendency. It presents some functional challenges (I can’t bite through anything thin or flimsy) but mostly I was bothered by how it looks. Now I’ve let that go. There are much more important things to focus on.

7. My lisp. Didn’t know I have a lisp? Yup, I do. It’s subtle and comes and goes. I used to try in vain to hide it (which of course made it worse.) Now I just consider it part of what makes my particular speech patterns and voice unique and recognizable.

8. My shyness. It used to manifest itself in things like people pleasing, being quiet, avoiding conflict, and generally trying to fade into the background. It made me feel small and insignificant. Now I accept my shyness as a natural part of being an introvert and I’ve learned to work with it (e.g. by making sure I get lots of alone time to charge my batteries) instead of letting it control me. Now I know I can embrace being an introvert and still show up as the fierce, fun, loud, and powerful version of myself when I want to.

9. Melasma. This charming form of skin discoloration basically looks like you have dirt on your face. I know because people have quite literally tried to wipe it off. I’ve had it in varying degrees on and off for 10 years and it used to be the only thing I saw when I looked in the mirror, especially during the times when I had it on my upper lip. Now I just think of it as no biggie and a great reminder to wear sunscreen and hats.

10. My sports injuries. I used to compare myself to the runner I potentially could have been, had I never torn my ACL or developed achilles tendinitis. I’d get angry at my body for not being able to keep up with me and hampering my success. Now I do my best to accept my injuries and simply work from wherever I’m at each day. I savor the accomplishment I feel on a good day and humbly sit with the disappointment I feel on a bad day. I am grateful to be as able-bodied as I still am. If anything, my sports injuries have been a blessing in disguise. They’ve taught me to respect my limits and train smarter not just harder.

brene brown

I am walking tall and proud, owning my imperfection, and I am calling on you to join me in choosing every day to model authenticity, truth, and vulnerability. Let’s lift each other up and celebrate what’s raw and real for the sake of both our own aliveness and our connections to each other.

Sometimes You Gotta Slow Down to Speed up

For those of us living in fast moving, high tech, always connected cultures, this is not just some hot topic from the mindfulness movement. It’s becoming increasingly urgent for our health and well-being that we remember to unplug, slow down, and quiet our minds.

When we slow down, we create the space and energy needed to not only speed back up (and to do so more intentionally and strategically,) but also to thrive, to grow, to evolve, and to find clarity. That’s exactly what I’m intending to do down here in Costa Rica for the next three weeks.

playa

Recently I’ve felt as though I’m staring into a thick fog, straining my eyes in order to make out something in the distance. It’s as if there is a shift or epiphany of some kind coming, but I can’t quite make out what it looks like or what the message is.

I can feel the essence of it. The intoxicating pull of something I don’t yet understand but can’t deny the strength of. There is clarity there. Focus. Resonance. I suspect it’s related to my business, but it could be something else entirely.

I also know I can’t force it. The harder I look for the answers, the more they escape me. It’s like when you wake up from a vivid dream and can still feel the richness of it, but as soon as you try to bring the specifics of it into consciousness they slip away, out of reach. I have to step back, let the distractions fade away, and trust that the answers will show up when the time is right.

We planned this trip ages ago, since Chris’ family is putting on a reunion of sorts, and we figured we’d head out a few weeks early. (We got engaged a week before leaving, so it became a celebratory trip too.) Yet, the timing feels so appropriate, given my current state of mind. There is nothing but space and time down here in paradise and I am grateful to be here right now. Pura vida!

puravida

It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenetic pace of city life. I think the tendency to rush through one thing and onto the next thing is deeply ingrained in many of us. In my case, I’ve been in crazy mode since leaving my last job in February in order to focus on building my own business full time.

I’ve been hustling like a madman to make ends meet while still being fiercely determined to stay true to myself, honor my values, and be actively creating the business and lifestyle of my dreams. It’s been amazing, and ridiculously challenging. The work is thrilling for me and transformational for my clients. Finding the clients and creating steady income is where the crazy comes in. I’ve experimented a lot, failed a lot, learned a lot, have grown the business slowly but steadily, and I have a loooooong way to go. I’m prepared to buckle down and continue to work hard creating something that is not just aligned with who I am and what I stand for, but that is scalable, sustainable, and successful.

That being said, our bodies and our souls need time to slow down. Not just to replenish, recharge, and relax but also to allow our inner wisdom to emerge. We can give ourselves this gift through regular meditation, vacation, and many other forms of self-care. But how often to we neglect this need? How many of us show up, with the best of intentions, depleted, stressed and confused, because we’ve neglected to slow down, create space for rest and recovery, and do whatever else it is we need in terms of self-care?

Today, I’m sinking into the slower pace of life. I’m working on letting go of expectations and assumptions and practicing the art of being in the moment. Instead of trying hard to find the answers, I’m relaxing into just being with the fog until it clears.

 

I’m Bringin’ Sexy Back and You Get to Name Your Price

As I posted on Facebook recently, I’M BRINGIN’ SEXY BACK! This is what I mean by sexy:

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I want you to love and accept your body. I want you to love and accept your whole damn self, actually. When you’re feeling sexy (whatever that means to you) you are more powerful, more present, and more engaged. That’s one of the best gifts you can give to the people who care about you. I assert that bringing your sexy back is an important part of your personal empowerment, happiness, and leadership too. (Btw, if you’re into leadership, check out The Fierce Leadership Call.)

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In both my training sessions and my coaching sessions, I get to watch people transform as they (re)connect with their bodies, hearts, and minds. It’s like watching a flower blossom or a butterfly metamorphose. No joke.

Are you ready to (re)discover your own mojo and bring YOUR sexy back? Then I’ve got a great deal for you.

For the next 48 hours you get to name your price on any of my services. Offer any amount you wish. Seriously. While I do reserve the right to respectfully decline your offer if needed, my intention is to accept them all. Go nuts.

Why I’m doing this
- To make myself accessible to a larger demographic and positively impact more people
– I like social experiments, have no idea what to expect, and am curious about this idea!

The deadline
This sale will last from 3pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014 until 3pm Friday, June 6, 2014

What you get
A one hour session with me. Choose between the following:
– outdoor personal training
– in person life coaching
– life coaching via phone (or Skype)

How it works
If you are interested, send me an email with following information:
– what you’d like to buy
– your offer

The rules
- One per person, but may buy more as gifts
- Offer must be accepted and payment made before the deadline
– Personal training sessions will be at / near Pier 40
– In person coaching sessions will be at / near Crossroads Cafe
– Sessions must be used during the month of June
– No refunds, but you can gift your session to someone else if you can’t use it
– This sale is open to everyone, even if you are a current or past client

Tapping into the Divine Feminine

I love my tomboy tendencies. They’re a huge part of who I am and I embrace them. But lately I’ve been craving more feminine in my life too. Being one of the guys is a safe place for me. It’s great, but it’s well within my comfort zone. Stepping more into the feminine is out of my comfort zone and therefore also aligned with something I’m working on this year – taking bigger risks.

What I’m longing for is not just femininity for femininity’s sake, but rather tapping into the Divine Feminine.  To me the divine feminine includes the full spectrum of timeless female energy and can show up in all different shapes and forms, genders, sexualities, etc. The common thread is that it’s really real. It’s deep, vulnerable, mysterious, raw, intuitive, bold, magnetic, compelling, and healing. It draws you in with its irresistible beauty, magic, and power.

divinefeminine

I declared 2014 my year of intentionally tapping into and coaxing out my own divine feminine – kicking and screaming if needed – while also actively seeking it out in other women. Not surprisingly, the universe smiled, nodded, and coughed up a handful of opportunities. Looking back, the first quarter of this year has been all about the feminine for me. Here are some examples.

Joyus

don’t know a damned thing about online shopping. And I’m hardly an expert when it comes to fashion. So, naturally I was caught off guard when online shopping network, Joyus, invited me to be a guest on their talk show. Luckily, it was for a life organization segment and I got to present my simplify, prioritize, clarify philosophy. Being surrounded by fashion and beauty experts definitely put me outside my comfort zone, but I think I managed to be myself and just own it, because most of the feedback I’ve gotten was that I came across as authentic and grounded. The experience strengthened my resolve to start making my own videos (which I’ve been putting off for months because it feels like a big huge scary risk.) Here’s the clip, if you haven’t seen it yet. 

Spinsters

As you may have noticed I get pretty fired up about public speaking. Over the holidays, I was asked to be a featured speaker at a Spinsters general meeting. I felt totally confident about my talk but being in a room full of dolled up girls made me hyper aware of how out of touch I’ve been with my own feminine side the past five years while working in fitness. It felt good to just notice this without judging it. As I was standing at the podium at the front of a room with 100+ young women staring back me, I took the opportunity to soak in as much of that uniquely female energy as I could.

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Electric Woman

My good friend Nikki Armytage, whom I’ve written about before, asked me to co-lead a handful of calls with her for Electric Woman this spring. We’ve only just begun this journey and the connections happening in this group of smart and ambitious women are already blowing me away. When you create a sacred space and ask for vulnerability, magic happens. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I suspect I’ll learn a lot from them these next few months. Nikki’s work is going to take the world by storm, by the way. I’m sure of it. Keep an eye out for her book.

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Red Heart Collective

When I was asked by Heather Spurrell, who I’ve been admiring from afar for ages, to be one of the original contributors in her digital magazine I was excited, since Real Women Whole People is very much aligned with everything I stand for. Then, when I saw the names of the other contributors, I was humbled. To be included amongst the likes of Amy Smith of Joy Junkie fame, who is a total badass, and Karen Kimsey-House, co-founder of CTI and one of the pioneers of the coaching industry, felt like a tremendous honor. My piece is called Unleash the Beast and can be found on page 16. Click the image below to hunt it down.

Real Women Whole People

So, my year of tapping into the divine feminine is off to a pretty good start. And I crave lots more. I want more badass women in my life to learn from, grow with, and look up to. I want to see more and more of my own feisty femme come out to play. I want to explore all the mystery and the power that being a woman has to offer and see what happens when I do.

 

 

Charging the Batteries that Power My Dream Life

A few weeks ago, I was working with one of my coaches to design an ideal day in my dream life. As we uncovered the elements that would make up a typical day where I’m living on purpose, making choices that are aligned with my values, and being intentional about how I spend my time, I remembered how important it is to me to have energy.

To have the kind of intense and grounded energy I need to live my dream life I need to charge my batteries often. This is something I’m working on a lot right now.

Today, for example:

I charged my professional battery with an edgy coaching session outdoors, where we drew inspiration and ideas from our natural surroundings to move her forward. I feel lucky to be able to count my work as something that lights me up.

I charged my physical battery by running for 50 minutes up to Coit Tower and back, stretching and strengthening my body, filling my lungs with fresh air, enjoying the feeling of my blood pumping through my veins, and connecting to the expansiveness and limitlessness of the view from up top.

I charged my mental battery during my run by listening to a free webinar on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset while doing work you love that has a big positive impact on the world, and I walked away with a sense of calm, clarity, and fierce determination.

I charged my spiritual battery by lighting a candle, listening to a World Beat station on Pandora, and taking some time to breathe into stillness, quiet, and gratitude.

Other days I might be more focused on charging my intellectual, social, or emotional batteries. It varies from day to day.

We can charge our batteries in a number of ways, of course. Putting just a little focus or attention onto an area of my life tends to create more energy there. Taking bold inspired action creates energy. Forming habits around healthy activities and meaningful rituals can create energy. 

I charge my iPhone every night when I sleep, but also in my car while I drive, and often while working on my laptop. Why not do the same with these other batteries? What if I can build opportunities into my day to regularly be charging my batteries so that I am able to maintain a high level of energy, which not only keeps me growing and thriving, but also spreads beyond me and energizes those with whom I come into contact? 

How to Kick Ass at Public Speaking

Most people hate it. A few of us love it. Many jobs require it and being good at it can open a lot of doors. Why not learn to kick ass at it? Here is my take on how.

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Embrace your fear

Fear shows up in some shape or form, usually nerves, for most of us when we know we’re going to speak in front of a group. Being nervous is normal and healthy. Embrace it. Find a way to move through it, dance with it, or harness it. It’s just energy. Let it empower you. If you have rituals or practices that help you get grounded, use them.

Be authentic

As the Chinese proverb says, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Let go of the ideas you have about what a person is supposed to look, act, and sound like when speaking in public and just talk. The harder you try to be someone or something else, the more obvious it is to the audience and the less interesting you are to listen to.

Know your why

If you don’t know why you’re up there, the audience won’t either. Be clear on your purpose for giving the talk. Are you there to entertain? To educate? To inspire? What is your message? Keep your content simple and focus on one core theme or idea. Help your listeners understand why it’s meaningful to you.

Don’t memorize every word

There are lots of techniques you can use to remember what you want to cover (use a powerpoint presentation, refer to an outline, use note cards, memorize the outline etc.) but memorizing every word of a speech is rarely the way to go. It just doesn’t sound natural. Know the story instead. Understand the emotional journey you want to take your audience on, but don’t memorize every word.

Slow down

Slow everything down – your words, your breathing, your hand gestures, your facial expressions. We inevitably speed up when nervous so do your best to consciously slow down your speech. This also gives you time to think. After making an important point, pause to allow it to land. The more relaxed and grounded you seem up there, the more relaxed and grounded your audience will feel.

Use natural body language

Move in a way that is authentic to you. If you are expressive and talk with your hands, do that. If you are pretty laid back and don’t move around a lot, do that. The point is, find something that feels right for you, rather than trying to move how you think you’re supposed to move. Some of the best talks I’ve seen were delivered by speakers who barely moved at all. Turn up the dial on your own energy to engage the crowd, but avoid being fake.

Be aware of your breath and voice

Breathe. If you are running out of breath, the audience will feel like they are running out of breath. Consciously slowing down and controlling your breathing will improve many things about your delivery and your own experience. Take advantage of the full range, volume, and tone of your voice to bring your listeners into the emotional experience of your story. Your voice is an extremely powerful instrument. Learn to use it intentionally.

Be present and read the room

When you are grounded and present, you are better able to read the room and detect the subtle shifts happening in the energy in the room. If you are caught up in your own story or obsessively worrying what people might think, you probably won’t notice that the back of the room has checked out. By being completely in the moment, you can better sense what’s going on around you, and adjust your presentation accordingly.

Invest in the process, then let go of the outcome

Prepare. Practice. Then practice some more. Really invest in the process. Then, as soon as you walk onto the stage let go of the outcome and just have fun. Trust that you’ve put in the work and will find the words. Tap into your authentic self and speak from your heart. Let go of getting it right and looking good. Be flexible and open to whatever comes up.

If you end up using any of these tips, I would love to hear how it goes. Leave a comment or send me a note.