Updated: Jun 26
Let's get raw and vulnerable here.
I lay awake for hours after I got the news - wondering if I'd done something wrong at the corporate keynote talk I delivered in Los Angeles.
Then I got it: Sharing from the cutting edge always stirs up criticism.
Yes, criticism hurts. But does it mean that you should swallow your message?
My heart sank when I heard feedback that a couple of people thought my talk was considered overly dramatic and unfitting for corporate culture. What? Oh noooooo....
It was confusing because, at the venue, I witnessed so many women moved to tears and saying that they loved it. Several even asked if I would fly across the country to their offices to give the same talk or a special workshop.
I allowed the emotions to stream through (very intense for me because I've always been a huge people pleaser. -:)
I definitely had to practice what I teach - centering, grounding, meditating, going back into my heart, then reflecting on my original intention for the talk and what I've learned about human nature after working with thousands of people.
The corporate talk I gave was dramatic. I pulled petals off of a rose to help tell the story. My story of not feeling good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough…and then snippets of other women’s stories who had huge reasons, because of their past, to feel all the things I did and more.
After describing this, I stand strong: It's time for a new paradigm in the workplace.
My message is about women joining together because it’s our time to "go boldly together," so we don't have to leave our hearts at home when we go to work. Together we can truly thrive. Because there are times when even type A's like me let doubt and fear get in the way of making a bigger difference by speaking their truth.
Whether you are an entrepreneur or taking the corporate ride, bottom line is that people are people, and leading with curiosity, understanding, and love will set you apart as a leader others will bend over backward for to assist.
We've heard this before and sometimes illustrating it dramatically really brings it home.
It is about supporting one another, even when it’s difficult because someone might be a bit prickly. Prickly is what people see on the outside of the women who have been hurt the most. With a bit of understanding and care, they can feel safe enough to retract those thorns, lead with openness and kindness, and then support others too.
One of the most important things for women is to feel seen and supported, and then they/we can show up fully and bring our best selves to team meetings, the boardroom, and the bedroom.
It's interesting that many of us take it for granted that if someone looks put together, all polished up and sparkly, it means that they are strong, centered, grounded and put together on the inside too. Trust me, this is not always the case; that was me as a top sales performer in the printing industry who looked great on the outside but would regularly swallow my words in the company of too many eyes on me, or people I deemed to be more important.
I can't tell you how many of my students have come to me with Ivy League schools backing them. They come across as refined and poised day-to-day, but during interviews or company meetings they get so incredibly stressed that they can't think straight and walk out the door feeling both defeated and deflated. So you definitely can't tell a book by its cover.
I turned to Robin Sharma, best selling author and leadership coach, who helped me to understand my experience. Here's my interpretation of what he said after receiving his share of criticism: “The herd stands on the foundation of what they believe is true. When you bring an original way of looking at something it can be threatening, and it’s easier to shoot the messenger than to disrupt their foundation."
Look at Oprah, Brene Brown, Nelson Mandela or Madonna. They all received a lot of pushback, and despite that, rose to great heights, shared their wisdom and uniqueness, and became household names that have moved us all. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.
One of my big missions is to bring more heart, compassion, and truth into corporate America so that everyone has a more successful, connected, and fulfilling life.
It's not easy, but I'm glad I learned this lesson, to stand behind my message, even when it's edgy.
Bringing cutting edge ideas will resonate with some, and quite frankly, others simply will not be ready for them, and that's just fine. Even for us pleasers, it's okay not to please everyone if in your heart you believe in your message. In fact, you must speak it for you and for the world. This is the role of an empowered public speaker.
Everyone has an important message to deliver. And if you fail to deliver yours, the world misses out, and so do you.