“It takes courage to become who you are.”
- ee cummings
I was the founder’s first hire and worked for 20 years at Summer Search, a national nonprofit committed to helping young people transform what they believe is possible for themselves. Most of the students are first in their family to go to college.
I learned long ago in the early years of mentoring students that despite our vastly different scenarios growing up, we shared universal truths. We all hold on to ways of operating that stem from childhood experiences. We repeat what we know. It isn’t conscious. It isn’t intentional. But it takes high levels of consciousness and intention, not to mention courage, to interrupt our behavior.
Playing small seeps into our psyche and many of us accept the bind of not living to our fullest potential. I saw this play out in my students. I called them on their self sabotage so that they could recognize and change the behaviors and excuses that were holding them back from seizing opportunities.
During the last few years at Summer Search, I saw this same bind playing out in myself. I felt steeped…like tea. Suffused by my years of devotion, I was playing out old behaviors of pleasing and “shoulds” …. And you know what happens to us pleasers, right? The underbelly of resentment ain’t pretty.
Transitions are inherently difficult. So, to deal with my anxiety of leaving an organization I loved, I flipped the usual stock advice about “going for it.” I changed my angle of vision and focused not on what would be gained by venturing forth, but instead focused on what might be lost by standing still.
Staying meant holding on to old tapes in my head, old ways of thinking and staying inevitably meant I was holding myself back. Once I was able to see this, moving on felt less threatening, and I was able to let go.
Today, I am combining my entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to helping others by offering presentation and story coaching to individuals and organizations.
Developing your presence and making the most of an opportunity, whether it is a speech, presentation, interview, or milestone celebration is finding the right words and personal branding: What do you stand for? What are your values? What is the story that needs to be told?
We all wonder if what we have to say is worthy. If it is good enough. If it makes sense. These voices are inside all of us, regardless of age, gender, or background.
My tagline, Speaking To What Matters, means helping people find their message, find their voice, and ultimately, their confidence. It means zeroing in on that kernel of truth, of fears and self doubts that we all carry, and turning that vulnerability into a strength and into a meaningful experience.
Playing big doesn’t have to be about titles or power. For me, playing big is about using my deepest offering on a daily basis.
You don’t have to be alone in figuring out what to say. Together, we can dig deeper, to and through the narrative you have told yourself for years, and the story you want to become. We all need help unleashing our most creative, authentic self.
Working together can be fun. Did I say fun? Yes, fun in the most meaningful soul-affirming way. Once you connect more with yourself, you can connect with others. In conversations, in board meetings, on stage, in front of the camera, with the people you want to reach, with the people you love.
The moment will be elevated because you are showing up fully. You will become who you are, and bring others right along with you.
Learn how to develop your presence, create meaningful experiences, on stage and off. Join my newsletter list: www.katherinekennedysf.com.
What's holding you back? I want to hear from you