I wasn’t always a confident communicator.
I won the quietest-girl award in sixth grade, and a head-down, mouth-shut mentality guided my young adulthood. I chose to sit on the sidelines for many reasons, ranging from school bullies and teacher criticism, to boisterous friends and false beliefs.
After college I built a lucrative career in market research, but I was always stressed. I was living by others’ rules, afraid to speak up, and missing out on opportunities. In 2006 I quit market research to pursue my passion for yoga and wellness. But once again, fear kept me from effectively promoting my business, finding new clients, and creating the impact I knew I could make.
Frustrated, I asked myself, Where is this fear coming from?
I was tired of being a best-kept secret and tired of missing out on opportunities. I wanted to be remembered for my actions and impact.
I needed to face my fears and claim my voice.
So I took on slower, more mindful activities. A medley of yoga, hiking, meditation, and journaling helped me get grounded in who I am. I hired coaches and joined Toastmasters to beef up my communication skills. I said yes to leadership positions that forced me to be seen and heard.
Along the way I came to understand what I was hiding from. I learned to fear less, speak up more, and act on my ideas.
There were others with me on this journey.
As I developed my voice I noticed other talented professionals had similar fears. They, too, felt uneasy talking to clients, promoting their work, or presenting to groups.
So, I turned my biggest obstacle into opportunity. I launched Shipman Communication to help professionals improve their presentation skills and business relationships. I also created the Courageous Heart pendant to remind people that their stories, knowledge and ideas matter.