Lessons from the Your Turn Challenge

By Arturo de Frias Marques (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I took on the Your Turn Challenge – a seven day blogging challenge inspired by Seth Godin and his book “What to do when it’s your turn” to get in the habit of blogging everyday, to get better and faster with blogging and connect with others.  I hoped the Your Turn Challenge will remind me to do my best without judging myself, to ship my work without worrying that it’s not good enough because it is my best work today.

Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” my mission was more important than the negative voices in my head. In the end, I willingly poured myself into the most generous, vulnerable work I’m capable of creating right now, in this moment. I put fear of not being good enough aside and hit publish everyday. Here are a few lessons I learned from the #yourturnchallenge experience:

+ Creating a system to blog everyday helps. I set a time limit and tried to reduce the amount spent on blogging each day. One day I did it in ten minutes! I also used free photos from wikimedia commons and copied and pasted the URLs instead of trying to size the photos myself.

+ Focusing my attention on the priority of blogging everyday is important to success.

+ Writing is a habit. Blogging is also a habit. Each habit has their own set of rules to follow.

+ Let go of perfection and embracing the mantra: “Done not perfect.”

+ Accept each blog post as my best work today. I can always go back and be inspired to write something new again.

+ Always log out of WordPress after you moderate a comment. This is to avoid something wacky like a spambot sending 52 emails to a person who commented on one of my posts. Sorry, T.

+ Do less. The goal was to publish a post everyday to MommyMusingsBlog.com and the your turn tumblr blog.

+ I can blog fearlessly everyday.

This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.

How to reduce the fear of public speaking

By Yathin S Krishnappa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The mere thought of public speaking – that is speaking in front of a large audience – sends my stomach into knots, and turns me into a cold, clammy mess, and makes me have to pee. Apparently, I’m not alone. According to several studies, speaking in public is cited as one of the top fears for humans. The National Institute of Mental Health reported that 75% of women and 73% of men said they were afraid of public speaking. The fear of public speaking, also known as Glossophobia, outranks arachnaphobia (fear of spiders) and thanatophobia (fear of death) is considered a social phobia, of which more than 5.3 million Americans have.

Why do women and men feel this way?

For one, we feel exposed in front of an audience. We think people will laugh at us (or not laugh at something they’re supposed to), scrutinize everything we say and reject us as incompetent, incoherent, and confused. We might even (gasp) die!

Author Patty Chang Anker, however, assures us we won’t die in her article  “Don’t Just Stand There,” which breaks down what’s behind the fear of public speaking. Anker, a former book publicist-turned mom blogger (Facing Forty Upside Down) wanted to share her story of adopting two girls from China in front of others. So she decided to audition for “Listen to your mother,” a show  that features live readings by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood, in celebration of Mother’s Day. Anker’s tale is funny and she peppers her piece with great lessons on public speaking. I found myself nodding yes to everything Anker wrote.

Years ago, I joined ToastMasters to get over my fear of public speaking. I also took a workshop to help me speak up in public more comfortably. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

+ Strive for grace, not perfection. The audience won’t know if you made a mistake or forgot a chunk of story. Reach into your soul.

+ Think of your “strawberry”. Your strawberry is something that makes you feel good. It could be person, place or thing you cherish.  For example, your dog, the sun setting on the lake, or “worry beads.” Anything that simply makes you smile inside.

+ It’s okay to be nervous. Being nervous is natural and is our adrenaline. Turn your nervous energy into enthusiasm and engagement.

+ Don’t memorize every word. (And please don’t read from a PowerPoint presentation.) Internalize your speech or topic by practicing.

+ Bonus tip from Seth Godin: Give your speech to a dog. And then a few more dogs. Work your way up to a friend. Take one step at a time to get over your fear of public speaking.

What do you think? What are your tips for reducing the fear of public speaking?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.

This post is part of the #YourTurnChallenge #day6 – and it’s my best work today.

Begin again

512px-Sunrise_in_Constanta,Romania

By Moise Nicu (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I like to say: begin again.

When you embrace a beginner’s mind, it is humbling to experience your activities – things you do everyday without thought or question – from where you are. You discover a new aspect, something you haven’t thought of or felt before. Approaching your old project from the beginning might reveal something you hadn’t considered before. A minor adjustment or tweak of a detail can make what you do – what you thought you were so skilled at whatever level – intermediate, advanced, or guru – brand new again. Or perhaps you might be that person who doesn’t feel respected or at a high level. You might be someone who is sick, violent, or addicted. Begin again. It’s a great place to start some new habit or practice and get unstuck.

Pema Chödrön explains it this way:

“What you do for yourself, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.”

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.

This post is part of the #YourTurnChallenge #day5–and it’s my best work today.