in her own words…
“I cancelled so many invitations to speak. I felt sheer panic. I had a fear of being judged…”
I was totally agoraphobic at the age of 19. I couldn’t face anybody, couldn’t work, or go outside my own front door for two years. I was brought up in an environment where I was always being shut down; told it was wrong to express an opinion. I didn’t feel able to be myself.
This was quite detrimental to my coaching business. The desire to speak in front of people was there, the follow-through of that wasn’t. I cancelled so many invitations to speak. I felt sheer panic. I had a fear of being judged, of being vulnerable, a fear of being seen and heard. I’d think ‘nobody wants to hear me, why would anyone want to hear me.’
I would regularly go sick and feel sick. I know now this was my mind’s way of protecting me, keeping me away from any humiliation or judgement, which is something that has now fallen away interestingly enough.
“My heart was pumping like mad, and I was breaking into a sweat. I was worried I was going to burst into tears.”
I, also, found networking really hard. I remember one event years ago. There were about 30 people in the room, and we were asked to introduce ourselves to the group. Of course, they started furthest away from me, so I had all this build up as each person spoke and it got closer to my turn. My heart was pumping like mad, and I was breaking into a sweat. I was worried I was going to burst into tears. This emotion came out of nowhere and that’s what it was like, the mere thought of standing in front of an audience and speaking just meant an overwhelming urge of wanting to run. That’s what it was like, not just mental and emotional but very physical.’
Caroline’s first step was to sign up for a Finding You Voice group coaching course. As part of this 3-half day’s course, Caroline worked in small groups and on her own using tools around breath, projection, pitch and tone. She was supported and encouraged to step outside of her comfort zone, to play and experiment with her own voice and presentation. Caroline gained an understanding of:
• The mechanics of the voice and breath.
• How to manage breath and control nerves.
• How to prepare for speaking to an audience and how to hold attention.
• How to use pitch, tone, pace and pause.
• How to use the different elements of the voice for greater authority,
better engagement and to inspire.
• She was also had the opportunity to practice in front of an audience,
i.e., the rest of the group.
Caroline gained so much from the experience of working with me and the group she decided to develop her performance skills further by signing up to Theatre Works, my acting class, where she honed her performance skills and learnt how to play, improvise, collaborate and experiment.
“I’m enjoying speaking more and the nerves are going and that’s the most remarkable thing. It’s like rediscovering yourself all over again.”
With the Finding Your Voice coaching and the acting classes with you, Jackie, I have finally been given permission to be me, to play and to voice an opinion. I started to express myself without feeling judged.
Very recently, I sat in front of a room of 25 people all asking questions of me. They were staring expectantly as I answered but I wasn’t nervous in the slightest and I thought, my God, what a difference in me.
I’m enjoying speaking more and the nerves are going and that’s the most remarkable thing. It’s like rediscovering yourself all over again.
In fact, I have just done the opening monologue from Romeo and Juliet and I’m playing now without fear of being humiliated or judged. Just talking about being given the permission to play now I feel emotional. It’s like ‘really? Really, I’m allowed to do this without being judged, without being humiliated?’ You can’t underestimate the power of play and the power of fun in building your confidence.
I’ve applied what you’ve taught me to every single area of my life now. In my business, I’m less apprehensive with new clients. I’m much more me, take it or leave it and I’m much more confident in myself.
Plus, I’m much more discerning because I’m stepping into my creative power. This is what these experiences led me too. I’ve grown in so many ways. It’s not just about the voice, it’s about the confidence and speaking, and I have permission to speak.
Last month I stepped outside of my comfort zone and auditioned for a professional part in a commercial. I thought I’m just gonna go for it, that’s the only way I’m going to find out how far I’ve come, and I wasn’t nervous, slightly apprehensive but not nervous. I got the part and went to London for filming. I had my makeup done professionally and I was there amongst the crew, director and clients. There were no nerves showing in my voice. That’s something else I’ve noticed since working with you, there’s been a massive change. The nervousness isn’t there like it used to be in my voice. It doesn’t shake like it used to and there was excitement rather than dread. The more work I’m doing the more I’m wanting to perform and be me and I’m more effective with my clients now.
Working with you has been a part of the process of taking me on a journey to the unfoldment of self, really the unfolding of who I really am. You’ve helped rid me of those self-limitations.
I think that’s a very important part of your work, Jackie. What you are doing is enabling someone to discover who they are and what they are capable of. Your coaching empowers them to do that and you can’t be underestimated.
Life is meant to be fun and it’s within our own realm to be happy.’