I have raved about my speaking coach, Mike Ganino, before. But, last week I attended a 2-day retreat that he hosted here in NYC and… 🤯! 

It was epic on so many levels. Of course, I think he is brilliant. But what was also special were the other attendees and the guest presenters: Marisa Corcoran, Laura Gassner Otting, and Erica Reitman

As I write, it is a week later and I’m still gushing about the time we had. 

Likewise, my awe of Mike’s incredible gift is even more profound. The way in which he helps speakers get comfortable with being uncomfortable, so that they can bring more of themselves to their talks in service of helping their audience get what THEY want –  is unmatched! 

I see this in action during our weekly office hours. And I saw it at the retreat. As he coached and directed the other speakers, it was magical to notice the difference in how I experienced their “bits” before he gave them feedback, and then after they incorporated the tweaks he suggested they make. Tweaks that were small, subtle, and always just right. 

And, I had several magical moments of my own. 

Magical Moment #1 – It (Finally) Clicked!

In one instance, I literally felt a shift in my body as I practiced an opening he’s been suggesting for almost as long as I’ve been working with him. 

Isn’t it amazing how you can hear something over and over again, and then voilà…it clicks?! And by “it clicks,” I mean you unquestionably “get it” because you feel it deep in your bones.

When I had that moment, I was reminded of the power of repetition

I realize I may not have a traditional take on this, but I think great coaches and public speakers are fundamentally “teachers.” 

Mainly because the focus of their work centers the needs and wants of the learner – aka the coachee or audience participant. 

Therefore, as a coach and speaker (aka a “teacher”), I know the importance of needing to hear or encounter the same information multiple times. There’s even a name for this natural part of the learning process: It’s called the repetition effect.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised, and yet I was, when something I’ve been hearing Mike tell me for almost two years finally “clicked.” It was a delicious moment; one that got my creative juices flowing. 

I immediately thought of a new story as the opening for one of my signature talks. I started thinking about my current messaging and what changes I could make to how I talk about my work on my website, on social media, and even here on your screen. 

That initial excitement, though, was soon overshadowed by a question: “Gosh, why did it take so long for me to finally get it?!” 

Which was then followed by wondering what has not “getting it” sooner cost me in terms of time and delayed progress, lost opportunities, and possibly missed connections? 

Of course, I’ll never know. But, also, dwelling on that is not what is most useful.

Showing up and putting myself in spaces where I can work on improving my craft, though, is. 

Magical Moment #2 – It’s Possible

When you hear someone share the journey of how they got to where they are today, how do you listen? 

How do you take in the highs and lows you are privileged to hear directly from them about their experiences and routes to success? 

I was in a room with some incredibly accomplished people and had several “pinch me” moments. Not in a self-deprecating, “I don’t deserve to be here,” kind of way. 

Rather, I was spellbound by the breadth of expertise and experience represented by my fellow speakers at the table, and by our guest presenters. Learning something from them all.

On that front, while each of the guest presenters dropped incredible jewels, one, in particular, really had me captivated. In part because she’s having the type of success I want for myself and my business.

She regularly appears on a national tv show, a show I’ve been on once. She gets paid $30,000 for her speaking gigs; my fireside chats start at $12,500 and workshops start at $15,000.

As she talked about the highs and lows she encountered, the lessons she learned, and what she’s doing to take things up a notch, I was feeling all the things. 

I felt pure admiration and inspiration for what she has accomplished. And for how she is strategically laying the groundwork for her future success. 

Listening to her was like looking in a mirror and having it reflect back what’s possible for me and my business. #whatagift

However, hearing her story also poked at my self-doubt and self-criticism. I even had a moment of feeling like, “Wow, I am playing way too small and doing things wrong.” 

Thankfully, I snapped out of it and didn’t stay in this state of mind for long. Because that would have been unfair to both of us. 

Like the other presenters, she came to share her story in support of our respective journeys to advance our public speaking careers. 

And, I doubt she was looking to be idolized for her abilities, accomplishments, and success. 

Besides, to idolize her, her achievements, and her success would make it seem like she is a superhero and that what she’s done cannot be done by others. And that simply is just not true. 

Sure, it won’t be done like her for a whole host of reasons. But, it can be done. 

Plus, idolizing her (rather than being inspired by her) overlooks the choices and tradeoffs she had to make that you and I will never know about.

Magical Moment #3 – It’s Universal

The folks attending the retreat represented different professions and different industries. For some, public speaking was their business; for others, like me, it is one of the hats we wear. 

The time I spent in that room confirmed something I have long felt to be true – regardless of our varying professions or industries. It happens to also be true even if you aren’t a public speaker. Because, whatever it is you do, you have to sell your ideas.

So, this is what I believe: 

Doing what you do well and with intention requires you to go on a personal development journey. 

A journey that often asks you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

By doing so, you can:

Show up and do the necessary inner work to improve your craft. 

Or, how you run your business. 

Or, manage your career.

Or, how you relate to money. 

Or, how you wish to be in the relationships that are important to you. 

Embedded in your personal development journey are the lessons meant for you, but that don’t only benefit you.   

This is precisely why you and I shouldn’t compare our journeys to that of others. 

This is also why you and I need to hear other people’s stories and share our own – the good, the bad, the ugly. 

It’s an exchange that honors everyone’s respective abilities, qualities, achievements, and success. And this is something from which we can all benefit. 

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