Author: Heather Lowey
HOW ON EARTH DID I GET HERE?
“I see you striving so hard to be one in a million that you forget you already are.”
Alex kicked us off by sharing a bit of her journey. After a 17-year career as a speech pathologist in a hospital, she was ready for something more. The result of much research and contemplation led her to becoming a corporate speech pathologist. In other words, working with a company’s employees on speaking, confidence, and presentation skills.
While fulfilling on some level, she continued to be frustrated around the feeling of the corporate environment needing to BE a “certain way.”
Even so, owning her own business seemed next to impossible. “No way I will ever own my own business!” But then she was introduced to the book, Business Boutique by Christy Wright and but she still wasn’t quite convinced. It took a more direct push from the universe to get her started when she was presenting to a church group in Greenfield. After the event, a woman approached and wanted to hire her. A lot of what Alex talked about resonated with this woman in an impactful way and this woman felt that Alex could help. So it was then, and only then, that Alex decided to give this business idea and entrepreneurship a try. Practically Speaking was born. She and her husband said they would give it two months and see where things were. (Everyone in attendance for LIW, including Alex, laughed at the two-month timetable for a new business!)
WHAT IT TAKES TO SHOW UP WITH CONFIDENCE IN A WORLD OF “SHOULDS”
“If it’s lonely at the top, it’s not where I want to be.”
Alex started with a business name, a five-dollar Fiverr business card and the willingness to try. The road hasn’t been easy, but it’s one that for her, has been worth the ride and her book encourages other to show up with confidence. Alex says, confidence is not saying you can’t or won’t be nervous, but you go forward with your message anyway. Additionally, so often we feel inspired by someone’s message but then feel we have to do EVERYTHING they are doing. Not the case. Life is about taking pieces you learn and making them your own.
Alex’s suggestion to all of us? Show up with confidence. Confidence is not saying you can’t or won’t be nervous, but you go forward with your message anyway. Additionally, so often we feel inspired by someone’s message but then feel we have to do EVERYTHING they are doing. Not the case. Life is about taking pieces you learn and making them your own.
She next took us through two of her five road rules from her newly launched book, Minivan Mogul.
#1 WHEN IN DOUBT, STEER TOWARDS CONFIDENCE
We all have a choice. We can choose to be confident, or we can choose to let fear overtake us.
We can choose to be insecure. Having the “I’m not up to snuff” thoughts. Or, we can choose confidence even when we are nervous.
So often, especially as women, we can be overcome with the feeling of not being enough. We may steer clear of speaking up or having an opinion differing from those around us because we don’t want to be viewed as different or the squeaky wheel.
Alex is very clear in the messaging that YOU hold the power to be able to steer wherever you want. YOU have the choice to decide if you listen to the head trash and insecurity, or if you choose confidence.
#2 NO MATTER HOW ROUGH THE ROAD GETS, JUST KEEP GOING
Alex equates life to a roller coaster. There is the excitement and nervousness of the climb to the top. Then the panic and insecurity, but also sometimes joy in the rush of the rapid decline down. But just like when you are strapped into the seat of a roller coaster and must keep going, we must also do this in life. Continue on and surround yourself with supportive people who are also willing to challenge you. Fortunately, she has her family and an amazing network of friends on this ride with her.
“Confidence is the continued reward for those who don’t quit.”
Alex then shared the story of her friend Annie from Crossfit. Annie had six weeks to train for a half marathon. She had set a goal to do the half marathon before her husband’s return from deployment. Alex, who is always ready for a challenge, was ALL IN to complete the training and help prep Annie for the race.
Some people have a fear of success which stops them from creating the momentum to even take the first step. Confidence is gained from the success of when you want to quit, but you keep going anyway. This was the case with Annie as she got to race day. Knowing there were many times during her training runs she wanted to quit but was able to persevere, in turn gave her the confidence to continue forward even when she was tired.
Alex’s mantra began as “I am okay.” The meaning behind it being a reminder to herself that she is safe. Nothing she was attempting through the entrepreneurial journey was life threatening. Any nerves around it were in response to growing up in a world of “shoulds.” Her stretching the muscle of growing confidence in herself. “I am okay,” supported her to remember she was in control and safe.
However, over the years her mantra has shifted to “I am effusive.” The definition of effusive is expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner. Ironically, Alex was once told in a corporate environment to be less effusive. She assumed it was a bad thing and for a couple of years worked to mask this show of emotion. However, once she looked up the definition and realized it was actually who she wanted to be, it shifted from regret and restraint to her own personal mantra.
Humans inspire her. If fact, her favorite spot is on the front row cheering them on. “I’m delightfully awkward, it works.”
Alex’s advice for when we get stuck is to just try something. Just start. It’s okay to do it afraid and learn as you go, but confidence comes as you continue to move forward.
Her two pieces of advice for young women are to create the ability to speak their minds and support other women. Throughout history, linguists study women to understand language trends. Women shape language. We have the power to teach not only babies how to speak, but also be the positive voices in other’s heads. Pouring positivity and support into each other is worth it.