How to Ditch Shame and Speak Up

KC Baker had the "perfect" life but was miserable. She shares how she overcame fear to find her own authentic voice, and how she helps other women find theirs. By KC Baker (Founder, KC Baker)

Ten years ago I was on track for a “perfect” life. I had a killer resume: US Senate legislative assistant, investment banker, Ivy League grad. Lots of money; great clothes. But I was miserable, anxious, and felt totally trapped.

I left it all and took off with a backpack and a one-way ticket to Asia. During my travels, the voice that I can only describe now as “mine” began to emerge, and I had this sense that something truly extraordinary was in store for me.

I had a deep longing to get out there, to serve and contribute. I wanted to inspire people, to be seen and celebrated for my creativity and insights. However, I was totally unclear what my message was. I was hidden in shame and fear of being rejected by people. So I walked around with this big desire to make a difference and let my beauty and brilliance out, but kept it deep inside. I let it out in tidbits, through art or small pieces of writing, but it felt like a fog of longing and suffering inside prevented any forward motion on getting my work out into the world.

This is what we do as women: We have vision and longing to contribute to the world, fully and authentically, but fear and confusion hold us back.

  • We feel we somehow aren’t good enough to share what we have to say, or that someone else is doing it better than we could, so why bother?
  • We may be making money, but our messaging feels sloppy and unclear, so we’re not becoming known for what we stand for.
  • We fear that our tribe – our family, our friends, the people we long to serve, and those we respect and admire – will reject us and think we sound stupid.
  • We feel nervous that we’ll come across as “too much,” or “too intense” due to the fact that we will be showing up in ways that people in our lives have never seen or experienced from us before.
  • We feel jealous and envious of other women who are really rockin’ it out there with a clear message - making an impact, speaking on stage, and creating a loyal tribe.
  • We feel we aren’t doing enough compared to them, and we even feel guilty for our jealousy.

…and all of that leads us down a deep rabbit hole of fear of not being able to make the impact we want to make, in both our lives and in the world.

So we wait, and hope, and pray.

Getting Clear

After years of drifting, the moment came when the fear and self-doubt could no longer hold a candle to the intensity of my desire to serve and shine.

I got totally clear on my message, what I stand for irrevocably and utterly during my lifetime: “I believe that our highest leverage point for creating true, positive transformation in our world lies in supporting women in unleashing the brilliance of their voices.”

Own It

And then, once I got clear, I made the commitment to own it, to put it out into the world, and to serve in this capacity. And it wasn’t just any ol' commitment. I had a ceremony overlooking the San Francisco Bay, and I even had a small diamond ring that I wear on my finger to this day to serve as a reminder of my commitment to this world, and to stay in service, even when self doubt or fear arise.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was stepping into true thought leadership, and by doing that, I was helping to pave the path for all the women I would come to serve.

Suddenly, in the face of this incredible clarity and commitment, life began to reorganize itself. Work began to appear that was in alignment with my message. I began to support women in writing their talks and in public speaking. Opportunities arrived naturally. Doors opened.

I was soon supporting TED and TEDx speakers; Microsoft wanted me to come and speak for them; I spoke at two TEDx events; I traveled to the Middle East to support women over there in speaking up – a dream I had held for a long time; and I put on three rockin', sold out School for the Well Spoken Woman LIVE events.

Not Just Work

But my work wasn’t the only thing that shifted.

When I got clear on my message and my commitment to it, the man who is absolutely uniquely designed to be not only my life and love partner, but also my partner in helping me birth and live out my mission, came into my life.

The community of women who I am designed to co-create with came in, and they are the most fulfilling, beautiful and fun relationships with women I’ve ever had. Where I had struggled for years with my body and my skin, I felt more beautiful and free to shine, to be heard and seen. I was finally giving fully in the ways I had longed to, and I made multiple six figures in just a year and a half into my business.

The level of deep soul fulfillment I feel in my life, knowing that I am out there giving it my all, is an experience that is impossible to describe, but one I want every woman to have. It is truly divine.

This is what I want for you.

  • I want you to be clear: clear on what you stand for, and what you know to be true.
  • I want everyone in the world that you encounter to know what you stand for: so that the very sight of you, the very mention of your name conjures the transformational ideas and inspiration that you stand for.
  • I want you to be free: free to say what you must, give all that you can, and go to sleep every night content in your heart that you are doing the work and giving the art that you feel so deeply called to contribute in your lifetime.

I have created a free training video series called The 5 Keys to Women’s Thought Leadership that takes you through the process of getting totally clear on what you stand for, finding the freedom from self doubt and fear to share it, and becoming known for your ideas.

It’s filled with my unorthodox yet highly effective guidance, and it will support you in stepping into thought leadership and contributing greatly to this world through the brilliance of your voice.

About the guest blogger: KC Baker is an international public speaking trainer, speechwriter, and two-time TEDx speaker who has clients such as Microsoft, Forbes, BMW, and McKinsey & Co. Her unorthodox and effective teachings and her gift for drawing out and structuring women’s wisdom into speeches, have caused her to become a coveted trainer and co-speech writer who supports women in finding the freedom to stand up and speak boldly from the heart. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaker007.

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