This past weekend, I attended a life-changing workshop called Rock The Stage. I had to face my greatest fear of public speaking and show up as my authentic self to share my personal story. Here is my speech…
“The success of your life is due to the quality of your relationships. The quality of your relationships is a product of your communication. Here’s what I notice in communication, people in conversation are breaking rapport all the time in unconscious ways. In a world where we are highly technologically connected, it is harder than ever before to communicate effectively.
How many times have you been offended after reading a text? After reading a text you think, what an Asshole! Why? Because they left off what, an emoticon? I want you to think about that from a communication standpoint. Text, the language we use is only a portion of the communication quality. Vocal tonality tells you everything about a person’s intentions, motivation, and emotions. That’s why they put emoticons there because we actually communicate in multiple dimensions.
I grew up in a family of 6 kids to a drug addicted, single mother on welfare. Being noticed for my unique qualities was not even in the equation. To further my confusion about where I fit in the world, I was kicked out of my home and placed into the foster care system only 2 weeks after my 13th Birthday. Imagine that, the awkward time of puberty and trying to figure out who I was, was now having to be discovered while trying to survive in foster care. Talk about overwhelming circumstances! Here I was, a 13-year-old little girl, feeling alone, rejected, abandoned, and utterly terrified.
After being bounced around from receiving home to receiving home, these are temporary placements where we foster kids wait and hope to be chosen for a place to call home. That day rarely comes for teenagers because of course, most people want younger, cuter, less “damaged” kids. So after constantly getting my hopes up only to feel overlooked and rejected time and time again, I decided to move out on my own at 16 years young. It was sink or swim time. Sadly, my 2 brothers never made it and they committed suicide only a year apart from each other, 5 years ago.
Now I’m not sharing this with you for you to feel sorry for me, I share this to let you know my very real experience of relationships. Using organically learned communication techniques, I was not only able to break the cycle of abuse, poverty, and self-harm, but I’ve created a life of tremendous prosperity! I own my own home, I’ve been married for 10 years, I’m a loving and very engaged mother to 2 beautiful, young daughters who are blessed enough to attend one of the best private schools in Vancouver. I’ve owned my own fitness company and gym, I’ve moved to San Francisco to help build and run a start-up, and in my spare time, I became a Yoga Therapist.
Again, I’m not trying to impress you, I’m trying to reveal the power of learning effective communication. Learning to master your presence and how you project yourself to the world, makes all the difference to your success.
I leave you with this quote from Viktor E. Frankl from “Mans Search For Meaning”…
Everything you have in life can be taken from you except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. This is what determines the quality of life we’ve lived. Not whether we’ve been rich or poor, famous or unknown, healthy or suffering. What determines our quality of life is how we relate to these realities, what kind of meaning we assign them, and what kind of attitude we cling to about them. What state of mind we allow them to trigger.”