Hidden Fears and What to do About Them with Linda Ugelow

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ABOUT THE EPISODE

Sharing your story and yourself with others can be terrifying at times. And I’m not just talking on stage. I can’t tell you how many times people come to me saying, “I feel like I lost my voice in the relationship.” Being under the spotlight whether it’s on stage or in a 1:1 conversation, can lead to full-blown panic. I’m talking you’re supposed to be flying to Italy tomorrow and you just realized your passport is expired levels of panic. 

It’s not just nerves that hold us back though (I wish it were that simple), there are sneaky fears, memories, and beliefs operating under the surface that influence our confidence in sharing more of ourselves. Linda Ugelow joins me this week for a conversation around what keeps our voices trapped and how to set them free.

If you listen for no other reason, tune in to hear the embarassing story of how I ran out of a talent show mid-performance in 5th grade.

ABOUT LINDA 

Linda Ugelow is a speaking confidence coach and movement specialist with an uncommon approach to overcoming the fear of speaking. Formerly stricken with public speaking fear herself, she now helps entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporate leaders to transform their experience of speaking from dread to delight wherever they speak: online or on stage, in the media or the meeting room. She is the author of the book, Delight In The Limelight: Overcome Your Fear of Being Seen and Realize Your Dreams.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, Hello. And welcome back to another episode of Make It Mentionable. I’m your host, Alyssa Patmos. And today I am here with Linda Ugelow. Who is, who has this unique skill of helping people get over their fear of speaking, which we’ve all seen, who’s the one that makes the joke around people having the fear of public speaking?

Linda Ugelow 1:14
Seinfeld, Seinfeld. Yeah, I’d rather be in the casket than say the eulogy.

Alyssa Patmos 1:18
Yes, so so we know this is a common fear that permeates the world. But I think it comes out in even more nuanced ways where we get scared of showing up, or sometimes we get scared of just sharing our opinion in a smaller group of friends. And so it’s not just speaking on stages, but being more of ourselves around other people, which is always what my work centers around. And it’s Linda has a specialty in helping people become more comfortable being seen and having their voices be heard. And so I wanted to bring Linda on. So we could have a conversation about all the ways that this fear runs into the surface, and what on earth we can do about it. So Linda, thank you so much for being here.

Linda Ugelow 2:06
I’m really happy to have this conversation with you today.

Alyssa Patmos 2:09
So I gave people a little bit of background, but obviously not very much. And I I tend to think reading BIOS is boring. And I like to hear it straight from the source. So to fill people in a little bit on who you are. What what do they need to know? what lights you up?

Linda Ugelow 2:27
Yeah, so right now I find myself as a speaking confidence coach or speaking empowerment coach, and I’m author of the book delight in the limelight, which details the process that you can go through to go from a place of anxiety or nervousness about putting yourself out there or sharing your ideas, or speaking anywhere, really, whether it’s online or in person and get to a place where you can feel like it’s one of your Happy Places where you do delight in the limelight. And –

Alyssa Patmos 2:57
So –

Linda Ugelow 2:57
So this was, yeah, go on.

Alyssa Patmos 3:00
No, no, go ahead. It’s all good.

Linda Ugelow 3:03
I was wanting to share that. This comes about not from a natural talent that I have. But more from my own journey of feeling very inhibited. Very shy and remorseful about almost any time I spoke, you know, those conversations where you think, Oh, I wish I had said that, or I shouldn’t have said that or, and you, you know, carry on inside me for days. So that was kind of where I was coming from. And I was a I was a dancer, I think because I was comfortable expressing myself in movement, but not in words. And even though I’ve been a stage performer, I was part of a Women’s World Music Group for 40 years. If you asked me to introduce a song, it was like the worst part of the job I just did not want I mean, just saying the name of a song was too much public speaking for me. And it wasn’t until I became an online entrepreneur, and needed to create more visibility for the work that I did that I realized that I had this problem. I mean, no, let me let me step back because I knew it was a problem. But I always thought I could just push through it. Or at least in more recent history, I got to a place where I felt like I can just push through this. And if you look up online, how to get over the fear of speaking, you’ll see all the mean so feel the fear and do it anyway. Ignore it, don’t let it hold you back. The magic happens outside of the comfort zone and all these things. So I swallowed the pill. And I figured okay, I’m just going to show up and I’ll manage the fear because fear comes with the territory right? You know, everybody has it or most everybody has it and you just learned to manage it or you take some drugs or whatever. And being a I’m a movement specialist, as you know as a dancer and I also have a master’s degree in Express have arts therapies in movements studies. And movement therapy was always my jam. But I left that some time ago. That being said, I have all these tools of managing my energy. So when when the Periscope app came out, which was the first live streaming app, I jumped on to be an early adopter. And I figured this is terrifying, but big deal, I will do what I have to do to get myself ready to go. And so I’d spend about, I don’t know, 3045 minutes, like meditating and jumping jacks and power poses and affirmations and all these things to get me in the right headspace to go on for five or 10 minutes. And I thought, Okay, after some period of time, I’ll get to a place of comfort and ease. Well, after 10 weeks of going on, every single day, I was daily broads, broadcasting, I realize, Oh, my God, my, I’m still anxious. I’m able to manage it. But my gosh, I’m having to manage it every single day. And it wasn’t changing, I didn’t feel like I significantly significantly got more confident. And that’s when I realized that was back in 2015. That’s when I realized, you know, what, I am showing up, but I don’t like the way this feels. And I just want to get rid of it. So I figured out a way to get rid of it.

Alyssa Patmos 6:34
I love what you’re talking about here because and so much of your work is is about getting to the root cause and and I love finding people who are interested in the root cause because so often we operate at the surface. And for me the root causes is, it can be something so small that we just interpreted in a way that we didn’t even realize we made it mean this mountain, and then we just accumulated a bunch of beliefs about that afterwards. And now it feels like this thing that we just have to climb over and over and over again. And and that’s how some of those messages that you were saying, you know, like the just do it and the and the, you know, take a shot like you hear that one a lot before speaking to, it’s how those things come in. And it just becomes like, we’re going to manage the symptoms, like very similar to health care and a lot of ways like we’re just gonna go and manage the symptoms. But but that’s not addressing what is going on internally for us.

Linda Ugelow 7:40
Yeah. So so, when –

Alyssa Patmos 7:43
And I love that you tailor it –

Linda Ugelow 7:45
Well, I truthfully, to be totally honest, I had no idea that I needed to get to the root cause it as I said, I, I just swallowed the pill of what I saw on online being talked about. But when I got to that day, I decided to take a step back, and I made a list of all the modalities and practices I knew to to address this problem. And I, you know, looked at my list, and I thought where to start and I picked out this one thing called focusing, which is where you feel inside your body for where something lives. And then you ask it, what is it trying to say? So I felt in my body, this fear of, you know, speaking up, and I asked myself, if this fear could speak, what would it say? And what came back to me immediately was I’m going to be attacked. Wow, is this like saber tooth tiger cellular memory kind of a thing on the savanna? Or is it my personal history? And as soon as I asked myself that question, a memory popped in my head of my two older sisters attacking me. Every time my mom put me in the center of attention. She would say why can’t you girl speak we’re like Linda, because I was a goody, goody. I put my clothes away whenever she asked me to and everybody else was a slob. But whenever she lifted me up on the pedestal, my sisters got really pissed off, understandably. And as soon as mom left the scene, they would attack me, and they’d call me stupid and tell me to shut up, they kicked my shins or put me on the floor, tickling me to like cry these kinds of things and, and it it kind of bled over to other parts of our relationship in the house. Like if I, if I started to sing along with a record, they’d say, shut up stupid. So it was always this feeling of inhibition that I wasn’t allowed or I wouldn’t be loved. I was in no one to hear me. No one wanted to hear my voice and also the idea that if I’m in the center of attention, I’m going to be attacked. And then I just had this I don’t like to say epiphany. because it just made so much sense. It was like, of course, I feel this way that I don’t want to be the center of attention. It feels dangerous to me because that memory moved on in my body. And then it everything kind of fell into place. It’s like, oh, what else is there? What other root causes what other comments little or big were made to me or what kind of abuses might I have suffered being bullied or rejected or, or hurt in some way that made it seem unsafe to be seen and heard. Once I knew I had all I had something to clean up, I actually had the tools to do it with I just didn’t know, all these times I had the tools, but I didn’t know I had those things that I had to address. So it’s almost like in plain sight of me all the time, the solutions, but I just didn’t realize that there were these deeper issues playing around somewhere in my psyche. And you know, once. I mean, this is the amazing thing, once I realized I had these things, and I did apply myself pretty intensively after I realized this, but my racing heart was gone in a week. I’ve never really had that level of anxiety again, since 2015.

Alyssa Patmos 11:23
Yeah, I find in similar things, because again, getting to the root work is is critical, whether you’re talking about speaking, or whether you’re talking about conflict in relationships, or, or being seen, or, or why you’re going to the fridge constantly like getting to the root for any of that it’s the sneaky tiny little beliefs that that we we can’t always see for ourselves. And then once we see them, all of a sudden, like the power can loosen. And then like you said, we can apply other tools that help us break it free even more. They think so many times we have this belief that it has to be this really long arduous process to heal something. And it doesn’t it doesn’t always I, my my story around why I got hindered in showing up at times was because when I was in fifth grade, I was doing a talent show with a friend. And I love to dance at the time, we were supposed to be doing a dance in the school talent show. And she was sick. And so she didn’t show up. And I then had this whole dance planned out with her. And I still, I’m proud of myself because I made the decision to do it anyway. But halfway through, I’m like dancing, and I forget everything, forget every movement. And I make it up for a while. But the 10 seconds where I was starting to make it up felt like an eternity. And eventually I gave out and I ran Linda, I ran out of the gymnasium of the school, to the playground, in the middle of the dance. And so then I had beliefs around that. And it didn’t feel it didn’t feel safe. And one time I was joking around singing with a friend on the phone. And she told me I sucked. And I was like what the heck. And so it’s these moments similarly for me, where, where we make them mean other things, or it threatens our safety. Like No wonder no wonder it didn’t feel safe at times for me to be seen. Because I ran out of the talent show. And I’ve had direct feedback on who knows what mood she was in. And, and it it builds up. And so we have, we have the power though, to rewrite some of that and to take back what we do with those scenarios. And so for you, you got to a place where your heart wasn’t racing, and you’re not having to spend 45 minutes preparing to do a live and how how does the process go? When you start to see when you start to see one of these beliefs popping up? What is aside from like, Is it is it always the talking to it and identifying it in your body? Or now that you have more experience with this and with your process? What else does it look like?

Linda Ugelow 14:35
A lot of times I begin with clients to identify from that place like what is going on your in your mind. What are what are your concerns? What are you worried about? And I like doing that because if someone says I’m afraid of being judged, or I’m afraid I’m gonna look stupid or I’m afraid that I’m going to go blank, you know, freeze, then it’s almost like following a thread back then we can ask, well, where in your life? Did you have that experience earlier on? Who did you feel judged by? Where did you were? Were you made to feel stupid? And almost always, it’s like, oh, well, that time in third grade when Mr. McCulloch, you know, asked me this question, and I had no idea what it was. And everybody kind of turned and laughed or something. It could, you know, it’s oftentimes not even what happens to you, but what you see happen to others, and you make a decision, I’m not going to be in that position, that’s not ever going to happen to me. So we can we can feel traumatized by things that we witness as, as much as things that we have experienced personally. Yeah.

Alyssa Patmos 15:57
I think that’s a super important point. And I And if you’re willing, I’d like to talk about that in the context of canceled culture. Because what we’re seeing now is, in many ways, if you are on the fringe of something, or if people don’t agree with you, then there’s a chance of getting canceled. And when that’s baked into the culture that can be perceived as a threat of, oh, if I use my voice, my entire sense of belonging might be taken away, especially if if ounces of our worth are wrapped up in how we’re perceived by other people. So what do you notice from a speaking perspective, around cancel culture?

Linda Ugelow 16:05
Cancel culture is one of those environments that really is not safe. It’s not a it’s not a safe speaking environment. And that, however, the the same truths are experienced do prevail, that first of all, not everyone’s going to agree with you, everybody is coming from their own place, they’re doing the best they can. And they’re, they may be in a place of fear themselves. And certainly, if they’re in a majority, and part of the the common narrative, then people who are in the minority are going to be canceled. It’s unfortunate. And I think it’s contrary to what we need in order to feel safe to speak. But that given being said, there are still safe places to speak, you know, there are still people who will resonate with what you have to say, it may be that you have to look a little further to find the people that are willing to listen to you. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with you, but they are open to you on a heart level, they may be family or friends that are open to and interested in curious about where you’re coming from. And I think that it, it makes, it asks us to step up in our lives a little bit more conscientiously, and how we share our truths. So I think that nobody can argue with your own experience. And if you come from that experience, that’s, it’s your experience. So I think that is something that you probably speak about in relationships also. Right?

Alyssa Patmos 18:38
Yes, definitely.

Linda Ugelow 18:39
So how would you how would you make the connection there?

Alyssa Patmos 18:43
So for me, if you Yeah, it’s almost like articulating your feelings. It’s like, people can’t argue with how you feel. It’s how you feel. And it’s okay. And like, we can’t always control that the feeling comes up and then there are ways to defuse it, there are ways to work through it. But someone can argue with the SEC fat with the fact if if I say I feel sad right now, but that the way that you talked about I love that I call it claiming my experience that was something that I had to work on, very conscientiously was what is the experience I can claim? And what are the stories that that I can share? Because I agree with you like that is that’s the piece then where, where we’re sharing it from a place of story, and from a place of this is what I encountered and this is what it meant for me. And I think, at its root story is what is most human things. We’ve had paintings on cave walls depicting stories for ancient history. And so when we go back to that place, I think it I think it softens some, and I encourage the same thing in relationships when you can say it from the personal of what you’re witnessing what you’re feeling what you’re experiencing it diffuses conflict much easier. Yeah.

Linda Ugelow 20:08
And, and of course, we are able to do that more easily when we aren’t being triggered. So the work that I do, I see fear as not a random emotion without a cause. But it’s a trigger that points to these past experiences and messages that we received, that led us to conclude that it wasn’t safe in some way to seen or outshine others, or to show up or express ourselves the way we do. So we definitely have work to do to separate ourselves from other people’s view of us, and separate ourselves from looking or needing or depending on other people’s approval, and validation for who we are. But that does take that, you know, that’s the work to get to that place. But once we’re there, what’s nice is that we can, we can see people more clearly for who they are, and understanding that everybody is where they are for a reason. And if you feel like you’re coming up against somebody, in some kind of a class or, or an a group of people or an entity or whatever, that you find a way to kind of flow around them. Because we are in this kind of flow of life, we are always evolving. And if we look at everything that comes up as well, things happen, things get said, but that doesn’t mean anything necessarily about me unless I choose it to be. And of course, you know, we want to consider what others say in terms of, you know, does this resonate, but we all we need to filter, we need to learn. Even when people have our best interest in mind, we need to filter it right. And certainly if people have our worst interests in mind, we definitely need to filter those things. Yeah.

Alyssa Patmos 22:05
So one of the other things that I hear and I’m sure you hear it as well is, well, my voice doesn’t matter. Is that one that comes up with your clients?

Linda Ugelow 22:17
For sure. And I think that that often goes back to those feelings of well, when did you feel like your voice didn’t matter? Who wasn’t listening to you that you really wanted to listen to you? Was it your father? Was it your sibling? Was it were friends? You know, did you I from my clients, I’ve heard so many different stories of really horrific kinds of abuse, where one client was actually looking for the neighborhood kits. And they were hiding in a shed and they came out with rocks, and they threw them at her. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. So understandably, she got the feeling that people don’t like her don’t want her around, are going to be mean in attacking and she was terrified. She was terrified. Now, I’m happy to say that she’s like the regional director of the local Toastmasters in her area, which is really, really cool. But when she first started out in Toastmasters, they told her she looked like a deer in the headlights will, understandably, if that happened to you. And of course, as you said, it’s rarely just one experience. It’s you know, an accumulation of experiences that come together and create this block this big kind of monolith of fear, or anxiety. It doesn’t have to be big. But it can also, as I say, it doesn’t have to be big. It can be small, like I had a client who, at school, there were there was a table girls having lunch and MTC and she was going to sit down there and they said, no, no, no, we’re saving this for somebody. So she went off and ate by herself. And notice that nobody ever sat in that chair. Same thing. You know, the same kind of response of nobody. People don’t want to hear from me. Now she also that was connected also that in her family at dinner time. Back in the day when sales calls were made at dinner time to your landline, people remember landlines, and in her family that was the most disgusting rudest thing that anyone could do. So here she was in sales, terrified of making phone calls. Because not only did she have this experience in the lunchroom, but she also had this as I said, it didn’t happen to her but she heard it spoken to other people. If you do this, you are rude. You’re despicable.

Alyssa Patmos 24:55
Yeah, and it’s and then and then all of a sudden you’re in sales. So how how how Do you go out and do your job then and right? And it’s re wiring these things. And same can happen for people who are writers. I was I was accused of plagiarism in college, I didn’t plagiarize, someone copied my homework. And I didn’t know that. And they turned in the same paper, like, I think it was, I know exactly who it was, it was my ex, it was my boyfriend at the time. roommate, and I had let him in on my notes I had let him I think I’d probably even let him read my paper trusting that like, okay, use this as inspiration. Like if you need to think about something, go do it. And he copied the whole thing, turned it in Word for word, I didn’t know this. And then all of a sudden, I have the teacher. And I was like a plus student, like good girl in school, all of a sudden, I have the teacher like writing me up for plagiarism, which was horrible for me. And so when I, when I started writing more, I was so overly conscientious about people not thinking that I was plagiarizing or taking something from somewhere else. And that was actually realizing this was was what happened to me the first day of the NLP training that I went to, and it’s why I got so into it. Because when you realize that these events kind of they function almost like a like a beaded bracelet, where you have all of these events that build up over time. And if you can go to like the first bead and undo the knot, the rest can fall off. You don’t have to address them individually, when you can realize, wait, that was the first time this happened. And everything after that was based on that fear. Yes. And life opens up so much more than

Linda Ugelow 27:01
Yes, I have found the exact same thing that often times, if we can go back and resolve that first experience, the others take care of themselves.

Alyssa Patmos 27:12
And and oh, go ahead. All right. So my question here then is we have these common beliefs that come up, you know, the people don’t want to hear from me, or my voice doesn’t matter, or it doesn’t feel feel safe. So then though, once we once we sort of reflect, and we get get rid of or minimize the impact of some of these root cause events that we’ve been talking about, there’s still a process of having to retrain our brains in the safety of a new way. So how do you help people with that? or what have you noticed from your own experience about? Okay, I realized, Wait, my heart isn’t racing. So then how was it easier to proceed? What what is that rewiring process like?

Linda Ugelow 28:08
Yes, in my in my book to light in the limelight, I have the inner freedom framework with the first step is to reveal and heal. So we didn’t really talk about modalities, but we could. And the second one is to restore a sense of safety, which we kind of touched on in terms of the canceled culture, but mostly what we want to do is ensure that we are not perpetuating abuse within ourselves, by the way we are speaking with ourselves, and to learn how to maximize and actually create safe spaces ourselves by understanding what we all need and what we’re seeking in terms of feeling comfortable and relaxed around others to speak, which is knowing minimizing the sense of judgment. So we need to minimize our own self judgment. And also help others to feel less judged because as others feel less judged, they won’t be coming from a place of fear either. And everybody starts to relax, and, and open up. So I think that we can play a part in creating our own safe environments by by providing it for other people. And then the third step is just what you’re talking about now which is repatterning your habits to build your confidence so I look at that as rebuilding the way we think the way we feel experience in our bodies including the way we use our voices and, and kind of an emotional, emotional switches so so let’s say you are in the habit of being really tight, let’s say in your voice that when you get nervous, your voice constraint Rex and you’re you speak faster, your voice gets really high, or maybe it gets really tight like this and really scratchy and you don’t know what to do with it just as tight, you don’t know how to let go. So those are the kinds of things that we need to repattern. So that our bodies reflect the place where we want to feel when we speak, which is more relaxed or energized, or, or playful and loose. So I mean, whatever it is that you’re looking for, you want to pattern that into your body in a new way that hadn’t been before. The same thing with our voice, we want our voices to, to feel like they are coming from our being not just something that’s floating in the air directly from the brain, and you know, in some kind of monotone, but it actually is our vehicle to express what we mean. So we people understand what we are trying to say. So there are so many ways that we can enjoy the sound of our voice that we have. So forgotten, since we were kids, learning how to speak. And we are, it’s amazing the complexity that we do, every time we open our mouth to speak, I mean, our mouth or lips, our tongue, or teeth, or throw everything is working together to create the sounds that translate into meaning it’s really quite astonishing. And when you can allow yourself to reconnect with your actual vocal production, it brings you much more centered into your body. And, and make speaking like that level up more fun to do. You know, like, we open our mouth, and it’s this vibration. And that is, you know, we don’t pay attention to that incredible thing that we’re doing to ourselves by vibrating our vocal cords.

Alyssa Patmos 31:56
I love that because so much of what you said, correlates to relationships, too. And this is why I love having this show. Because wherever someone feel finds, and in, then it’s like, okay, things can expand, their awareness can expand there. And if it feels easier to tackle speaking, rather than your relationship with yourself, or your relationship in general right now, then that’s great. Like, there are so many vehicles and doors to get the wisdom across. And I think ultimately, what what we’re both getting back to is this integration of, you know, our minds, and our bodies, and they are meant to operate together. But fear and other triggers, painful experiences, you know, it causes that severing at times, and then we become detached. And so in conflict, then what we have is someone who is tightening up in their body, or maybe pushing someone away, like if you’re in a fight with someone or you’re in a disagreement, it’s like, I have to shield myself. And then what’s that doing to your vocal cords, what’s that doing to how you’re communicating your message, it’s all coming across as as defensive. And so the awareness of the body here and some of these things that you just pointed out that operate below our conscious awareness, so much of the time, it can be useful across the board in the softening of how we’re getting our point across, and how we’re communicating even in these high pressure or intense conversation periods when we feel like we need to defend ourselves.

Linda Ugelow 33:42
You know, I just want to piggyback on that, because one of the tools that I give to my, my clients, and I kind of not at the very, very beginning of the book, but before I get into the whole root cause things I give this suggestion of mentally rehearsing how we want something to go. And I, you know, top athletes do this Olympians do this. music, musical performers do this, they envision not just what they’re going to say. But they envision how they want to feel and the energy of it and what it looks like and how they they see themselves in motion. You know what it looks like on the outside. And when you do this, you are creating a new neural pathway and yourself for it to happen. And I actually started to use this many years ago, when I knew I was going to have a hard conversation.

Alyssa Patmos 34:44
Oh really?

Linda Ugelow 34:45
I don’t know where I came across it. I have no recollection. But I remember very distinctly that the times that I took a few minutes to visualize okay, how do I want this conversation to go or it was A meeting that I knew was going to have, you know, that kind of level of anxiety in it and, and emotions coming up. I thought, okay, how do I want to feel? How do I want to feel one on sitting there listening? How do I want to feel as I’m speaking? How do I want to feel afterwards and I’d visualize myself. Like if it was people that I was close with, I visualize us having a hug, and smiling and every single time that I utilize that technique, it went really well.

Alyssa Patmos 35:35
It’s I love that you use it for speaking, I love that it came up in in conflict, I have used that too, because it we’re giving our minds a picture, like we’re giving our body sort of a path to follow before we’re even engaging in it. And I think one of the things that happens in conflict routinely is that we go to that place where we don’t feel safe, our nervous systems can get flooded. And so from there, then then we don’t the only path out is is that old picture of well, how did I respond in the past when I didn’t feel safe? And it’s usually defensiveness. And so I love your second point, the second art it was reveal and heal. And the third one’s patterning, repatterning, what was it?

Linda Ugelow 36:25
Was restore a sense of safety?

Alyssa Patmos 36:27
Okay, yes, restore a sense of safety. So I want to talk about that for a second. Because I think that we have many things in the past few years that have disrupted our collective sense of safety. So that’s going on. And then you know, we have our relationships. And sometimes those can be highly, highly enriching. And then we have periods where we’re like, Okay, wait, this doesn’t feel perfectly safe right now. And I just mean that from like a nervous system response or from like a, were in a short conflict, and I might not feel safe right now. So when you have those things going on, and then we have our critical self talk, that many people experience, that’s all piling on to okay, but now let me go show up on social media, or let me go lead this meeting, or let me step on stage. And so I have techniques that I’ve used for creating safety, but I want to know, if you’re willing to share some of yours, how can how can people begin to restore that sense of safety, without it needing to take forever or have a bunch of other people around.

Linda Ugelow 37:43
There are lots of ways that I, I help people get to that place. But ultimately, you need to start with making a commitment. And having an intention that you want all parts of yourself to be on the same team. That it just won’t do to have, you know, three quarters of yourself going for one goal or facing one direction, and then this other team kind of opposing you, that’s that just is not efficient, it’s not going to get you where you want to go. So I think it comes it starts with that awareness that, that that would be a much better way to live and move forward in our lives to feel like we are all on the same side. That means that you learn how to become your best advocate. And that that critical voice I know have, like, for instance, Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book, Big Magic, I don’t know if you read that, or IF listeners have read that. But she talks about how she learned to put the the critic in the backseat of the car and doesn’t let the critic get at the controls. But the idea is that, or the critic is always going to be there. I don’t believe that’s true, I feel that the critic is a part of ourselves that was also wounded. And that we do not naturally as human beings criticize ourselves, but it’s there. It’s learned this twisted way of protecting us protecting ourselves, but underneath that really wants the same thing. It tells you it says to you, you’re so stupid, you’re looking foolish, not because it wants you to, but that it’s afraid that you are and so if we look at what the intention is of that, of that critical voice, and we we help it to express itself in a in a better way that is really more of a team player, rather than a opposition player. And, and to em, embrace it in a place of understanding. So let’s say the critic is not going to come out and say, Oh, I’m so sorry, but you can say to your critic, I will hear what you have to say? Tell me what’s going on? Oh, you don’t like how I, I lift my chin up? Well, what would you have me do? What would you like me? How can I practice? What are some of your ideas, because that critical voice actually is a voice of discernment. Which has a lousy way of expressing itself. Probably go on.

Alyssa Patmos 40:28
One of the funniest things about this show is that, you know, what we are in relationships with people, and they’re mirrors back to us mirror back for, for how we can grow or things to work on in ourselves. And one of my absolute favorite techniques I use is things with parts. So the wisdom that you just dropped, like I’m in full alignment with and I love how eloquently you explained it. The funny thing for me is, you know, sometimes we forget, or we check out of certain tools of our own at times. And, and the funny thing about this show is sometimes I’ll talk to someone and I’m like, Oh, this came up, this came up for me, like, yes, it’s for listeners. And also this, this part of the conversation today is for is for me, and and when it gets mirrored back to me in certain ways, it always just makes me chuckle. So thank you for bringing up parts, because I need apparently to go do some parts work with myself. And I just want to add to what you were saying there. That we often end up you know, like with this critical voice, and it can take on a picture, it can take on it can look or feel like someone we know. And so for me the extension that I do there, and I totally agree with you, it is a wounded part of us that is trying to have a voice. And when we integrate it, all of a sudden we get a piece back of our own voice. And that’s the most beautiful thing on the planet. And so what one extra step that I do there is I asked that part, what is its highest intention? And it usually starts out with something low. Like, I don’t know, like, if I say what is the highest intention of my perfectionist voice, then it’s like to make everything look good. And you know, that’s a noble act. And it’s a very surface level one eventually, if I keep asking that it gets to, because I want you to feel safe, because I’m trying to protect you. Because if everything looks perfect, then who can attack you. And so they do share, it does share the same highest goal, which is exactly what you were articulating, like it wants to be on the same team, you wants to be there. And so I think this is so so great, the wisdom that that you’re sharing around this for listeners, and it doesn’t need to be this overly intellectual take 5 million hours to get over it. It’s it’s sitting down with yourself and being willing to be honest with yourself around some of the things that you that you feel, and not having it have to be this willpower, chasing down self development sort of mindset. So thank you for bringing up parts.

Linda Ugelow 43:37
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah, I talk about this in the book that my daughter when she was about seven, had thrown toys all over the floor, and I must have been tired. And I think I yelled, and she looked at me and she said, Mommy, I hear what you want to say. But can you say it in a nicer way? Yeah, yeah, I see your mouth open. And that’s exactly how I felt it was like what? And I was so stunned by that. I just thought for I just stopped for like 10 seconds. And then I said, Yes, I can. And then I’ve carried that ever since. And I think it’s a beautiful thing that we can say to ourselves, when we hear that mean voice that say, I hear what you saying? Can you say it in a nicer way? You know, like, how do we you know that we hear this all the time? How do you speak to somebody who you care about and let that person be you.

Alyssa Patmos 44:39
And it’s the remembering to do it because you know you and I are embedded in that world we help other people with it. And at times like it can be very hard to remember to use to use things with yourself and then you get a wake up call in some in some fashion. And I love that one because it’s something that we can do. People don’t have to see you doing it, it can be a pause, even in the middle of a conflictual conversation. It’s like when you, you know, when we get into disagreements with people, it can, or, or we get triggered by our partners. Sometimes, if we realize we’re being defensive, it’s like, okay, there’s comes this decision point of if we can retreat, or if we’re going to double down. And oftentimes the defensive side can take over and we make the choice to double down. But in that moment, if we could use what you just said, and remember our true ourselves, remember, like, oh, wait, there is a piece of us that actually knows how to say this nicely, we could pause and say like, Wait, can you say that in a nicer way? I hear you, I want to hear you. But can you say it in a nicer way? If we can remember that about ourselves? We have a much better chance of influencing the conversation and pausing there and then moving forward, as well.

Linda Ugelow 46:06
Absolutely, absolutely. And sometimes it’s hard, as you say, in the moment to be able to make that switch. But you can call for a timeout and say, Can we not? Can we continue this conversation, you know, in a few days or next week, because I just need some time to like, reorient myself?

Alyssa Patmos 46:27
Absolutely. So I imagine and this kind of comes to the point like when we get flooded in a conversation, you know, or when we just feel so overwhelmed, that we don’t know how to move forward entirely. And that can happen in speaking too. So when you have the moments like I did, where all of a sudden system is overloaded, and I forget everything, how do you help people who have that fear? Or when that inevitably happens? What do you recommend?

Linda Ugelow 46:57
Yeah, well, I have a course called think on your feet for practicing just that, like how do you great, get comfortable speaking spontaneously and, and learn to relax and trust into it. And a lot of it starts with being present, being embodied in yourself. So I have people practice connecting to themselves, physically, I have them close their eyes in front of everyone. And they narrate what they are doing to connect with themselves, they may be feeling their breath or feeling the position of their feet, they may be hearing sounds around them or temperature or, or clothing. But this gives everybody a sense of how I can connect to myself in a physical way in the presence of other people. So when you are in that place of presence, and you learn to, and I also, we practice clearing our mind as we listen. Because what happens is, after somebody speaks, we reflect back to them what we loved and appreciated about it, what they said, so everybody is listening for what they like and appreciate. And that again, it’s like we’re focusing on what we like and appreciate as opposed to what’s not working. Because I believe that we actually grow more. When we know what does work, what resonates with strong. Because then we know what to do more of when we only hear about what’s not working where the red marks are, then we don’t know really what’s what we should do more of we just know, oh, I shouldn’t do that. And so we’re focused on what I shouldn’t do rather than what, what is really working. And then if, as we’re watching other people listening to other people, and we see things, Oh, I love how that person started with a story. Or I love how that person kind of wound their way into what they wanted to say, you know, it’s like, there’s no one way we just learn to appreciate the way people express themselves. And that gives us the freedom to feel more comfortable with how we express ourselves, and to allow ourselves to be more experimental, and also have strategies for times that we might mess up. How do we how do we use our mess ups? Like what do we say, when we forget where we are? In my book, I give a, I don’t know five or six, half a dozen ways of dealing with when you stumble and you forget what you were doing or if you made a mistake or if you don’t know the answer. If you if you have a sense of how to handle these things, if you had a sense when you were in fifth grade of how to handle if you forgot the steps, you would have continued on and you would have gone to the very end of that dance and taken up out and people would have clap because you know what? No one knew what the dance was supposed to look like, only you. So there was no, there was zero judgment coming from the audience about it, it was only your concern that you had forgotten. Yeah.

Alyssa Patmos 50:13
That sparked something for me around comparison. And you were talking about appreciating, you can appreciate how that person shares a story or, or how that person structured what they’re talking about, or, you know, you can appreciate someone’s close. So is appreciation, then how people get out of the comparison trap, because I imagine, with Ted and all of the big speaking platforms now and how many speakers, we can see that comparison comes up.

Linda Ugelow 50:48
I think it’s, there are several ways to go about it. One, I think, is looking at what you like and appreciate. But I want to share another approach because I struggled with this very, very deeply. In fact, it’s why I stopped teaching dance way back when because I was so professionally jealous of my colleagues who are doing similar things as me. And I was convinced they were doing it better than me, and they were having more success. Not now I felt good about my teaching. But in terms of marketing, they were getting people into their classes, I had no idea how to get into mine. And I remember stepping into a public bathroom and closing the door. And I saw a flyer on the back of the staff of this, promoting this class of the same kind of class that I did. And I just burst into tears. And I thought, I hate this feeling of jealousy. When I became an online entrepreneur, I was a little concerned it was going to come up again, even though it was more than a decade later, I was hopefully a little more mature. But I wasn’t quite there. And so I did some research and I came across this one idea. I can’t remember the person who wrote about it. And I thought this is it. When we see people who we feel jealous of it’s triggering our desires. And if we allow ourselves to really honor Well, what is it about this person that I that I’m jealous of? Oh, is that they have a following, or they have a beautiful sales page, or they they are on all these podcasts or whatever it is that they’re doing, then you can say, Yeah, I want that too. And it’s showing me it’s showing me the path of my desires. And when I can bring it back to how they are allowing me to connect with my true desires. And actually, sometimes I don’t want what they have. I see, you know, like if I go down, I say, Well, why am I jealous? Is it because of this? No, not because of that. So it allows you to actually filter out what your desires are and what they actually aren’t. And when you realize that, then you can you can put that on your own manifestation journey, if you will, of saying that is the path I want to go on. Do you hear that universe? Lead me in that direction? Because in truth, we can only be on our own path and the more we accept and honor exactly where we are in the journey and enjoy the becoming the happier we are.

Alyssa Patmos 53:42
Yes, you’re so wise Linda, I love talking to you. There’s so many underpinnings of just great wisdom that apply to all areas of our of our lives. And, and you know, people end up asking that question in relationships, they end up asking, Is this the right relationship or so and so over there, like they seem to be having more sex, or they don’t seem to fight as often or they’re having more fun and it looks it puts all of the power outside of ourselves. And so this reframe that you just gave of Wait, what is it that I’m actually seeing and what is it about it that I seem to want? And I love connecting it to our desire because for me desire I think can be elusive at times. I don’t think we have full control over what our desires are like we’re going to desire them and resisting it is futile and embracing it tends tends to work better so that it can either transmute and come true or or we decided we no longer one. You know some desires they go away after a while. I had a desire for a keyboard around Christmas and and I ended up getting one But I had realized I’d had this desire since March. And I was kind of like, do I actually do I actually want this like, is it one of those things where I’m gonna get it? And then like, never play it. But when I had seen a note back from March, I was like, wait, no, this is a desire that is that is lingering. And so when when we can pay attention to like you said, what is it that I want, it’s almost like it brings this elusive piece of us to the surface, and then all of a sudden, we have more agency around what we can do with it. And so whether it’s in speaking or in dance, or in our relationships, we we all of a sudden, are given this gift of Wait, now I know what I want. And when we know what we want, we can move towards it much quicker than not knowing what we want, which gives us this like menu sampler of 50 plus options. And how do you pick from there? I love love, love, love that you brought in that reframe. It’s so so so, so good.

Linda Ugelow 56:06
Yeah, it took me a long time to recognize that desire was a beautiful thing. Somehow, in my upbringing, I looked at desire as something bad, shouldn’t desire desire was evil, or I don’t know, I’m not even Catholic. But somehow, I absorbed that idea. And it wasn’t until I think, I think maybe following some Eastern practices, maybe it was like Deepak Chopra, talking about the different chakras and the idea of desire and allowing ourselves. You know, I was thinking, why is desire part of one of the chakras and I went, Oh, my gosh, it is almost like a GPS of where we want to go. Like, without desire, as you say, it’s like, we’re kind of like in a, what are those rivers that title that tidal waters, but they kind of like spread sideways? Because there’s no boundaries? There’s no like, um –

Alyssa Patmos 57:11
I don’t know what they’re called, but I’m with you.

Linda Ugelow 57:13
Estuary, it’s not estuaries, but whatever, floodplains or something like that, the desire keeps us focused, focused in a direction and in a pathway. Yeah,

Alyssa Patmos 57:28
I love that. So it actually gives us a chance to, to have somewhere to flow and data stream go, rather than wandering.

Linda Ugelow 57:40
Right? Right. And then we get that satisfaction of of all the different places that we arrive to along that journey of our desire.

Alyssa Patmos 57:53
That’s beautiful. So we’ve talked about a lot of things we’ve talked about the beliefs that come up, when, when we might be scared to speak, we’ve talked about ways to restore safety. We’ve talked about the patterns that show up, and how even if we get rid of the belief, then we still have to, you know, do the work of addressing the patterns. And that can take some time afterwards. We’ve talked about comparison and an alternative pathways pointing us to our desire. So, you know, using our voice is one of the most human things we can do. I believe sharing our story is one of the most powerful things we can do because it helps people feel less alone. And so if there’s someone listening who’s like, Okay, I want to start using my voice more, or I want to experiment with it. I want to play around with putting my voice out there more. Do you have any immediate tips or a challenge for them? To start doing that?

Linda Ugelow 59:03
Yes, well, first of all, I would encourage you to go out and get Delight in the Limelight. My book, I think that if you do feel some sense of inhibition about using your voice, you will resonate with my story there and, and how I help people how I helped myself and other people to get through it. What I would recommend as a tip is to start inside your comfort zone. Who do you already feel comfortable speaking with? And how can you make it even more fun? What would that look like? What would that feel like? What would it sound like if you took the the boundaries or the limitations that you said in terms of the rules of engagement are the rules of self expression and you stretch them out just a tiny bit? What what might that look like? Would it be a little more playful a little more dramatic or Little more surprising, can you let yourself do something surprising. And as I said, Don’t do this where you don’t feel comfortable, do it where you already feel comfortable. Or maybe it’s just by yourself, as you take a walk in a field or down the street and you skip a few steps instead of walk. Or you swagger a little bit from the your car to the the grocery store, you know, under your jacket, and nobody even can see you, but you’re letting your hip swing more, or whatever it is to allow yourself to go outside your boundaries a little bit in a in a fun, playful way. That’s what I would suggest. And you can do that with your speaking you can do with the way you express yourself with your body, with the expressions that you make, how you emphasize your words, as you tell your story. There’s so many ways to play.

Alyssa Patmos 1:00:59
That is beautiful. I love that you brought in more than just, you know, your speaking voice. It can be expressions and whatnot as well. And you can shed like, we’ve talked about this in other episodes, but you can shed different layers of your identity on a daily basis. You don’t have to be the same person that you were yesterday, today and tomorrow. And so if you have an inkling of the answer to any of these questions Linda just posed, then I would challenge you to step out and just try an ounce of it and see what happens because having to be the same person every single day day in and day out can get rather boring, and you have the chance to grow. So, Linda, thank you so much for being here. I deeply appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us and some of the tips that that you provided as well.

Linda Ugelow 1:01:53
Oh, thank you so much. And I would love to continue the conversation with any of your listeners. If you want to do that you can. Maybe the best way to do that is to come over to my website, where you can download a speaker empowerment kit where I guide you through mental rehearsal visualization as we spoke about earlier in this episode, and and you can leave me a message there we can we can chat.

Alyssa Patmos 1:02:25
And what is the URL?

Linda Ugelow 1:02:27
That would be empowermentkit.me Perfect. Yeah. Where you can find you can find me anywhere. I love to hang out on Tik Tok but you can find me anywhere with my name because it’s pretty unusual. Linda Ugelow, U-G-E-L-O-W

Alyssa Patmos 1:02:44
Awesome. I have seen your Tik Tok. I love it. It’s great. Thank you so much for being here. And those of you listening in or watching the show. Thank you and we will be back next week with another episode of Make It Mentionable. See you then.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Alyssapatmos.com/thepeel. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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