Everyone is born with a seed of greatness. In the right nurturing environment that greatness is activated and becomes a powerful force.
We are all being called to make a bigger difference in the world – individually, in the workforce and in our communities. By building on participants innate talents and strengths they stand in the power of their authentic voice and become better leaders, influential speakers, stronger partners and confident communicators.
Growing up, I learned to quiet my voice to the point I could no longer hear it. It felt like one of the only times I received praise or approval from significant adults in my life was when I was told “You look pretty,” or if I received an “A” in school. When I spoke up or had an opposing view I felt like it didn’t matter, felt that I wasn’t important, and what I had to say wasn’t worth hearing. Only my outside appearance or doing well mattered, and I felt safe only when I chose not use my voice, even in school, so I stopped.
Many years later when I became a professional in the commercial printing industry, I became a successful District Sales Manager. With that said, when I had to speak to clients or groups of three or more, I froze. Public speaking was absolutely excruciating for me, so between the emotional stress and working incredibly hard for 20 years, my body broke down. I knew a change needed to be made, but I didn’t know how. I asked for guidance, and one day I received it so loudly that it sounded like a megaphone was in my right ear! The voice said, “Go. Just GO. Pack your bag and GO. Travel the world, give back like you’ve always wanted to, and find out why you’re here.”
I was stunned by this message. I felt its power and truth resonate throughout my body and immediately chose to follow its advice. I left my high-paying job and began the long journey to discover who I am and my purpose in this lifetime. For seven years my focus was all about giving back, and for three years I traveled to many countries, some of my favorites being Turkey, Bali, and India.
In Turkey I lived in a 1,000-year-old cave house that very much reminded me of “The Flintstones” cartoon. The town of Goreme is an area of the world where they still use horse and carriage for transportation. It was a place that didn’t believe animals had many rights. Kittens were presented to me under my bed the second night of my stay. Instead of leaving them next to a dumpster to fend for themselves, which was customary, I socialized them and found them homes. Although it wasn’t easy, I stood up to the locals and successfully educated the town about the importance of spaying and neutering. Through these talks, they were able to understand that animals can be the most joy-filled companions. I found all of these kittens owners who embraced and loved them.
In Bali, I marveled at the sacredness with which they honor life. I fell in love with the sense of what it means to really belong to a tribe for life and how incredibly loved newborn babies are. The custom is to keep the baby off the ground for the first six months of his or her life. This is done by always having the baby in someone’s arms when it’s not asleep. When awake, the baby is always with someone in their “banjar” (social unit) to hold and love the baby so that she or he grows up with a sense of belonging and that feeling of enoughness. Much of my inspiration for the creating the Yes, You Can Speak! tribes came through this experience. With that said, Bali is very patriarchal, and it’s very difficult for a woman to leave her husband under any circumstances. If she does leave, she gets no support. While there, I helped an organization that provided support, training and micro-loans to abused women and children so they could reclaim their lives.
In India, I attended a 21-day silent retreat at Oneness University and at last was able to let go of what had been holding me back all these years. I was able to forgive, love and accept all of those who I felt silenced by and I set loving, comfortable boundaries. The most amazing thing that I noticed is how truly connected we are. When I let go of the hurt and noticed an internal shift I was amazed at how those in my life experienced a positive shift as well.
For years I dreamt of living at an orphanage and taking care of children. That dream came true in India as well when I found the Assisi Bhavan Orphanage in Kerala. I went to the door with a basket of sweets and sparkly bangle bracelets up to my elbow and was greeted by 36 of the most beautiful girls with the brightest eyes and biggest smiles I’d ever seen. I spent nearly 3 months there and although it was unbelievably hot, my bed was about as soft as a table and I bathed out of a bucket I was happy. Because of the abundance of love and joy I received, it felt like I was living in the Taj Mahal.
I learned a lot from these girls. In our culture we’re driven by the need for things with very little time for gratitude. In this orphanage, they had almost nothing but always focused on living from generosity and gratitude.They gave me gifts everyday of whatever they had – musical performances, so many freshly picked flowers that my cupped hands were overflowing, cards or just the right plastic beaded necklace to go with one of my outfits that they wouldn’t under any circumstances allow me to return. Scarcity has no place whatsoever in their psyche.
I’m certain that because of their gratitude and joy they pulled me right into their orphanage to provide them with the opportunity of experiencing another culture, some financial security and more hugs than they’ve received in years. These girls showed me what gratitude and coming from a place of love really means….
In my previous life, I was driven more by expectation than by gratitude, and they taught me to be grateful for everything! They also showed me that the true richness in life comes when I live and give like it’s my last day.
When I returned to my home in the Bay Area, the minister at Unity church in Marin, where I was a member, was moved by my story and wanted me to stand in for him and share my leap-of-faith journey with his congregation. I was still terrified of public speaking, but something inside of me chose to accept his invitation.
Toastmasters was my first stop, and for weeks I stared at the table praying I wouldn’t be called on to say anything. I also attended Speaking Circles, and the most I could do for a while was simply sit and observe. Once I took the leap and began interacting with these organizations, things began to improve. The biggest shift for me occurred at Speaking Circles, where I learned some incredibly transformative techniques that taught me to connect to who I truly am.
When the big day came for me to give my talk to the congregation of 400 people, I finally allowed the world to hear my voice and story. It was a talk that stirred my soul and apparently the audience too because I received three standing ovations! It was the most profound gift I have ever experienced, a gift I gave to myself. My voice. I gave myself permission to speak, to be seen, to be heard, to be a contribution, and to be an inspiration.
At that moment I realized that the life-changing piece of Lynn’s puzzle which had been missing her entire life was now in place. From this point onward, I was much more confident, empowered, sparkly, and magnetic than ever before. Who knew?
This life experience was so profound, and my fear to speak and be heard had been so prevalent, that I knew my purpose was to create a program to empower professionals to easily access their voice and speak their truth. I created a way to combine my decades of transformational work and a decade of public speaking to essentially erase the negative programming millions of us have around speaking up, speaking out, being seen and heard, and being ourselves.
The programs and workshops are incredibly safe, inspiring, fun, and are the most efficient and effective environment to access your voice, truth and power of who you really are. If you have a big intention to contribute to a better world—but, for whatever reason, people don’t quite get who you are or the importance of your message—or if you would like to live more authentically and speak about what you do, make the impact you are meant to make as an entrepreneur or in the corporate world, let’s talk. I’m committed to seeing you like no one has ever seen you before so you can become the person you’re meant to be.[ See Lynn’s Professional Bio ]
Our Community Partner
Lynn Kirkham is also the Co-Founder of The Inspired Heart Foundation- an innovative 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We provide women who lack the monetary resources with positive mentoring, group workshops, and inspired one-on-one coaching. We help them create a positive mindset and life focus, along with the support to become self-confident, inspired and courageous leaders in their families workplace, and communities. A portion of the proceeds from your tuition helps women who desperately need help but cannot afford it.
Sponsor a Woman through The Inspired Heart Foundation and provide her with highly sought after transformational workshops to develop authentic self-confidence, a greater sense of self-worth, and the communication and leadership skills to succeed. Our results are nothing short of miraculous.
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