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People showed up here for what you have to say — so say it.

The clock was dangerously nearing 12:30pm. Tummies were grumbling. Butts were getting sore from sitting too long. Blood sugar levels were dipping.

My talk, Money: A Love Story, was supposed to end the morning session. But the audience’s (and my own) need for a break were obvious.

So I whispered to the organizer:

“I don’t have to speak today. Let’s just take me off the agenda so we can stay on schedule, or at least I’ll just speak for 5 minutes instead of 30.”

It seemed logical. We were running over. There was too much information to cover in too little time. I would just take myself out and make it easier for everyone. Done and done.

During the lunch break I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the headlining speaker, who’d flown in from Florida to share his expertise with the group.

He said:

“Kate, I heard you asked to be removed from the program or to only speak for 5 minutes. There are people who have driven here to this event to hear you and what you have to say. You will speak for your full time because what you have to share is important.”

The familiar feeling of tears pooling atop my bottom eyelids was there. It was one of those moments of great recognition.

My topic that day was about the importance of valuing ourselves in order to make more money and become a better money manager. Money is all about what we value, and we have to start with ourselves.

Yet, in asking to be removed from the program, I had slipped into an old pattern of undervaluing my own contribution. I was throwing myself under the bus, once again. (We really do teach what we need to learn.)

Sometimes being conscientious of time, resources, and others’ needs is a way of covering up the fact that we don’t value ourselves enough.

When we’re not giving our contribution the credence it deserves, we:

I’m so grateful the gentleman I was sharing the stage with that day said something to me to remind me to honor my contribution.

In the end, I gave my full 30-minute talk and many people came up to me and told me that it was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

Take-home message:

If you don’t speak up, you could be preventing someone from hearing exactly what they needed to. (Tweet it)

So . . .

Show up.

Speak up.

Grab the mic.

Take your time.

Take up space.

Turn up your volume.

Stand up tall.

Sing loud and proud.

Shake what your mama gave you.

And keep yourself on the program.

 

Do you ever find yourself trying to not take up too much space or keeping your mouth shut? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments!

 

  • Becca says:

    Holy Moly…AMEN.
    The words “Take up space” hit me right in the gut. Thank you the beautiful space you have created for yourself and so many around you. xo

  • Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for posting this Kate! I have come to realise that for many years I’ve kept myself from ‘playing big’ in life. I’d often feel in the way or a bother to other people. As a kid I was told to “be seen, but not heard”. I still struggle with it, but reading something like this really helps! I’m learning to be proud of myself and what I can share & I’m learning to ask for what I want – dream and expect amazing things for my life! Thank you for creating your wonderful space and letting us be a part of it! :)

  • Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

    Thank you so much for sharing Kate.

    We all need to be reminded that there is enough space for us. There is a place for us. Somebody wants to hear us. Someone needs our story.

  • Dawn says:

    Amen. I too have been playing small, like a mouse, rather than showing up. When I ask why, the answer I receive is because I know how powerful I can be and that takes away my invisibility and makes me vulnerable. OUCH. how easy it used to be playing small. Now that I have awoken I realize that I am wasting my time, my life and the gifts the universe gave me by doing that. Good lesson but done with it. I keep a fake mouse by my bed to remind me not to play that way. Thanks for being so vulnerable open and honest. It paves the path for the rest of us who are following behind you, watching your lead.
    Dawn

  • Gwen says:

    Hi Kate!

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful story and a poignant reminder that we must value ourselves and what we have to share <3

    -Gwen

  • Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks, Kate! xo

  • Susan Finch says:

    Yes! What an inspiring story! I can still shrink to fit and play small when I listen to my fears and limiting thoughts. But those thoughts are lies. We are here on the planet to grow, expand and give. Your courage, Kate, is infectious. Thank you!

  • Ellena says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Kate! Love it, this is what I needed to hear. I am about to launch my blog and a website for my life coaching business…yep time to share and serve. Lots of love from Australia x Keep sharing your love :) Ellena

  • Stacey says:

    Thank you Kate! Too many times in my life I’ve been afraid of being “too big”, “too much” and that what I had to offer was not enough. Yet when I do share, its always welcomed and wanted. Thank you for your honesty and keeping it real. I find breathing, connecting and grounding help me to focus and share. And having strong supporters helps too. ;)

  • deborah says:

    Such a valuable share, Katie. I find myself jumping to the small default setting all the time but I’m committed to not continuing along that path but being my biggest and boldest self. Reading about your experience helps me not to judge myself and reminds me we’re all connected. Keep playing big – it’s inspiring. x

  • Karla says:

    Thank you. I don’t think I’m there yet. I want to be though. Still hearing that voice in my head (or from the other room) saying, “Just keep your f***ing mouth shut. ‘Cause nobody cares.” I know it’s not true though. Thanks again for reminding me!

  • Rosa says:

    Thank you Kate for your post, it was exactly what I was needing to hear (or to read or to receive) today …It doesn’t matter if it is coming from another side of the world…Your message is jus arriving here…in Andalusia Spain….Thank you …Have e very Happy Spring Season…..

  • Cindy says:

    I’ve done this my whole life thinking I was just being kind to others and making their lives less complicated and in fact NOT valuing myself. I would have done the exact same thing Kate but perhaps not any more.

  • Heatherleigh says:

    Love the shake what your mamma gave you! But seriously great post. Take up space and be heard! Love it!

  • Breana says:

    I needed to hear this; I did this very thing today in a class at my church. I sat in front feeling a little inadequate with my arms crossed. The teacher asked if anyone had comments or anything to add to the discussion, but I felt that my thoughts were silly and unnecessary to the group so I didn’t raise my hand. But suddenly he looked me straight in my eyes and asked “do you have something to say?” As if my thoughts were written on my face. I was surprised and had to make a split second decision on whether or not I would rise or retreat. I’m proud to say I chose to rise! Baby steps to break old habits of undervaluing my contribution to the world.

  • kerbi says:

    I almost deleted this message but something told me that I needed to read what it said. OMG….I am currently working on healing my self worth. I am so like you…so willing to sit back and be “taken off the roster” in order to keep everyone else comfortable… not to bother… not wanting to infringe upon anyone’s space. The sixth of seven children, I have always tried to keep the peace…taking the back seat and being content with the lefovers… with a dutiful smile. NEVER ONCE did I consider this to be a part of the symptom. What a powerful, that someone needed to hear today. Thank you!!!

  • Jen says:

    I frigging do this all the time! Thanks for sharing because I didn’t realize I am cutting myself short…I just thought I was being considerate. My breath feels lighter now xo

  • Hannah says:

    Dear Kate,

    Thank you for sharing your story, and the tears indicate the power of the lesson. Your story made me think about the TED Talk by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. If you haven’t seen it already, you can watch it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html

    Her story is about starting a conversation around us as women, and that we may be holding ourselves back with behaviors we perceive as assertive and male. I mention this because in your story, the person who happened to address you about your time was a man. In Sheryl’s Ted Talk and other conversations in her Lean In movement, she shows powerful examples in that a man in your situation would have never said what you said. It does raise questions for me on how to be an assertive feminine, a confident female leader etc.

    One woman that comes to mind is Danielle LaPort – wow, that woman is feminine and powerful! It was a vlog of Glimpse TV that led me to the two of you and the conversations you both have are worth having, even if I am an observer.

    In my own experience, I was raised in a chauvinistic environment, cowboy country of the American West. I was raised around women that would have done what you did, and it would have not only been accepted or encouraged, but expected. Thank you for being a part of a new generation of empowered women with voices that are feminine, beautiful, and empowered! And be nice to yourself. And kind to yourself – remember, women got the right to vote in America in 1920, we have 7 years to go before we hit the 100 year anniversary.

    Your breakthrough deserves a party or happy dance.

    You radiate joy, and I find myself continuing to return and comment on your blog.
    A big virtual hug to you.

    With Grace,

    Hannah

    • Ms. Pillowz says:

      Wow, Hannah! What an awesome comment! I have to check out Sheryl’s Ted Talk. I read her interview in last month’s O Magazine and was blown away by what she had to say. I have her book on my library wishlist. :-)

      Reading Kate’s words about taking up space reminded me of another Ted Talk that I saw with Amy Cuddy about body language, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc. She spoke about an experiment where the synopsis was that powerful / confident people took up more physical space. They don’t shrink, so to speak. She found that people who stood in powerful like poses where they took up more space for at least two minutes would feel a shift in their confidence. Ever since watching that, whenever I have to do something that makes me nervous, I go in the bathroom and stand in the mirror and pose like Wonder Woman. So far, it has helped me a lot. lol

      I wrote a post last week about not caring about the numbers, in which I said the following: “I do battle with my ego every time I get ready to post.

      My mouse hovers over the Publish button, while a feeling of anxiety and nervousness wash over me. What if I offend someone? What if I hurt or upset someone who knows me? What if I exposed too much? What will others think?

      All of that runs through my head every single time I post. Then I hear a little whisper within me that says, “This isn’t about you. There is someone out there who desperately needs to read what it is that you have to say. They need to know that they aren’t alone. They need to see that there is a place for them to go. By thinking these thoughts, holding back your words, and asking these questions, you are being selfish. Publish the damn post.”

      Then I take a deep breath and press the button.

      I saw that same vlog with Danielle, and I’ve been meaning to visit here, but it was a comment on Marie Forleo’s recent post about being fascinating that brought me and I am so glad that I came!

  • I loved this Kate!! Thanks for the reminder that we ALL have something valuable to contribute through our words. As a yoga teacher, I like to share my lesson/theme for my class by beginning with a story…and I usually preface it with a blanketed statement of “Hang in there folks, you know I love to tell a story” in a way that diminishes the value of setting the intention and theme of my class. No more! I’ll speak my truth and set the intention. SAT NAM & a multitude of gratitude!

  • Juliet Turalski @ Julesinspired says:

    This is an awesome post, Kate. Thank you for sharing your experience and guiding inspiration into our lives. Felt good to read this post!

  • Shana says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is so important to be aware of old patterns creeping back in! And to stand tall and take the stage in our own lives.

  • Meaghan says:

    Incredible truth! Thank you for the reminder.

  • Ellen Greenlaw says:

    Thanks so much Kate. Today I fell down and could not get up.
    I am disabled and live in a remote rural area. My left leg just collapsed. Did not know what to do and I was getting COLD on the floor. Called my doctor. She said to call 911. I felt SO ashamed
    and awful to do this. However, three firemen showed up and a woman girl scout showed up and lifted me up and I went to the hospital.
    Reading your post, I am affirming to myself that I am valuable,
    valuable enough to be driven to the emergency room and helped out.
    Shame is part of the dumb system we are in that devalues women
    and disabled people. I am trying to be proud of having survived. Now to get my physical therapist to help me figure out how to get up on my own. Thanks for sharing. Glad you spoke out for as long as you did.

  • Kaye says:

    Hello Kate,
    Really great reminder…
    As your gorgeous friend Marie Forleo would say, you would have been stealing from the audience had you not given your talk.
    Great post. Thank you for sharing.
    Kaye

  • Ana Goncalves says:

    Hello Kate,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and kudos to you for recognizing your behavior. It is truly amazing when these experiences are presented to us as in a way they are challenging our very own self limiting beliefs and to be aware of them takes courage, and you show that it can be done. I have been aware of my self sabotage behaviors for a while and I notice when they creep in and yes like you say it has a lot to do with not feeling worthy of it. I am now following my gut more and know that if they come up I push through and continue to do what I have signed up for. Of course, it doesn’t always happen like that and in some moments it is an opportunity to find out what’s really going on as there is an underlining message in that, so I am grateful for each experience for it always brings me back inside and I know I put myself in these situations so that I can learn from them and be the best that I can be in them so that they take me to a better place and I know the value is always in that.
    Thank you :)

  • Thea says:

    Great blog Kate!! Such a wonderful reminder, thank you!
    xo

  • Dawn says:

    First, thank you for you authenticity! I adore you! I was hit right across the head with a 2 by 4 with this post! I have been what I call and what i thought a good thing, sensitive to the needs of those around me. Probably true but definately at the cost of shrinking myself! Thank you for all that you do and your willingness to share!

  • Karina De La Cruz says:

    ON the money Kate. Thank you for putting this out. There are many times where I have felt this way and have to pretty much remind myself of the value of who I am and what I do. Thanks Again!

  • Thanks Kate! This is really timely. You are a trail-blazer.

    All the best,
    Jennie

  • Right On, Kate!

    What a powerful message for us all.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Lena says:

    Thanks so much for the reminder!

  • Lena says:

    I definitely have a habit of doing that to myself, it’s something I’m working on.

    I do find that the more I empower myself and prove (to myself) what I can do the better I treat myself. For example, I’m training to run a 5k right now, and I feel so confident when I come back from a run that I take better care of myself both mentally and physically the rest of the day.

    Thanks so much for the reminder! I’ll be adding your blog to my list of must reads now.

  • Nema says:

    Thank you so much, Kate. Just what I needed to read. Now I go to the sauna, give me some me time and take all the space I need and deep, deep breath.

  • OMG how gorgeous is this??? Why is it that we feel as though we can or should mute ourselves, shrink ourselves, and thus devalue ourselves? How did we learn this? Who showed us? This is a HUGE pain point for me, in everything from my personal life to my work life to even the number of tweets I’m willing to send out regarding things I’m proud of. “Will I be too much?” What a waste of energy!

    Thank you for sharing this message – it’s crucial, and we all need it from time to time.

  • Denise says:

    I’ve stayed so small for so long that I don’t even know what big is anymore. Thanks for sharing your lesson. Glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

  • Really Kate, thank you for saying it out loud!

    This is one of the life long messages that I have received and have spent a lot of time working out of. To this day people tell me I am too much, too loud, to big. I find that I really try to be conscious about how to deliver my message to reach the most people. In the end you just need to be yourself and those that are meant to hear, hear your message.

  • Sing it, Sister!
    xo
    TG

  • This is such a timely post, I was about to tell myself not to publish a blog post this week because I wasn’t sure if I had anything to say. But people are showing up waiting, and I need to value that what is truly burning inside of me is what people are showing up to hear.

    Thank you, Kate, for sharing! :)

  • Helen says:

    Great post. Thank you for the reminder. It’s so easy to think we are being kind and considerate to others when what we are really doing is undervaluing our own contribution.

  • Lina says:

    Thank you for sharing this story Kate, because this post pretty much describe my own life right this instant.

    A little back-story: I’m a singer & dancer and we’re having our big annual show this weekend, with rehearsals every nigth this week. When I read this post I instantly thought about the day before, when I asked to be removed from one of the dance numbers, because we we’re too many for the choreography to work. It was a dance I liked but as always I felt that “well I might as well offer up my spot, someone has too”.

    Now speed up to last night. We were staging this number and my dance teacher told me to get back into the number, change places with her. I argued (with a smile ofcourse) that I didn’t want to take her spot but she persisted.

    And I thought of your story again. What she did reminded me of your headline speaker. This was a learning moment for me and I don’t think I would have understood the lesson, if it hadn’t been for reading your post.

    Thank you again!

  • Scarlett De Bease says:

    Great post that shows we really are all the same. Humans with as many insecurities as talents.
    I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to a conference that I am speaking to tomorrow , feeling so badly about the Boston Marathon bombings I felt like I should cancel. After all, my topic is giving women style tips so they know what they should wear. Nothing deep.
    Your post made me realize that the women attending are there to hear my talk and perhaps my presentation, which is usually funny and normative, will take their minds off of yesterday’s tragedy.

  • Beautiful, as always, Kate! I tried to do that once, at my own book signing! It was the first one I ever gave. The room was full of friends + celebs + media (it was LA, and I was lucky… maybe cuz I served food). I talked for a few minutes and then said, “Well, I’m sure you’re all ready to get out of here so I’ll wrap this up.” I thought they were going to throw food at my head:) They came to hear me speak, and actually wanted me to deliver. I couldn’t believe it. I was new at this; thought they’d shown up for a favor (and the egg roles). What a great lesson. Thanks for the reminder all this many years later. You’re awesome! xxx

  • Rhema says:

    Sheesh! Just what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing! Having growth opportunities with my daughter and heard myself say just a day ago “I feel small and inadequate” Opened my eyes to see one of the many quotes on my wall that said “You serve no one by playing small” Decided to stop that line of thinking right then and there. That’s made a difference in the last 24. Then to see your post…Gurl…in your shoes I woulda done the same thing.

    Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable!

  • Ursula says:

    This post was right on time. Stand up and speak up. I will keep saying that over and over to myself. I know for a fact no one can take away your power unless you choose to give it away. Excellent post!!

  • Tegan says:

    Thanks Kate! I saw a link to this on Marie Forleo’s page, so happy I read it as this is my first visit to your page.
    Taking up too much space hit a nerve. If Im always adjusting for others and helping them out, I’m stopping everyone from seeing me and therefore cutting myself short!

    Its amazing how our limiting beliefs can tint our reality.

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you, Kate. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today.

  • Thanks for those inspiring words. I always feel the same way. I thought it was me. During my last workshop I let that voice get the best of me and somewhat lost my power. Your words have been inspiring.

  • Tania says:

    Perfect reminder. Thank you. And thank you for sharing your voice and stories with those who need to hear it.

    Tania xo

  • Adaeze Lauretta says:

    I am an African. Nigerian to be precise. I love your post. I actually came to reading a newspaper in my country and came across your mother’s post. Since then I’ve been so much interested in her post, womenforone community and now yours. I have been there and I’m still fighting it to be loud and be big. Thank you for your post. I love you.

  • You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the internet.
    I will recommend this blog!

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