Obstacles into Opportunities

Say “Heck Yeah” to Retrograde

mercury retrogradeI don’t know about you, but I am SUPER SENSITIVE to a Mercury Retrograde, a time when the planet Mercury slows down and appears to (although it does not) actually move backwards. During the three to four times when this period happens each year, people often experience a range of “retrograding” symptoms. Because the planet Mercury rules communication, people often complain that their technology and relationships are going awry. Cars and appliances are breaking down. People, including yours truly, also often blame Mercury Retrograde for a range of interpersonal communication problems that lead to employees quitting or to long-lasting family feuds.

The thing to remember about Mercury Retrograde, however, is that this is all an optical illusion. Literally. Astrologists have described the phenomenon like speeding by a slow-moving train—as it recedes it appears to move backwards. But it isn’t.

As we go into our second Mercury Retrograde cycle of 2015 officially on May 18, and we linger here through June 11, many people are reporting that they have already started experiencing big changes—some which can’t quite be articulated but are nevertheless perceived—already.

I’m at the top of this list.

My body has been in a gigantic retrograde for the last month. I’m too close to the experience to speak intelligently about it yet and harness all of the meaning I know there is to glean (although I suspect in a few weeks I’ll have some perspective). But to sum up, for the last few weeks I have felt like most of my body was moving backwards, and against me.

And as I’ve started to talk about the details of my experience with others, while the severity and range of my symptoms are somewhat unique, I’m discovering I’m not alone.

When I teach speaking, I always say that our bodies are revealing, moment-to-moment, the answers for how to engage and move an audience to action. When we feel constriction in our chest, it’s our body’s way of saying open the shoulders, drop into the heart, and connect with an audience rather than seek to educate them. Or when we feel a lot of buzzing in our body, we find it hard to hold onto our words, and our body is tipping forward, we want to recognize that that isn’t fear. And rather, it’s our passion asking to be moved forward. And shared.

During Mercury Retrograde there are numerous speaking and self-development opportunities—if we just choose to illuminate and lean into them. Now, I may not host a live event during this period again (for last year, during the June retrograde, I showed up to a theatre and learned that EVERY spotlight for my speakers was broken). Yikes! With that said, during these periods our unusual experiences and corresponding communication (from high frustration or exhaustion to miscommunication or anger), often show up to shake us out of our routine. They are there to push us to address the root causes of situations and relationships that have fundamental flaws.

Use this time to slow down, rest, reflect and renew. Be open to change. And coincidence. And when the universe challenges your plans, ask yourself, “What am I being called to see? And speak?”

Here are some questions to visit (and revisit) during this period.

  1. Where am I not being honest with myself? Where am I withholding my truth from the people in my work and home life?
  1. How is what is showing up in the way I feel or behave an opportunity to address an unmet need or desire?
  1. What might the inconveniences that are emerging be trying to wake me up to?

Good questions, if I do say so myself, right? The discomfort and downright pain that crops up during a Mercury Retrograde can happen to us. Or it can happen for us. We make that determination for ourselves.

I’ve got A LOT to share with you in the next couple of months.

  • A refreshed web presence over at AlexiaVernon.com
  • A new, virtual group coaching program for transformational event leaders
  • FREE audio and video training on persuasion and facilitating profitable workshops

I’ve been baking a lot of yumminess that I can’t wait to serve up this spring and summer.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from YOU. What’s one persnickety communication habit you’re committed to shedding during this Mercury Retrograde?

I can’t wait to read your response, and have you read mine, over in my Facebook group.

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‘Tis the Season for Pruning

Racheal CookWhen Racheal Cook invited me to be a part of her Business That Loves You Back Blog Tour, it was a no brainer decision to say, “heck yeah!” I knew that I would be in Costa Rica when my writing went live (which would nudge me to write early). And that as someone who loves pulling back the curtains on my business and collaborating with other leaders invested in creating conscious businesses, Rachael and the fellow entrepreneurs and changemakers participating are EXACTLY the kind of online company I like to keep.

(In case you are new to Racheal’s world, Racheal is a successful yogi turned entrepreneur who is now sharing her mindful strategy with entrepreneurs so that they can turn their own passions into a profitable business. From yogipreneur virtual conferences to a virtual mastermind, this woman has namasted her way to a serious online following while retiring her husband from his job and raising three kids.)

But as I sit down to regale you with my wisdom about how I define success, ‘having it all’ and what integration looks like for me, all I feel like I can write about is the palo verde tree in my backyard.

For the last few months, my favorite tree had been simultaneously growing and dying. One side was green and lush while the other was brown and brittle. After our landscapers identified that we had been over watering our precious tree, we made the painful decision to cut half of it off. Even though this half of the tree was dead, as my daughter and I climbed onto our couch and both sat equally mesmerized as one dead branch after another was cut off and disposed of, I wept as though I had lost a family member. In doing so I realized what I had gained was some true insight about my life and work.

I like to share that since my daughter’s birth I only work 20-25 hours a week. That my last 9 months have been my most profitable. And I like to share these truths not because bragging is my thing, but rather because I think it proves work-life integration and success can coexist.

And doing so reminds me of what I’m striving for—presence with my family, my clients and my tribe. Work that matters to me—and to the people I seek to serve.

Yet, at the same time, I’ve been starting to experience some…let’s just call it, strangeness. My postpartum insomnia is back. I feel overcome at times by powerful waves of anger. For a couple of days recently I rocked a low-grade fever while clearly not physically sick.

So what gives?

Well, I’m pretty sure that I am the tree.

Part of me is undeniably thriving, while at the same time a piece of me is utterly wiped out. Growth, in business and in life, takes a lot of resources. And I need to shed from both what is not working in order for the part of me that is really flowering to continue to flourish.

While I’ve known for a number of years that my purpose in this world is to show people how to speak with power and impact (or what I call moxie) on stage, at work and with their loved ones, the business side of how I make that happen has grown tremendously as I increase the amount of people I touch with my work. And that growth is only going to continue.

Yes, I see tens of thousands of people going through my “spotlight” programs in the next 5 years. I’m starting to crush out on the idea of writing another book. THE book. My spirit is starting to show me what my future collective for changemakers will look like. And while I may not be “working” 40 hours a week, I’ve come to realize that I’m in my head thinking about my business at times upwards of 15-18 hours/day.

Is my designer on track for our summer launch?

Did I update my availability in TimeTrade for Q+A calls?

Why can’t I get that one piece of copy to land just right?

Is this person the right fit for expanding team?

And even when my head is out of the weeds and in the really good stuff like my clients’ talks or an upcoming gig of my own, my mental busyness has become the enemy of what I want most for myself and for everyone in my life—presence.

By the time you are reading this, my hope is that I’ve used my time in Costa Rica to kill the limiting beliefs that are starting to infringe on my sense of well-being.

I don’t want (or need) to cut back my work—I want to cut back my obsessive thinking about my work.

I don’t need to do a better job of managing my time. I manage the heck out of it! I just need to be more honest with myself about how much time projects take and plan accordingly. And enlist a bit more domestic support!

And most of all, I want to answer the question, “How are you?” with the answer, “Friggin awesome, full of energy, and on purpose,” and be telling the absolute truth.

Death is one of the only certainties in life, and just as every year has its seasons, so does every business.

I know I’m in the spring of mine. Now, I just need to give myself some time to let go of the pieces of my thinking and behavior that should not have survived the winter.

Prune, baby, prune!

Want more musings on how to integrate business with life?

The women participating in the Business That Loves You Back Blog Tour are fantastic, many of them like Hillary Rubin and Suzi Istvan, true soul sisters. You can take a peak at yesterday’s post from Casey Berglund at Worthy and Well and enjoy Shenee Howard’s post which goes love tomorrow by clicking here.

To capture all of the wisdom contained in the Blog Tour, click here, to sign up and follow on social media with #bizloveblogtour.

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We CAN Handle the Truth

You want answers?

I think I’m entitled to them!

You want answers?

I want the truth!

You can’t handle the truth!

Although often misquoted, these famous lines exchanged between Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men underscore a fundamental problem whenever we talk about “the truth.”

We might profess to want answers. Whether it’s our clients to tell us what’s really on their minds. Or even a spouse to tell us his or her deepest desire for our life together. But too often, in prompting people for “the truth,” we get the answer the person before us is capable of pushing out at that moment, but not the really deep, tricky, not yet ready to be articulated stuff.

In a recent podcast by bestselling author and pastor, Rob Bell, Bell tells a story of his son memorizing gobs of information for a science test. He “knows” the material. He can spout off facts, figures, etc. BUT, and this is a ginormous BUT, he can neither detail nor even give even the most basic explanation of what it all means. Bell uses the story to highlight our collective crisis in being able to explain so much of what we claim to know and stand for in the world. And as a result, while full of superficial understanding of a lot of issues (a habit no doubt formed during our primary and secondary education where memorization was often privileged over deep, analytical thinking), most of us feel deeply disconnected from real truth.

Really good, okay not just good, but really epic, game-changing speaking possesses a shamanic quality—both for the speaker, who somehow has discovered his or her truth, and for an audience who said speaker is able to facilitate breakthroughs for. When people tell me that they are scared of public speaking, while I can of course empathize given my own struggles for years in this area (and because I still am working through going into my default mode of trying to “save” people from discomfort while understanding it’s necessary for them), I also know the real issue is that the person before me is circling the perimeter of what s/he was born to say. For when we are conduits for truth, there simply isn’t room for ego or nervous sensation to cohabitate.

A lot of the women at last month’s MasterTreat, irrespective of faith, had these kinds of holy speaking experiences where they became channels for a message larger than themselves.

Las Vegas MasterTreat 2015

Las Vegas MasterTreat 2015

From Shannon Elhart, whose equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-expanding story of birthing a child she knew she would lose freed her from a lifetime of trying to stuff down her suffering—to Kathy Kortes-Miller, a palliative care expert fresh off earning her doctorate, who brings passion and skill to teaching others how to facilitate conscious, compassionate and clear conversations about death and what we want for our dying, these women reverberated with the Truth (with a big T). They made us laugh, cry and drop from our heads into our bodies and souls as we received them and their messages.

Other women, like Chris Darling and Marcie Mauro, showed up millimeters away from their truth. From trusting me, their fellow emerging soul-stirring speakers and the process, within 24 hours they were giving arm hair lifting, tour-de-force talks on how to support people with mental illness and how to play nicely with the resistance that so often emerges when we are a heartbeat away from realizing our dreams.

This is why, less than a month since the weekend, these entrepreneurs, academics and thought leaders have booked TEDx talks, presented keynotes, spoken on prestigious panels and completely redesigned their offerings around their “ideas worth spreading.”

We want the truth.

We can handle the truth.

And we are done with subsisting on others’ half-truths and clever, but ultimately empty, communication.

What is the message you are put on this Earth to speak?

And in the name of all that is sacred, when will you surrender to your “call” and speak it?

Freedom—in our heads, in our hearts, in our bodies, in our work and in every facet of our life—emanates from speaking our real truth, our full truth, and inviting other people, once and for all, to do the same.

Coming Up in the Land of Lex

A quick reminder that my webinar (which is going to feel more like a webi-jam), How to Build Your Freedom Lifestyle Through Speaking with Natalie Sisson, is just around the corner. Natalie and I are teaming up on Monday, April 13 at 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern for a fun, informative conversation on how public speaking can be THE way to create freedom in all areas of your life.

Natalie has been using multiple streams of speaking revenue to grow her multiple six-figure business and reach her global audience, and during this hour together we’ll be talking about:

  • How speaking can enable you to live and work from anywhere
  • How to position yourself as the go-to person in your niche and secure plum, paid speaking gigs
  • How you can use live webinar trainings to build your freedom business
  • Why launching and growing a podcast can lead to a big increase in your speaking opportunities (Natalie’s podcast reaches 30,000+ entrepreneurs each week!)
  • How Natalie’s Freedom Plan can support you as an entrepreneur, especially if speaking is one of your business, life and adventure goals

Natalie is the real deal. Not only does she get paid to speak at events all over the world, she’s also written a #1 bestselling book on creating a freedom-based business, produces and hosts an award nominated podcast that 30,000+ people listen to weekly, and she has created an international community of freedom fighters in over 140 countries who are creating their own Freedom Plans.

Join us by signing-up now for How to Build Your Freedom Lifestyle Through Speaking.

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I’m So Over the Posturing

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.48.34 AMCan I share a secret with you?

I don’t naturally have good posture. I love this picture of me from when I was 5 or 6 months pregnant. I’m doing my thing…and my shoulders are unapologetically crooked.

Despite starting ballet classes at 4 and dancing at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School as a tween, I’m typically my most comfortable when my back is propped up in bed with a pillow or I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor, hunched a bit over my laptop.

A family member once told me as a girl, “nobody will take you seriously unless you have good posture.” While I actually have no relationship with this family member anymore (for reasons that have nothing to do with his beliefs on my posture), his words have haunted me throughout my life.

I’ve been complimented dozens of times for my “great posture.” And to be sure, a long neck and open chest have their place. On stage. In a negotiation. But—if posture is always born of pretense rather than from genuine confidence, a solidified sense of self-worth and authenticity—it can be problematic.

Yes, I’m speaking as much from personal as I am from professional experience. For years I suffered from intense shoulder pain, at least in part, from unnaturally performing the part of confident communicator.

My identity has evolved a lot over the last year and a half as a new mom—and as a corporate consultant who is now playing in the online self-development space. To support my transitions, I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in a lot of expert’s newsletters and promotional campaigns.

And even as my success has undeniably scaled, at moments so quickly it makes me quaver, so much of what I’ve been reading has been making me feel slimy. Not because the copy isn’t smart or at times super clever. Rather, because I can’t help imagine myself reading it a few years ago and thinking, “This would have made me feel really, really lousy about myself. It would have thrown me into feeling sucker punched by the inevitable self-comparisons I would have drawn.”

The curious part of me may enjoy hearing how someone went from being $50K in debt to making $500,000 in a year. Or how someone quadrupled her list through such and such list building strategy. Or [insert brag of your choosing].

But I find the “I came from modest beginnings” to the “I’m now so special” over sharing counter productive to lifting other people up and into their greatness.

This kind of communication happens in my corporate life as well. Plenty of leaders do the ‘humble brag’ in hopes of inspiring their managers or employees to up their game. And I’ve seen it work. At least for a time. Until people realize they haven’t transformed their sense of self and have reverted back into old habits and behaviors. And in many cases, did not develop the skills necessary to catalyze an enriched sense of self.

What might happen if we allowed ourselves to be comfortable sharing the less sensational highs and lows of our experiences—be it in our online or face-to-face communication, or in our presentations and workshops?

I’m still processing my takeaways from my MasterTreat a couple of weekends ago. One of my many discoveries is that when you live and learn with a group of people over a few days, when they see you in your mouth guard and fury sheep pajama bottoms at the start and end of the day, there’s not a lot of room for posturing. And it’s so flippin’ refreshing.

It gives us license to have real, soul-centered conversations about where we are. About what’s working. About what’s not. And it enables us to hold ourselves to our own, individualized high standard of excellence—without feeling like everyone else is ‘crushing it’ because of some secret posture they’ve developed that we must too.

And it’s through eliminating the posturing that we give ourselves the ability to stand tall, and sing our song in our real voice.

Over the next few weeks, I’ve got some fun and effective opportunities for you to continue to hone your message and align it with opportunities that let you shine. Your way.

In chronological order…

  1. I’m excited to present my live, virtual training, Boost Your Financial Bottom Line Through Speaking on Tuesday, March 31. I’ll be sharing how to create multiple streams of meaningful speaking revenue, the exact materials you need to get on the speaking circuit and how to build your platform as a speaker—without feeling like you have to compromise your message or your integrity. I’m giving away one speaking strategy consult during each of the presentations (12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern + 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern) – which I haven’t done in years even though my spotlight speaking mentorship is currently full. I just know that too many bright, necessary voices are mired in confusion about how to start, how to scale and how to sustainably monetize. And I want to change that. Register for the webinar here.
  1. Between planning 10 face-to-face session days each year for my Influencer Academy and my recent MasterTreat (and a new one coming in October 2015), my head is frequently steeped in designing, delivering and facilitating transformational, content-rich events. Powerful events don’t just pack a room, they change a room. Whether you are on stage or in the center of a room leading, it’s a phenomenal feeling to be the catalyst for your audience members’ or participants’ learning and growing. I want that for you too, which is why I said YES! to being a part of Tai Aracen’s Million Dollar Events Summit. Tai has brought together a powerhouse group of experts, including yours truly, to share with you how to host successful events that IMPACT, CONNECT and increase your PROFITS! Whether your goal is a small VIP retreat, an online virtual event,or huge multi-day conference, through the summit you will learn how to tap into the unique potential of hosting your own events. Register for the summit here.
  1. Finally, save the date—April 13 at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern—for a webinar I’m hosting with Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, on How to Build a Lifestyle of Freedom Through Speaking. I’ll be sharing more details as this date approaches, but I’m too excited for this event not to at least announce it today.

Let’s take responsibility for sitting, standing and living in a posture that feels good for our bodies—and that invites other people to feel good in theirs.

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Here’s Where the “Money” is At

The “money” is in clarity. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me offer some context before I explain further.

I’ve spent most of March steeped in speaking coaching the 15 women who are joining me at the end of this week for my MasterTreat. (This is the house we will be staying in. Gorgeous, right?)

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Several days this month I started coaching as early as 6am, and sans a few mid-day breaks, would coach straight through until 6pm. I can’t imagine anything else I would want to do for such a long stretch of time. (It was a great reminder that it is definitely time to bring back my private speaking coaching and launch speaker mentorship!) I absolutely adore coaching leaders, entrepreneurs, performers and professionals on how to use public speaking to share big ideas, transform lives, inspire action, and build successful businesses and movements.

As I reviewed the manuscripts and footage of my MasterTreaters, right at the same time I was finalizing the slate of speakers for the TEDxWomen event I co-organize and co-host, I observed an unfortunate theme emerging.

I was consistently getting confused. In the details.

I would understand the general arguments being made in the talks I was reading or watching, but I would get lost within the unfolding of main and supporting points. I was often stumped by what I was supposed to take away from the stories being shared.

The most consistently booked—and therefore profitable—speakers may have big ideas, but they know how to communicate them clearly. Every word, every question, every moment of silence and every gesture feels intentionally chosen to help an audience move forward.

We are tasked with weeding through the clutter in order to get to the clarity when presenting our ideas, if we are serious about making back impact with our messages.

In order to build and sustain a thriving career or business, we need to be equally clear about where we are spending our time (the ole, working smart vs. working hard) and how we are investing in, cultivating and maintaining our success.

During the first few years after I left my internal training job, I easily spent 50 to 60 hours a week working on my new consulting business. And although I had clients and enjoyed a variety of wins, I never felt like I was moving (and staying) ahead and building on (and scaling) my success.

I would make $20,000 one month—and then a few hundred dollars the next two months.

I’d onboard 4 or 5 new coaching clients—and then 6 months later they’d all complete at the same time and I’d be scrambling to fill their spots.

I was constantly enrolling in classes and coaching programs that were supposed to help me figure out why I wasn’t earning more money and holding onto the money I was earning. Few did. I kept learning new formulas that didn’t integrate with what I was seeking to do and didn’t deliver the purported results. As a consequence of my seemingly never ending professional development, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend more on my business than I made in my business.

At the root of my struggle, which manifested as sadness, frustration, diminishing self-worth and at time crippling anxiety—lack of clarity about what I really wanted (and the exact steps it really took to make it happen).

What has enabled me to empower my clients’ success is ultimately what is making my business successful—my ability to get clear on the right details.

I know how to take someone’s speaking content and make it a dynamic, full-bodied experience for an audience.

I understand how to create (and attract) speaking opportunities that pay me what I am worth—and show others how to do the same.

And I also know how to create breathtaking results for my business and for my clients by doing the right work in the 25-30 hours per week I choose to work.

Growing up, I was lucky to have parents who constantly praised me for being smart. Unfortunately, it took me almost a decade to act like it with respect to how I developed my career. I want you, wherever you are on your professional journey, to learn from my missteps—and to absorb the learning that has informed my more recent keen decisions. Here’s how…

On March 31, I’m hosting live virtual training, Boost Your Financial Bottom Line Through Speaking.

This will be unlike any virtual training I’ve led as I’ll be sharing the exact steps I’ve taken to build a thriving business with speaking as the foundational income generator. Whether you have your own business or work a j-o-b, if you are hungry to use TED-style talks, keynotes, workshops, webinars or the myriad other speaking platforms to add speaking revenue to your life, you won’t want to miss this event.

We Are Going to Talk About

  • How to make meaningful money as a speaker—without having to compromise your message or your integrity.
  • The essential materials required to book high quality speaking gigs.
  • The top mistakes that rookie and even seasoned speakers make—and how to avoid them.
  • Your questions and concerns on how to develop a thriving speaking career—without going broke (or getting bummed out) in the process.

To register for one of the two virtual live trainings on March 31, click here. Upon registering for Boost Your Financial Bottom Line Through Speaking, I’ll send you my resource worksheet, 7 Ways to Create Multiple Streams of Speaking Revenue.

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I Just Can’t Quit You – why I’m opening up private coaching spots

DSC_0590“Lex, if you want to coach again, just coach again,” my friend—the incredibly talented designer and brand strategist, Suzi Istvan, said.

“But I made such a big deal about not working privately anymore. I don’t want to come across as disingenuous,” I said. (Okay, maybe I didn’t talk so much as whine.)

“A worse lie is preventing yourself from doing something you love—and are good at. Be honest. Your tribe knows your heart. Just tell them you couldn’t quit them.”

And so it is.

I just can’t quit you.

I friggin love supporting my community to step into their power as speakers and leaders.

I love the joy I feel when I see people find their big idea—and parlay it into an epic presentation, workshop, retreat or webinar.

Or how the hairs on my arms stand up when a client crosses a big conference or speakers bureau off of a speaking plan because the dream has been realized.

While sleep is one of the most precious things in my life (and I fought hard to carve out 9 hours for myself the night before writing this, amidst a week where 3 of my daughter’s molars have broken through), I equally love cuddling up in bed with my laptop to watch a client’s speech and prepare feedback and coaching exercises for our next session.

I wholeheartedly enjoy facilitating online learning, leading face-to-face intensives, and working from home with a 13-month old.

What I enjoy considerably less—overcommitting myself, following other people’s formulas, not earning my worth, and exhaustion. (Did I mention I really like to sleep?!)

With all of this in mind, and a summer 2015 digital launch on the horizon, I’ve created 3 ways a few of us can work together this spring beyond my DIY speaking program, Your Spotlight Talk. I want to get my hands on the talks and careers of action taking men and women who are ready to step 100 percent into their moxie and make speaking profitable and pleasurable.

Interested? Ready to co-create with me? Read on…

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Spring Private Speaking Coaching Opportunities

  1. Keynote Creation Jams

Keynote Creation Jams are designed for leaders across industries and sectors who are comfortable speaking but desire an experienced, skilled and creative speaking expert to generate material and rehearse with. They begin with a 1 ½ hour Skype coaching session with me to deep dive into your goals, develop content strategy and curate the right fusion of ideas, stories, experiences and research. Then, depending on the level of support needed, we reconvene virtually between 2-3 more times to refine material, incorporate interactive elements and dial-up your delivery. NYT and Amazon bestselling authors, executives and senior leaders, TED and TEDx speakers, entrepreneurs and business professionals have utilized my speaking coaching to birth epic, game-changing presentations. All Keynote Creation Jams include complimentary access to my digital training program, Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value).

I will be leading 2 Keynote Creation Jams March-April 2015. Apply now. 

Are you looking for more comprehensive and/or ongoing support in achieving your speaking goals?  

Maybe you have been speaking for years and are ready—once and for all—to unlock more high quality opportunities and generate more revenue for your business?

Or perhaps you are brand-spankin’ new to speaking (and maybe you’re own biz). Do you want to come out of the gate strong and avoid the mistakes that too many new speakers make?

It’s also possible that you are somewhere in between.

Have you recently booked some speaking gigs, want more and just know that my passionate, playful and practical speaking coaching is a match for your personality and goals?

If any of these descriptions sound like you, let’s explore spotlight speaking collaboration.

  1. Spotlight Speaking Mentorship

While some of my clients make multiple 5 figures when they deliver a keynote and others exclusively speak at industry events where they present classy offers from the stage, most are doing a combination of keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive workshops, speaking sponsorship, retreats, corporate trainings, webinars and tele-summits. My clients have built a robust network of fellow speakers who they share resources and opportunities with. They know their ‘secret sauce’—and from it they design and deliver epic presentations and opportunities that are shifting the paradigm of how thought leaders share their ideas and engage their audiences.

With Spotlight Speaking Mentorship you have a coach, cheerleader, champion, consultant (and strategist) by your side for an initial period of 6 months to support you in EVERY facet of developing your speaking career—and integrating speaking with your existing business/job and life. Based on your desired results, through my 100 percent customized spotlight speaking mentorship we can:

Co-create a speaking vision that empowers you to achieve and sustain the life and career you desire.

Generate authentic, epic, on-brand speaking content (i.e., keynotes, workshops, seminars and retreats) for live and virtual events. We select sticky titles, co-create jazzy descriptions, curate the right material and activities, finesse your delivery and facilitation, and ensure you get the results you seek.

Identify your target events and put together a submissions calendar.

Sculpt powerful and elegant stage offers that effortlessly convert audience members into clients and engaged community members.

Write the copy for your speaking materials (i.e., speaker one-sheet, speaking web page, and/or workshop and event copy) and identify the content for a speaking reel and/or press kit.

Develop your pitches to event organizers, conference planners and corporate gatekeepers.

Establish and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with fellow speakers and trainers, authors, event planners and HR leaders.

Compile strategies and techniques to play nicely with the sensation that comes up when you think about being seen by an audience and inviting them to take bold action.

Create products and programs that begin where your presentations, workshops and trainings leave off.

Spotlight Speaking Mentorship begins with a VIP Half-Day (virtual or face-to-face in Las Vegas), and then over 6 months we meet via Skype for 2 sessions per month for a total of 12 sessions. All Spotlight Speaking Mentees receive complimentary access to my digital training program Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and Your Spotlight Workshop (to be released July 2015). You have ongoing email access to me between sessions, and I shower you with special goodies designed to enhance your coaching experience and sweeten your path to achieving your dreams.

I will be accepting 5 speaking mentees to begin in March 2015 (1 spot has already been claimed.) Apply now.

  1. Spotlight Speaking VIP Day | 1-Day (and 2 nights) in Las Vegas

During our day together in one of the speaking capitals of the world, my home of sunny Las Vegas (where it has been 70 degrees+ most of February!), we can work intensively on creating your content and rehearsing your delivery/facilitation of a keynote, workshop, retreat or corporate training. We can dive deep into your speaking career strategy and create a funnel for speaking to feed your programs and products. Or we can design an actionable and achievable 6-month or 1-year speaking and leadership development career plan. VIP Days are best for those who have previously invested in a coach, possess a specific agenda, and are independent action takers.

VIP Days include 2 nights in a suite at one of Las Vegas’ finest resorts on the Strip, by the Red Rock Mountains or Downtown (you pick!), all meals during the VIP Day, and car service to and from the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. All Spotlight Speaking VIP participants receive complimentary access to my digital training program Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and Your Spotlight Workshop (to be released July 2015).

I am leading 2 VIP Days April-May 2015. Apply now.

 

I know with absolute certainty that there is no greater way to build a business—or share your ideas to make a big, positive impact and advance your thought leadership—than through public speaking. I also get that a lot of emotion, sensation and mental chatter may be coming up when you think about starting or scaling your speaking.

For years I was under valuing, and as a result under delivering, on my potential as a speaker and thought leader. Days and sometimes weeks before a speaking opportunity I’d be overcome with anxiety and insomnia. Then, when I would speak, my voice would quaver. I’d break out into sweats. I rarely if ever wowed an audience. I didn’t understand how to market myself to corporate audiences. And sometimes I actually paid more to get a speaking gig than I made from it. Many of my clients have been here too.

Check out just a few of the women (and yes, all of these opportunities are for men as well) I’ve supported from the self-doubt (and at times, self-sabotage!) through to big-time success.

 

Alexia is incredible as a coach – strategically, tactically and emotionally. Her presence and guidance are unmatched.

Amy Jo Martin, CEO & Founder Digital Royalty, NYT Bestselling Author and TEDx Speaker

 

I was on the verge of a really good idea that I knew could make a big impact. With Alexia as my guide, I was able to take a very large message with multiple stories and craft it into a masterful work that I’m proud to call my “talk.” Alexia is a beautiful guide, placed on this Earth with a true purpose that is clear–not to make clones of her own voice, but to develop each [person’s] individual voice. Her coaching will push you to your vocal edge gracefully and skillfully. I’m SO jazzed that I now have my story that will change hearts and minds. Thanks Alexia!

Jessica Tomlinson, Radiant Self-Care Coach

 

I’ve had the privilege of working with Alexia and the experience was delicious. I’ve always known that I am a speaker (in the closet!) and after working with Alexia, I can master sharing my story to inspire an audience. When I first came to Alexia I didn’t want to share any personal stories, but through our work I found that I had a chest full of stories that I can share to engage and inspire any audience. Alexia rocks at coaching speakers to reach their full potential. 

Thembi Buthelezi, Founder, Stock Market for Beginners School

 

I have been speaking to audiences for over a decade but had more to learn. Alexia is definitely in her “zone of genius.” She has a compassionate yet powerful, unforgettable way of delivering advice and wisdom. I am forever grateful to Alexia for allowing me the opportunity to learn, cry, share, grow, and expand as a speaker and a human being. I now believe, without a doubt, that my voice has the power to make a difference and help others feel good on this journey through life. 

Heather Criswell, Author, Speaker, Founder of WiseInside.com

 

With Alexia’s help, my speaking evolved into that of a woman who is vulnerable, yet articulate and inspirational. I use my Moxie skills to lead workshops with entire school communities, speak at national conferences, inspire others to articulate their individual core values, and make a difference. With continued guidance and support from Alexia I know that I am on the right path to changing the world one school at a time with the power of my voice!

Sandi Herrera, CEO, Got Core Values and TEDx Speaker

 

If you want to explore private coaching further, please fill out my private coaching interest form, and if we are a fit we’ll get on the phone for a brief Q+A call together.

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Now is your time to be seen

Alexia Vernon Nelson, NV Photo ShootJust remember that the walls you face are not for you.

They are for those who thought the path would be easy.

For those who don’t want it bad enough.

For those who feel their work isn’t important enough to help others step into their moxie.

My husband wrote these words to me this passed Christmas.

At the time I was suffering from a Your Spotlight Talk launch hangover, questioning whether this launch stuff was for me, whether I was making a big enough impact, and how best to steer my ship in the new year.

When we start to stretch out of our comfort zone and try new ways of being.

When we start facilitating “difficult” conversations rather than fearing them.

When we position ourselves for a promotion.

When we acknowledge we have an important message to share and start getting on stage to speak it…

We often feel our power, or our moxie, in these moments. And then, shortly after, our bodies don’t know what to do with all of the new sensation they are experiencing. We can revert back into old paradigms of thinking and behaving. It’s why too many entrepreneurs lose their wealth shortly after creating it. And why new leaders often are let go in just a few years after their promotions.

It’s typically not an under performance issue.

It’s a visibility one.

With a platform comes responsibility. We must get comfortable—mentally and physically—with being seen and not self-sabotage ourselves, and as a result, the people we are serving.

I am blessed to have a husband who truly sees me. My love language is words of affirmation, and my guy knows exactly what to say in those moments when I step back from my power rather than forward into the next layer of it.

And last Sunday, rather than watch the Super Bowl, my husband willingly drove an hour out of Las Vegas to an old ghost town, Nelson, to shoot hundreds of new photos for me. For my business. In order for me to be able to launch new programs and websites.

He sees my vision, and my capacity to deliver on it, even when I don’t.

I want you to know that I see yours.

When you know you are under earning, at your job or in your business, I’m there pushing you to ask for more.

When you have an idea for a project or a program that defies the mold of what has been done, I’m there whispering for you to be a renegade and try it.

And when you envision yourself stepping onto the stage, and just thinking about the eyes of your audience members makes you sweat, I am there too. I’m reminding you to breathe, make eye contact, and mentally say “thank you” for this opportunity to receive the attention of an audience—an audience who is hungry for you to satiate them with your wisdom. And wit.

This is your time.

To ask for more.

To try what hasn’t been done before.

To step into the spotlight.

To be seen.

4 Opportunities for Visibility

  1. I’m a little over 1 month away from my MasterTreat, a mastermind-meets-retreat for emerging and evolving transformational female speakers. Extraordinary women are coming to mastertreat. Crazy successful entrepreneurs. Authors. Professional speakers and trainers. Nonprofit leaders. Healers. Women, no matter where they are in their careers and businesses, who want my head, heart and soul supporting them to create and refine soul-stirring presentations and develop the strategy and materials to get booked to give them. I have just 2 spots left, and no intention of doing another mastermind on public speaking in 2015. In addition to shared accommodations in a 10,000+ square foot mansion, delicious plant-based food and numerous opportunities for authentic relationship building and self-care, MasterTreat participants receive my virtual TED-style talk development training program, Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and a one-on-one Skype coaching session with me (priceless as I do not offer single coaching sessions). Because I am planning this weekend around the specific needs of MasterTreaters, I am closing registration on Tuesday, February 10. If you want one of the remaining 2 seats, register for the MasterTreat ASAP.
  1. In my last post, I shared the speaker submission guidelines for the TEDxWomen event I host in Las Vegas. There are hundreds of TEDxWomen events happening around the world during TEDWomen 2015, May 28-29. Find an event near you and submit to speak. (Note: You can remove the TEDxWomen filter from this page, and search for traditional upcoming TEDx events as well.)
  1. My friend Selena Soo (a brilliant publicity + business strategist) has created a signature training video revealing the 3 secrets to elevating your brand, supercharging your earnings, and getting big opportunities to be seen and to serve. (Selena started her business with a bang, launching her website with endorsements from people like Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte and editors from places like Oprah Magazine. Selena is the real deal…and an introvert like me!) Access Selena’s FREE Video Training, “Get VIP Access to Media, Influencers + Online Stars” while it’s still available.
  1. For me, a big part of getting comfortable being seen has been working with coaches who see me too. Who see how I was put here to create in the world. And, who are clear on my blind spots and know how to help me troubleshoot them. For anyone wanting to scale his or her consulting success, particularly if s/he wants to do it through high quality media opportunities, there are few, if any, greater, more affordable opportunities to do so than with Peter Shankman. The founder of leading PR service, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), Peter is a wildly successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, NYT bestselling author, and he runs a boutique social media, marketing and PR strategy firm with an unparalleled client list. Peter is coming to Las Vegas on February 10 to lead his one-day mastermind, Shankminds, to support up to 20 entrepreneurs and thought leaders in growing their businesses (quickly), increasing revenue (without taking on crazy new expenses), and harnessing the media for platform building. I’m not an affiliate. I’m paying my way like everyone else who has chosen to attend. I just know this day will help me move through some lingering visibility blocks, and I want everyone looking for an efficient, effective and affordable masterminding opportunity to be aware of it. Learn more and register for Shankminds Vegas.
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Don’t Choke When You Speak

jessie spano“I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so….scared.”

I have always loved the Saved by the Bell episode when Elizabeth Berkley utters these words mid-meltdown. Fortunately, unlike Berkley’s character Jessie Spano, I’ve never had an addiction to caffeine pills; but I have unsuccessfully dated perfectionism most of my life. And there is nowhere a perfectionist’s anxiety surfaces more than in her public speaking.

It’s extraordinary, and I don’t mean in a good way, how when we are on the cusp of saying something big we often amp ourselves up with somewhat manic self-talk.

I’m terrified.

Nobody is going to like this (or me!).

Just try a little harder, Lex. You have to say this better.

Practice one more time. (And by one more, I usually mean 7 more!).

I espouse that the best speaking is extemporaneous—it’s planned, rehearsed, key points (especially engaging questions) are memorized, and then the rest is found in the moment while demonstrating real communion with an audience.

The words we are going to speak out loud are only one facet of our performance. Another, equally important component, are the words we are speaking to ourselves.

Whenever people tell me they are scared of public speaking, or that they choke when they speak (i.e., their voice quavers, they misuse words, or their delivery is stiff), I’m as curious about what they are saying to themselves prior to and while speaking as I am about their content or their speaking style.

The words we speak to ourselves determine the ease with which we deliver our words to an audience.

Nasty self-talk leads to wonky delivery.

To minimize choking when you speak—literally (i.e., too much or too little saliva or difficulty articulating letters and words) or metaphorically (i.e. physiologically going into a fight-or-flight response), every time you practice speaking, also practice the self-talk you want to be performing.

While you may have some positive affirmations such as, “I speak with confidence, clarity, and compassion” or “When I speak, people listen,” prioritize asking a few ‘how’ questions.

How can I make this a fun and worthwhile experience?

How can I trust that I know enough, that I am enough?

How can I choose grace for myself and for my audience?

When we address fear and self-doubt with a ‘how’ question, we remind ourselves that we are the creators of our own reality. We train our minds and our bodies to approach scary situations with calm rather than crazy. We set ourselves up to be focused on our audience, rather than on our ego, when we speak.

We overcome the fear of speaking each time we choose to create and sustain the habit of positive self-talk. And it takes effort, for even the most positive, opportunity-centered person. It actually also takes effort to question our competency and beat ourselves up in the process. We get to choose where we put in the work—to get in the way of our impact as speakers or to facilitate it.

**TEDxFremontEastWomen Auditions**

Las Vegas women, it’s time. On May 29, 2015 I will co-organize and co-host Las Vegas’ third sold-out TEDxWomen event. My partner Jess Tomlinson and I invite you to submit yourself to be considered for 1 of 9 spots to speak.

We are currently on the lookout for local Las Vegas women from across industries and sectors (think Downtown Las Vegas start-up founders to community changemakers to organizational leaders) who have an important “idea worth spreading” they would like to present this spring.

There are 2 ways to be considered for a speaking spot.

  1. Request a spot at our live speaker auditions on Saturday, February 7th from 1-3pm. (Audition spots are filled on a first come, first serve basis. To request one, please grab full details HERE and be on the lookout for an email from us confirming further audition details.)
  1. Submit a video excerpt of your proposed talk, not to exceed 3 minutes. (Note: If choosing this option, please do not submit a talk on another subject. We want to see your presentation delivery and style specific to your proposed “idea worth spreading.”) Details on how to submit HERE.

Good luck!

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New Year’s Resolutions are Crap, as is Some of my Communication

I didn’t create a New Year’s Resolution this year.

And, given that I was on bed rest and 2 days from giving birth to my daughter on January 1, 2014, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a resolution last year.

While having a child born at the start of the year has shaken up my start of the year energy a bit (and for the better), in general early-January is typically one of my least favorite times.

I’m typically sick.

I’ve typically had a little too much sugar.

I’m typically a little blue.

And the whole “this year is going to be better than last” talk often compounds my malaise.

I just want it to be another day. Another week. And the less high stakes I make the start of the year the more quickly I seem to recalibrate and come home to me.

So this year, I’ve focused my attention a little differently.

I got off of my computer for 2.5 days. (This is HUGE for me.)

I re-prioritized the feng shui of my house with my guru (who I’m lucky also to call my aunt and godmother), Elaine Giftos Wright.

And I’ve gone through some self-imposed audits—on finances, and most of all, in my communication.

How is my communication with my husband? Where are we strong—and where can we grow? 

How is my communication with my team? Where are we strong—and where can we grow?

And, I bet you can see where this is going…

How is my communication with MYSELF? Where am I strong—and where can I grow?

My communication audit has been illuminating. I’ve discovered, and in some cases rediscovered, the following.

  1. When I feel stuck I tend to make myself feel more stuck by forcing a solution, and then another solution, rather than giving myself some mental freedom so that an answer can emerge organically.
  1. When I choose fear over faith I become an over talker. And I force the people around me, irrespective of their communication preferences, to over talk with me.
  1. When I bring humor into my communication with myself, my honey, and my Alexia Vernon Empowerment wingwomen, my communication is actually clearer and more compassionate. My public speaking is more creative and my calls to action are more purposeful and passionate.

As you go into 2015, if you are someone who wants to be mindful without living in your head, and if you want to enhance your communication without feeling like you are committing to one more forced exercise or cliché new year ritual, I encourage you to answer the 3 questions I posed above.

Our communication is one of the greatest predictors of our achievements and are feelings about them.

And how we communicate in one sphere of our life often dictates how we speak to ourselves in others.

Identify your communication habits.

Do more of what works.

Less of what doesn’t.

And if you’re strapped for time and want to make this all even simpler, bring more laughter into your communication. Your self-talk, interpersonal communication, and public speaking will be better for it.

While I’m honest about where my communication can go a little wonky, fortunately I’ve also gotten very clear on my ‘secret sauce’ as a speaker. Want to discover yours?

Join me on Thursday, January 15th at 12pm pst for my first live virtual training of the year, How to Find Your ‘Secret Sauce’ as a Speaker.

For about an hour, I’ll share:

  • How to gussy up your genius so you’re not just the smartest guy or gal speaking in your space—but also the most memorable (and profitable!)
  • Actionable (and effective) tips to make speaking creative and fun (for you and your audiences!)
  • Why building relationships with speakers is one of the BEST ways to book yourself solid as a speaker

I’m also giving away a SUPER SPECIAL BONUS and you have to be on the live training to be in the running for it (BUT…there will be a replay for 48-hours afterwards in case you can’t make it live and still want to access the training).

Register for my free live public speaking training HERE.

I’m wishing you a conscious and creative start to 2015.

Remember, a new year is just that. A new year. What matters is how you show up to your life the 350+ days of the year when the hype has died down that really dictates your success and life satisfaction.

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Lessons in Living & Speaking from a Head-on Collision…That Wasn’t (plus a full tuition scholarship opportunity)

If we’re Facebook friends you might have read about my almost (and fortunately not quite!) head-on collision with a vehicle going the wrong way down a one-way street last week. While my car and my person may not have physically felt the impact, the latter has certainly experienced the impact personally, professionally, and spiritually.

I’m ready to slow down…and speak up.

About 15 seconds or so passed between realizing a vehicle was barreling towards me, honking with everything in me, and the other car quickly stopping so that I (and the other vehicles behind and next to me) could go around. During this time I did the cliché thinking and questioning we believe we are supposed to do in such a situation.

What am I grateful for? 

What do I want my legacy to be?

How will this impact my family—particularly my daughter?

What did I never have the chance to say?

Okay, most people may not ask that last question, but it’s been the one that has really dug deep into my psyche over the last few days.

Despite having a really unhealthy affair with busyness over the last few months, I consistently take stock of what I’m grateful for, I’m clear on my work in the world, and I know that it would be devastating for my family if my daughter was without her mother. I also know that most moments since my near collision I have experienced much more fully. As I said on Facebook, I’ve felt them in HD, 3D. I’ve felt every edge of them. I’ve committed to creating more days full of color, sensation, contribution, wonder, gratitude, and divinity.

Which brings me back to that fourth nagging questions about what I haven’t yet had a chance to say.

There’s been a lot of hateful discourse going on lately in the U.S. In our streets. In our living rooms. On our TV’s. In our government. And this nastiness is certainly spreading to our neighbors throughout the world.

This hateful rhetoric has not consumed my attention and energy as much as I’d like it to—and yet, nonetheless, I have had lots to say about it…. But haven’t spoken up as loudly as I want to be.

I once got an email from someone on my newsletter list telling me I was too political. Even though it was over 6 years ago, the comment embedded deep in my subconscious and my ego, and as a result I just haven’t gone “there.”

But here’s the thing I know—heck, I teach—that the stuff we were born to say is usually going to turn some people off. And…because it’s scary, necessary, and us being most in our zone of genius—it’s going to turn some people on. Wayyyyyyy on!

So while I promise I won’t tell you who to vote for in the next election or what I think of Congress’ newest budget, I will tell you what I think about how we’re treating each other—at work, at home, and in our communities.

As long as one person is racist, we all are a little racist.

As long as one person is sexist, we all are a little sexist.

As long as one person is homophobic, we all are a little homophobic.

It’s our collective consciousness that sows the seeds of oppression.

What we are thinking as individuals impacts what we see in the world.

What we say, or don’t say, matters.

When we see police brutality, rape, bullying, and other violence in our news it can be an invitation for apathy or a call to action.

We must think peace. Teach peace. Practice peace. Speak peace.

If we want a more conscious, creative, and compassionate world we will build it.

One word at a time.

I began my career in the social change sector, and I’m deeply committed to ensuring that those with a big message—who are building movements and engaged in important work that is creating positive and sustainable economic, social, and environmental results—are confident and competent with a mic in hand.

I want to play a role in more people integrating entrepreneurship with social impact.

I want to play a role in more young women like Malala Yousafzai demanding the right to a full education.

I want to play a role in more people relaxing into the fear that often comes up when they think about speaking to audiences—whether that’s a TEDx audience or an audience of funders or potential donors—so that they can leave the legacy they were put here to make.

And that’s why I’m sponsoring a full tuition scholarship for my March 13-15, 2015 MasterTreat in Las Vegas. A mastermind-meets-retreat for transformational speakers, the MasterTreat is a unique opportunity for women seeking to develop, practice, and refine their big talks, develop the strategy to get the right high quality bookings, and relax and restore in a community of other game-changing female business and thought leaders. You can get full details about the MasterTreat here.

Alexia Vernon's MasterTreat

Through December 23, 2015 at 5pm pst, I’m accepting nominations for a female changemaker who is using her voice, her work, her life to make the world a better place. One woman will be picked and receive the entire MasterTreat weekend for FREE so that she can start or scale her speaking and touch more lives.

To nominate yourself or another woman you know who could really benefit from this luxurious, intensive, and effective weekend with just up to 19 other trailblazers, submit your nomination here.

What I want for you as you close out this year —whether it was an epic one for you like it was for me, or perhaps one of those years you’re just glad is behind rather than in front of you—is to remember that whomever you are, wherever you are, you have a voice. You have a viewpoint—most likely lots of viewpoints—on everything from what belongs in a holiday meal (I’m personally a little miffed more restaurants don’t serve turkey on Christmas) to how to apply conscious capitalism within your business. (As for that latter one, I’m currently researching best practices for a possible new project, so if you’ve got some please do send them my way.)

Please, don’t wait to share what you know at the core of your being you were meant to say.

After all, each day aren’t we all possibly living on borrowed time?

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  • Sample Praise for Alexia

    “Alexia is one strong woman helping women to achieve their goals.”
    Ronnie Cho | The White House Office of Public Engagement

    “I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for what you were able to do to help me with my public speaking abilities! You have my eternal gratitude for finally getting me over my near-paralyzing fear of speaking.”
    Tanya Murray | Realty Executives of Nevada

    "Alexia is unlike any other speaker or presenter I’ve ever seen. She embodies the very best of her generation and showed me a range of strategies I can use in preparing my students to be leaders in the workplace.”
    Dr. Joseph Bonnici | Central Connecticut University

    "Alexia is revolutionizing how we prepare nurses for the demands of the workplace in Nevada. She truly understands how to grow a new generation of ethical, high-impact communicators and leaders.”
    Doug Geinzer | Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition

    “Alexia is a tremendous coach and speaker. 100% of our group in post surveys commented that the workshop was valuable and uplifting.”
    Kristen Baldwin | Step Up Women’s Network

    "What I love and appreciate about Alexia is her ability to pinpoint your style and strengths as a communicator as well as the little nuances that get you in the way of your power. She gives you very detailed ways to make new changes and enhance your natural communication style."
    Christina Ambubuyog | I Love Intuition