The most difficult part for me before I even stepped on the stage to speak for the first time was asking for what I needed to be successful. Akeelah and the Bee is a movie about a young girl who finds spelling comes easy to her even though she doesn’t feel supported by her peers or her family. She ultimately is given a coach that takes her under his wing. My favorite part is when the coach announces he has done all he can do and Akeelah needs to discover on her own how to be successful at the National Spelling Bee. She feels defeated until she realizes that everyone around her could be her coach— she just needs to ask for their help.
For most of us, this is the hardest part. We think we need to do it on our own. I know for me the most difficult part of preparing to speak wasn’t writing the story or changing it to fit the time constraints or practicing it over and over. To me, the hardest part was creating a mindset around being successful- which meant asking for what I needed. (And, believe me, I needed a ton of things!) I needed encouragement, energy work, experiences in front of an unknown audience and to deliver my entire story to friendly faces several times! Every person I asked gave what they could or the time that they had. I held the belief that everyone was “conspiring for me” and that made all the difference. Before I take the SpeakUp! stage again on September 17, I know I will need to take time to connect inward and to spend time in nature. This is what I need to be my best self. When you are planning your week, make space to connect to what lights you up inside. You are the only one who knows what you really need at this moment in time.