Working with Fear with Amanda Tobe

ON THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we’re joined by Amanda Tobe, who takes us on a transformative journey through the world of conquering fear and becoming a fearless leader in the workplace.

Amanda begins by sharing her inspiring story of what led her to venture into this new field, offering valuable insights into her personal journey and the pivotal moments that shaped her path. Explore how fear can manifest in the workplace as Amanda delves into this topic, shedding light on the various ways it can impact our professional lives and how we can recognize and address it effectively.

Leadership often entails public speaking, and Amanda takes a deep dive into the different types of public speaking that leaders encounter. Discover valuable strategies to excel in these situations. Amanda also explores the critical distinction between tolerating discomfort and overriding fear, providing practical advice for managing fear in a way that empowers you.

ABOUT THE GUEST
Amanda Tobe

Amanda Tobe, drawing upon her five years of HR experience in the corporate world, embarked on a transformative career shift back to her original passion, public speaking. Specializing in combating performance anxiety, including public speaking and interview jitters, Amanda empowers professionals, leaders, and students to bolster their career confidence. Her expertise spans assertiveness training, emotional intelligence development, and effective communication, assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in honing their communication prowess.

SHOW NOTES

Leadership often entails public speaking, and Amanda takes a deep dive into the different types of public speaking that leaders encounter. Discover valuable strategies to excel in these situations. Amanda also explores the critical distinction between tolerating discomfort and overriding fear, providing practical advice for managing fear in a way that empowers you.

Learn how to harness the physical symptoms of fear to become more activated and in control, turning fear into a source of strength. Discover the initial steps to managing physiological symptoms and how to ride the wave of emotions, transforming fear into a catalyst for personal and professional growth.

For executives and leaders grappling with the fear of public speaking, Amanda shares key aspects of overcoming this challenge, equipping you with the tools to confidently address this common fear. Amanda also delves into the emotions that lie at the heart of our fears, helping us understand and address the root causes that often hold us back.

Prepare for the unexpected by creating a Plan B in case things don’t go according to plan, and explore Amanda’s four-step process for processing emotions effectively.

Join us for an enlightening conversation with Amanda as we uncover the secrets to conquering fear, becoming a confident leader, and embracing the power of emotions in the workplace.

We talk about:

  • [3:40] What inspired her to get into this new field

  • [5:05] How fear shows up in the workplace

  • [7:10] The different types of public speaking as a leader

  • [11:20] Tolerating discomfort vs. overriding fear

  • [14:00] Getting activated by physical symptoms of fear

  • [16:30] One of the first ways to manage physiological symptoms

  • [18:00] Learning to ride the emotion wave

  • [25:50] Challenging fear of public speaking amongst executives

  • [31:30] Key aspects of navigating big emotions

  • [32:10] The emotions that are at the heart of what we’re afraid of

  • [34:05] Creating plan b in case things don’t go according to plan

  • [35:15] Four steps for processing emotions

  • [47:05] A moment where she really learned a lot about herself

  • [50:00] A practice or ritual that keeps her nervous system calm and regulated

  • [52:10] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than herself

TRANSCRIPT
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 Carolyn: 

My guest today is Amanda Taube. Amanda is a Toronto based psychologist, passionate about helping her clients build purposeful careers with less fear. Amanda had five years of HR experience in the corporate world and then made a major career change that led her back to her original passion. Which was public speaking.

She now specializes in helping professionals, leaders, and students with performance anxiety, i. e., public speaking or interviews, and she supports clients in building their confidence in their careers and in how they speak. From assertiveness skills to emotional intelligence training, she supports individuals, teams, and organizations to hone the strengths they need to communicate with confidence and distinction.

Have you ever been in a meeting and looked around and feel like everybody else is just so much more articulate than you that they just seem to flow with their thoughts and ideas or perhaps you’ve seen somebody speak and they just seem completely fearless and they’re so they’re so in flow. Well, what you are going to learn about in my conversation with Amanda today is that.

Fear is a real thing and to be able to have this presence, in meetings, in speaking around other people, it’s not about learning to be fearless. It’s about learning how to fear less. And Learning how to override the fear. So we’re going to get really practical, we’re going to hear about some of the great insights and techniques that Amanda uses with her clients.

So this episode, if you are somebody who attends meetings and, participates in meetings, if you have to speak in front of other people, this episode’s for you. You’re going to find out some really cool things.

Well, Hello, Evolve listeners. It’s time for another episode of Evolve, a new era of leadership.

My guest today is Amanda Tobe. Amanda, welcome to the show. 

Amanda: Thank you so much for having me, Carolyn. I am a huge fan of your podcast, so I’m really excited to be here 

Carolyn: today. Thank you. Now, Amanda, I thought you would be a great fit for the show because you have a pretty diverse background, and one that includes working in the corporate, in the business world, and then you did a bit of a career shift, and, got Some training in, in another area.

And that’s what we’d like to explore today is you’ve got this unique blend of corporate experience, but then also how can we work with people to help them understand this relationship with fear? So why don’t we just start off? 

Can you just share a little bit about why you wanted to transition into this new role?

What inspired you to go into this new field? 

Amanda: Okay, so for those of you who don’t know who are listening, so I’m an organizational psychologist and I actually, my background is in corporate, as Carolyn said. And on my second maternity leave, I started asking myself the bigger questions around, am I doing what I’m truly passionate about?

Anyways, I’m going to fast forward a little bit, but the short story is that I ended up pursuing my license as an organizational psychologist because I really wanted to help professionals. override their fears in pursuit of a career that they love, but specifically within that, I really wanted to help people manage the fear of public speaking because it’s something that I’ve also dealt with myself.

So it was one of those situations or stories about turning your own pain into purpose. And so it’s two pains. One pain was the public speaking. And then the second pain was feeling like I wasn’t aligned in my career. So I think. Both of those things I was able to turn into a purpose because the second part of also what I do, my work is help people navigate career searches and career pivots like that.

Okay. Yeah. 

Carolyn: That’s the organizational psychologist pieces is where we found our interconnection. So I’m not licensed as a psychologist, but I do have a master’s in organizational psychology. So, Listeners, we might geek out a little bit in some uh, Some academia there. So can you speak a little bit about 

Why fear? Like, What did you notice about fear showing up in the workplace? Because, some people listening might be like, I’m not afraid to walk into my workplace. What did you notice about fear when you were back in those days? 

Amanda: So what I noticed is that there are for dominant fears that I see a lot of in my work and also myself my own previous experience, too.

And there will be fears like a fear of negative evaluation, which means for example, worrying about being liked by other people. Yeah a fear of failure, which I think a lot of listeners would relate to. For example, just worrying about like What’s going to happen if I don’t do a good job of this presentation, right?

What if I can’t execute in my job? And then there’s two other really interesting fears around. One is like a fear of having power, which I think a lot of listeners also might be interesting to explore as it pertains to leadership, because some people are really afraid to assume. Assume those leadership rules because wait a minute, I’m the one who’s in the spotlight and I’m the one who’s gonna be looked at for the, as the authority figure or as the expert on that topic.

And then the fourth fear, Carolyn, that is really, I think, a little bit unique to those with a fear of public speaking is a fear of losing control. Oh yeah. And fear of losing control. It’s all about, for people with the fear are gonna relate, but it’s all about. having these physiological sensations in the moment and feeling like I’m not in control of my body.

I’m not in control of what I’m saying. I’m having, it could be like, feel like a blackout moment for people. He could feel like they’re going, yeah. So going blank, experiencing disassociation and what some people will refer to as like a panic attack, even though that might not necessarily fit the classical bill of a panic attack, but something along those lines.

Carolyn: So Let’s connect the dots here. when we talk on this podcast, we’re talking about leadership and I want to make it really clear. Anybody can be a leader. In fact, when I walk into any workplace, I don’t look around and ask for the org chart. I just look in and I’m like, everyone in here is a leader.

When I hear the word public speaking, I also think that just means like speaking in a, in a team meeting, for example. So is that fair to say, like when we talk about your work and where you’re specializing in, it’s not necessarily standing up on, in front of a thousand people or 2000 people or 500.

Is public speaking as a leader? Could it be speaking up in a meeting, for example, 

Amanda: Yes, absolutely. It is. Speaking up in any kind of meeting. And so what I often say to people is that can mean that you’re leading or facilitating the meeting and a lot of people will come to me who are interested in working together and will say well, I’m not necessarily sure I’m going to be on stage that much or have a TED talk or a keynote, but it’s just like an everyday situation at work where it’s like they may feel apprehensive about speaking up for fear of being judged or what are the Social costs to me and not doing a good job of sharing my thoughts, opinions or ideas.

And so what I was going to Also share with you is that I got goosebumps when you were just talking about that everybody is a leader because I think that one of the things that really holds people down with this fear is feeling like this person we look up to people in God like ways or feeling like that person’s an authority figure.

They’re better than I am. They hold the keys to my feet, to my future or my destiny. And sometimes just feeling like they’re above me and so worried, like sometimes the threats will be perceived as higher. because that person is in a leadership role. So I really love kind of your notion about just like everybody are leaders here.

Yeah. 

Carolyn: And it’s hard though. We can’t forget the fact that there are going to be power dynamics based on positional based on positions and reporting structures. But I always, I just assume that everybody has that same mindset that everyone’s a leader. So I always like to just sort of level set because that’s not everybody’s experience. We’ve established that everyone’s a leader, so if you’re listening to this podcast and you are in a workplace where you have to collaborate with other people, be in a team meeting, this topic of public speaking and how fear gets in the way of our ability to speak, it applies to you. It applies to anybody who’s in a meeting or speaking in a more formal way.

Amanda: Yeah. Or in job interviews. I see a lot of that as well. 

Carolyn: Yeah. Okay. So where do you want to start with this? Because this is where you specialize, right? In working with people to help them overcome or work. I won’t say, is it overcome the right word or is it working through the fear? 

Amanda: So working through the fear and specifically, I prefer the word.

override my fears versus overcome the fears. And that was part of a conversation that you and I had previously, Carolyn, it was just around this idea that I’m really working with people to work to fear less rather than in the words of Taylor Swift to be fearless. I really find that, this it really reinforces the idea that what they’re feeling is a really bad thing. And we, as we know, the most seasoned speakers in the world still get nervous. It’s just that they don’t have this panic response to the nervous butterflies that they’re feeling. They’ve come to expect them versus having this reaction to response to what was that?

I don’t like that feeling. 

Carolyn: So it’s fair to say we don’t want to push the fear away. We want to learn to learn to, as you said, overcome it, override it. But it’s not about making the fear go away, right? It’s not that we want fear to stop. 

Amanda: It’s very much of an acceptance based approach to this is where I tend to like to go with it is words like let’s try to manage the fear and override it Might still mean for somebody that I’m experiencing some nervousness and some fear, but it’s not going to influence my decisions to show up or to participate.

It’s like I’m still going to do it even if I’m feeling some fear. It’s like my passion for this or my desire to share or to connect is going to trump the fear. 

Carolyn: And I think there’s a fine line between Finding safety and shutting down because the fear is there to protect us.

There’s a fine line, I think, between that and tolerating some discomfort and learning how to override the fear. So I just, I want to acknowledge that is that in your, like in your, with your perspective, am I on point there with that? 

Amanda: For sure. And also, as you mentioned the word safety, it’s another word that I find is extremely important to help people.

With this is to start to feel safe in those moments, for example, when their hearts are racing, when they’re feeling those panicked types of responses is we have to start to fill our minds with what I call like positive safety statements of For example, I’m going to be okay no matter what is one of my personal favorites, and so I come back to that rather than getting carried away by the spiral of doom or the spiral of fear and going down that path, it’s continuing to commit to a mindset of I am safe.

I’m okay. So rather than scaring that amygdala further, the amygdala is You know, one of the Porsche, the parts of the brain that is really involved in what we call the emotional control center. That’s a really primitive part of the brain that’s responsible for that fight or flight response.

So rather than telling that amygdala like this, it’s a really dangerous situation. We need to start to tell ourselves like, I’m okay, I’m not in danger. This is not physical danger. So sometimes our minds, as we have evolved, have just been a bit confused that this is not, Physical danger here because for a lot of people what’s really interesting is that when you look at fear is about imminent danger and fear says do something, right?

And so people feel this need to like fight, flight, freeze, flee like something. And so one of the trickiest things to navigate and But where like the biggest ROI comes from, I think, for people is like learning to say like, I’m not in danger. I’m okay. And I don’t need to do anything, 

Carolyn: right? And knowing that there’s two sides to that sword, right?

Is that fear is there to protect you. And sometimes we need to know when that is there to protect us. And when do we again, I’ll come back to your word work. I’ve used the word work through it. Is it, one of the things that, Carolyn’s perspective is that’s a very delicate switch and sometimes we can learn to just override it in times when maybe we shouldn’t be overriding it.

It’s one extreme. And then other times where we just like anything that feels remotely uncomfortable Oh, I can’t speak. Yeah. No, I can’t. I can’t say anything. 

Because we get activated by that, those physical symptoms of fear. 

Amanda: Yeah, I love the word activated. Because I think that’s what it is that people have this moment of feeling like I’m in the spotlight.

So I think there’s a lot of reframing that has to happen. And actually, one of the things that I’m a really big fan of is starting to work on the semantics and nomenclature around how we Assign meaning and refer to what we’re feeling. So what I mean by that is rather than calling it performance anxiety, can we call it performance energy?

Oh, love that. Yeah, or rather than calling it A symptom. We call it a sensation. So just starting to make those small shifts, you see how so part of my goal with people is to help them become more neutral to the sensations that they’re having. As you’re right, there are certain times when it’s a good thing to feel activated to do something, but rather than to have this response.

So for a lot of people with this, It’s that their hearts will race and then they’ll have this response of, Oh no, my heart’s racing. And it’s like their eyes widen and it’s like the whole fear response starts to kick in. So part of my goal is to help people work towards being more neutral to that response.

Be like, my heart is racing and that’s okay. And 

Carolyn: that’s that neutralizes it a little bit. So we don’t go into like want to run. 

Amanda: So it’s all about that neutralization of it versus rather than because the, You know, fear will continue to respite over like, Oh my gosh, what does that mean? And we, so for a lot of people what we do is we’re interpreting the symptoms, the sensations as being a really bad thing. So that’s where we really have to help people for a lot of people. It’s usually this, it’s both it’s physiological symptoms and cognitive ones. Okay. But for a lot of people, it ties back to that fear we, we mentioned earlier around the fear of losing control.

So if we can start to tackle, there’s a few pieces to this puzzle. Yeah. One of them being the physiological and then the second one being around the cognitive symptoms, thoughts, mindset pieces, which we can also talk about here. Yeah. 

Carolyn: Wow. And so what would be one of the first things that you would Well, let’s say you’re working with me, for example, even though I’ve never, my mom will tell you, I’ve never had a problem speaking.

There was one time she saw me speechless and it’s when I met my childhood idol, who was Donny Osmond, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that. But she’s that’s the only time I ever heard you speechless. But let’s say I came to you, I was a client of yours. 

And what would, what, one of the first things you would share with me or help me with to help me manage that physiological symptom?

Let’s say my heart started racing really fast. 

Amanda: So the first step, actually, when I work with somebody, whether it’s one on one or within my group, is that I have developed this worksheet called Unpacking the Fear. And so we do a really deep dive into what is the presentation, manifestation, and experience of fear.

What that fear feels like and looks like to you. So it’s questions like, what am I really afraid of and really working to get to the root of that? It’s questions like, as I mentioned before, what are those physiological symptoms? What are the cognitive ones? What are the thoughts that you’re experiencing on overdrive both before and during and the situational triggers?

There’s lots of different questions as part of that form. But what the goal is to start to look at, okay, so what are some of the thoughts? As we tackle the mindset piece of this, we really have to start working on the thoughts. But one of the other strategies and places that I think binds a lot of people is learning to ride the wave.

So what’s your response going to be instead to that? As I said before, that negative reaction of, Oh no, there it is again. For a lot of people, there’s a big light bulb moment when we go run through that exercise of what does it look like to ride the wave instead? So here’s what your status quo is.

Okay. Yep. How do we start? How do we want to visualize that response to look differently? 

So there’s a few steps that I take people through with that. Step number one is really learning to ride the wave. We talk about also really important skills like tolerating unpleasant emotions, which is an emotional capacity issue, which people are often surprised is part of what this public speaking is all about.

It’s there are some feelings and emotions that are probably just really hard for you. That are actually just part of what’s driving this fear 

Carolyn: let’s talk about that a little bit later Because I want to dig into that a little bit more some of those Unpleasant emotions and I know you recommended a book that I went out and bought so so let’s acknowledge that we’re gonna look into the emotions And we’ll circle back to that content where then do we go?

Like when does the physiological like when do we tie the physiological response into that? Is that sort of the third thing? 

Amanda: So it’s not necessarily in that kind of order, okay? I think what’s important to look at is Before enduring so before is like how are we gonna try to prep your nervous system?

Before public speaking, before a public speaking event or a meeting, and there are certain things that I like to say to try to incorporate as part of what I call your daily physio. Okay. And there are certain things that I’m like, save this for a special public speaking event. Let’s say just so for example, part of your daily physio might be something like, so for example, I’m prone to sometimes slur my words.

So part of my daily physio would be some vocal warmups. Oh. Right? Yeah. 

Carolyn: Is that like the like a whole slew of M’s in pronouncing things like with really real clarity? Yeah. 

Amanda: So for example, if we’re looking to slur your words, it’s sometimes you getting lazy with your tongue and just not being able to like, that way.

So one thing to do around that could be like tracing the alphabet with the end of your tongue. So it looks like this like, 

Carolyn: Oh wow. So I just got up to letter C and that just loosens it up. It opens 

Amanda: it up. Yeah. So a lot of even speech therapists I believe will say, let’s just put your tongue out like, like just stretching your tongue.

Yeah. Yeah. So that is something that should be part of my daily physio. But if you don’t slur your words. You don’t necessarily need to when, so part of the work that I do with people is like, I obviously have to tailor some of the strategies depending on what the person experiences. Some people get really also feel nauseous prior to.

So like what I’ve learned actually, and we found this out through my, my master’s research on interview anxiety is just how variable the symptoms are that people experience with. With like public speaking anxiety so for the one symptom that tends to bind people would be your heart racing but ones like shortness of breath some people turn around the face others don’t You know, some people get nauseous, others don’t.

Some people get a high pitched voice, others don’t. So all these types of variations in the presentation are gonna affect what the protocol and the daily physio, what I like to call for that individual. So daily physio is part of it. And then what I would say is there’s other types of strategies that I say for public speaking events.

For example, positive image. Positive imagery or positive visualization. Maybe you’re not doing that every single day unless you’re like training as an athlete for like the Olympics or for like a major sports event. Not everyone has that time to, to put into that every day. So there’s certain things like that, that I would say part of daily versus part of, you know, during.

But one of them if we’re talking about the breath, which a lot of people would experience some constriction with that. Yep. One of the really important things is that we have to focus on expanding and elongating prior to public speaking. Even if you, when I say the word elongate to you, Caroline, just immediately my shoulders 

Carolyn: Go back.

Yeah, me too. And I was like, okay, yeah. We’re 

Amanda: just going to set it more straight, right? I have, I usually have people find like a word, like elongate, expand. Okay. Something like that just causes them to stretch out a little bit more because you can’t, your diaphragm can’t move as much if it’s all crunched in and constricted.

So a lot of people when they’re speaking, when they’re nervous that we like turn inwards, the shoulders kind of curve in, we get really tight and small. 

Carolyn: And the diaphragm is like in, just for those who might not be familiar, that’s like lower, closer to our belly button and that helps push the air up up and out versus like just coming from our throat.

Amanda: You got it. It’s an intricate part of public speaking. So for what we know from research is that a lot of people, when we’re nervous, tend to speak from our throats. And actually what I love is, so Caroline Goiter, she wrote the book, Find Your Voice. I just love, it’s a very simple way of saying it, but she’s Speaking as a whole body experience.

Yes. 

Carolyn: Okay. I just have to pause there for a second, Amanda, because that is like a big premise, a big aha that I’ve had over the past few years and why I wrote my book is that our body, our nervous system, but like our body, the container that we’re in is a leadership tool and what you just said there, right?

Like our presence and how we’re able to speak is so impacted by our body. 

Amanda: It is. It is. And it’s a bottom up thing. It’s not just like this, what’s just coming immediately here out of the mouth. So one of the other things too, so it expands like expanding and elongating, but it’s things like what I like to call it.

So postural exercises beforehand. Again, this could be something part of our daily physio. Like what I like to call cactus arm rolls. So just like three or four of these or like wing 

Carolyn: But not forward, right? We want to go back. Yeah. And 

Amanda: then at the end, I just Just keep pulsing your arms back like that, 

Carolyn: almost like a butterfly.

Kind of like the 20 minute workout when you’re like… Yeah, but I notice an 

Amanda: immediate change and a lot of people will tell me that just by like in tweaks and how we’re sitting and standing. So something so simple like that. Other things with breath one of them would be taking an exaggerated deep breath before you say your first word.

So for a lot of people, they’re speaking on what I call a half exhale. So like they already feel like they’re, they don’t have as much oxygen and then they’re trying to speak like that. So take that exaggerated deep inhale and even if your audience has to wait for you for a second, we’ll 

Carolyn: let them wait.

That’s okay. And to take it from the diaphragm, to have it come from the belly up. Yeah, 

Amanda: just take that exaggerated deep breath because I think for a lot of people, if they start off on that right foot, they immediately feel like, okay, I’m okay, the nervous system is settled. I’m okay. But for a lot of people it’s the uncomfortable feelings that we have with stillness and pauses.

And so I’m like, own the silence. Yep. Let’s own that. Give them a second. Let them wait for two seconds. Yeah. Your breath. That’s one. Another example would be that. Let’s say you were practicing for a formal presentation, usually you would have some idea of what your introduction would be. Things like, so if you were to look at your script, it would be commas and periods would be your cue to take a deep breath or highlighting those impact words where you really want to articulate and pause on that word.

So I think for a lot of people, they tend to speak quickly when they’re, so it’s just slowing everything down. Teaching them on how to use a diaphragm more slow and controlled, low and wide, I call it. So speaking like again from the diaphragm, like in within your belly, low and wide versus up here. And then things become constricted and they’re running out of breath.

So it’s really using are also like recruiting our, like our body overall while we’re speaking. 

Carolyn: Wow. And so again, there, the body helps us be better speakers. It gives us a different level of presence. It does. Yeah. We talked a little bit there about more formal speaking situations um, what about if I’m sitting in a meeting and I’m feeling a little bit fearful about speaking because

 the CEO or someone from the C suite happens to have shown up in the room?

Amanda: So this may not be the direction you’re hoping for my answer. But one of the things that I really wanted to highlight here when it comes to preparing for meetings is setting intentions before you go into the meeting to make it less about to make it less about you. 

Carolyn: I love to go there. Yes, absolutely.

Let’s go there. 

Amanda: Perfect. I really think that it starts from before. That’s I think that’s part of the message here is that starts before you get there in making it less about you. And that is also one of the very common characteristics of people who tend to struggle with this is that we tend to focus on it being some tap dance and some performance.

So what I would say is to focus on what do you want your experience to be like going into the meeting? What do you want? The other people’s experience to be like in that meeting as well and a very simple question you can ask yourself to maybe help break you out of typical tendencies. If that’s what you’re, if that’s what you’re wanting to do would be to ask yourself the question, who do I want to be?

And I find that question immediately just helps people to snap out of ego based kind of thinking ego based Yeah. What people are thinking of me, how they’re evaluating me versus what is a common goal here in this meeting, right? Very simple questions like that getting really curious It’s about what other people are saying, what we’re here to do, how other people, what their values are, how they think, focusing on values like connection or more heart based heart centered types of intentions versus going into this being like, I hope they see me as confident.

I hope I impress people. It’s really the shift in. Focusing on like the common goal and being with other people here in the room versus it being about me, 

Carolyn: which is really like heart based energy. I talk a lot about our three centers of intelligence and that heart intelligence is about connection and relationships.

And so what I’m hearing you say is the act of setting an intention, connects us to other people and pulls us out of our own head when we can get lost there and worried about. What might happen? 

Amanda: Absolutely. And one of the things too, I really like to help people is to think about what are the feelings.

So back to the meeting, how do I want to feel there in the room? And the common response to that question would be, I want to feel confident. Now, it’s a great thing to feel confident. Sure. Most people would give that as a common response. The problem with our word confident, any ideas, Carolyn, what I might see is say, let’s pick a different word rather than confident.

Yeah. 

Carolyn: So you want me to pick a different word or why do you want me to share why I think confident might be a problematic word 

Amanda: that the latter 

Carolyn: confident will be a problematic. Um, what comes to mind for me is it, it sort of thinks of like power over, it sort of like makes it like a ranking and, and so it, it implies like I want to be maybe better than other people.

Amanda: Yes. And so you’re, you’re essentially getting to it because it’s, it’s a loaded word it for a lot of people when I, when we ask people. What does it feel like to be confident? A lot of people describe it as their portrayal to other people, how other people are perceiving them. Yes. So it brings it right back to evaluation.

It brings it right back to ego. So what’s 

Carolyn: the word you would, that we would be better served 

Amanda: to use? For example, I want to feel curious in the meeting. I want to feel connected. I want to feel attuned. I want to feel grounded. Yeah. It’s picking from a roster of other words that probably have less. of that evaluation based connotation associated with it.

I want to feel playful, right? I want to feel relatable. There’s just so many. And often I like to use, do you know Danielle LaPorte? I’m not sure if you know her work. I love using her work as there are, she’s got like probably 400 plus words you could pick from, like her core desired feelings. For anyone who’s listening Danielle LaPorte, some of her work is on core desired feelings, which she calls CDF.

The whole thing is trying to get really clear on how you want to feel and let that be your compass and kind of core of your intention as you make decisions. And I even, by the way, just as a sidebar, use some of her work to help me make that career pivot. Oh wow. It became like my compass was like, how do you want to feel versus like, what is the outcome?

Carolyn: I have, I bought something from Daniela Port too, these morning and evening rituals. And they’re pretty powerful and she just says these seven words in a very calm, or maybe there’s eight. So I can see how that’s connected to what you were just saying. So essentially when we say, confident.

The other thing that comes up to mind for me too is about control. I’m confident that I can maintain control over the situation and not let things get out of hand versus I can be curious or relatable, which is more about how I’m going to show up as we just let this discussion go where it needs to 

Amanda: go.

Exactly. And I think that, yeah, control would bring you back to the ego back to some other, Themes, which we haven’t even talked about, like around attachment, like attachment says this is what I need to have it. Things have to go this way and it’s like a gripping sensation, a gripping feeling.

People often describe it as I need things to happen like this versus being open to things happening in different ways, rather than is that we’re wanting them. You know, Necessarily to happen or to kind of unfold in other ways, right 

Carolyn: now, since we’re in the heart area, talking about heart based things can we come back to these some of these big emotions and 

what are some interesting things for our listeners to know about learning how to navigate these sort of big emotions?

Yeah, for sure. What are those emotions 

Amanda: to, yeah, I’m smiling because so. for me, one of my kind of light bulb moments in learning to manage the sphere was actually when I’m so grateful for her work was Dr. Joan Rosenberg’s work, and she’s the author of 90 Seconds to Life You Love, and I heard her on a podcast once talking about how There’s eight unpleasant emotions that typically can underlie or prevent us from feeling self confident that, that are intertwined and connected to, to self confidence.

And so basically what I learned from her work was that there are certain emotions that are really at the heart of what we’re afraid of, for example, with public speaking and other fears that we would have in the workplace. Okay. Okay. I’m not gonna be able to remember all eight emotions likely off the top of my head.

You have them written down. Okay. So there’s motions like shame and vulnerability and embarrassment and disappointment and frustration, anger, sadness, and helplessness. I might’ve missed one. 

Carolyn: You got them all. You got them all. Anyways, 

Amanda: the point is that. For a lot of people, they often have this kind of I don’t know what to call it, like aha moment when we talk about with public speaking that is what you’re afraid of really public speaking or what you’re afraid of is feeling embarrassed because it hasn’t gone the way that you want it to as an example.

Back to control 

Carolyn: again. Back to 

Amanda: control. And so for a lot of people, that would be the one would be embarrassment is usually the one there that unites most people. Okay. What it then becomes about is a conversation about our emotional capacity, about why is embarrassment like hard for you. So if you were to feel embarrassed, how would we cope with that situation?

So for a lot of people, it’s really helpful to get clear on Which emotions are holding that holding me back in general within my life. Also, obviously within public speaking and then to also have a plan in place. So if you do feel embarrassed, so what would happen? How would we work through that?

And I think for a lot of people, it’s sometimes we don’t have these really good coping tools in place so that if you did have a situation where you just, you didn’t deliver your best, you really felt like you, you really struggled with your nerves. You didn’t feel good about it after is. Like you have a bit of a plan in place for actually coping with those feelings of embarrassment.

Carolyn: So like a plan B in case plan A doesn’t go as well. Exactly. And 

Amanda: just knowing for a lot of people, it’s like having a plan in place. It’s like anything in life, right? Having a plan in place is just okay, so I know what I can do if that happens. For me, actually, Carolyn, how I relate to that is it’s like having a script.

So if I were. To learn like with my kids, for example, I want to respond a different way to, let’s say, and a situation where I could become activated. Let’s say that is that they’re having a script just takes the guesswork out of the moment for me, like knowing this is okay. This is how I’m going to respond if that happens versus me in the moment trying to be okay.

What do I say? How do I try to navigate this? When I’m feeling maybe other emotions coming up because of what has happened, right? So for a lot of people the first step, by the way, of that process would be to stop like just to stop what you’re doing. A lot of people, it’s distraction, it’s avoidance it’s thought suppression.

It’s like all those types of things. So that would be the first step would be to stop what you’re doing. 

Carolyn: And now we’re back to, but silence is scary, right? Yeah. I had a question there. So we pause and then what do we start to try and like, how do we. Learn how to process the emotion.

Are we trying to think our way through it? Are we trying to feel our way through it? What happens? So I’m in a meeting and I realized like embarrassment starting to come up. Like I just said something that I thought was maybe wrong. I used a stat that was wrong and now I’m embarrassed that the CEO here is sitting there going, Oh gosh, Carolyn.

Amanda: In the moment, it’s going to be a lot harder to process that feeling of embarrassment when there is a lot going on, but that’s where self compassion and having a growth mindset overall will help you from feeling like, Oh my gosh, this mistake is just everything the more that’s part of the nurturing of that daily mindset that you can’t just do in preparation for a presentation like that’s where your work of 365 days of the year is going to show what I’m referring to as learning to the plan also for tolerating it.

What I’m referring to there is four steps. Let’s say after the meeting has happened for a lot of people That’s when they can enter into what I call it a rumination right or like feeling like really down on themselves that’s when self criticism tends to kick in is that the first step would be to stop which can be like Honestly, like one of the best steps for one of the best places to start for people, because again, a lot of us just get sucked into this like procrastination and avoidance thing.

The second step would be to accurately identify what you are feeling, and this is the hard work is like learning how to sit with our emotions. This is essentially a lesson in learning to sit with our emotions. Step number two is learning to to label it. So you could refer to an emotions wheel. If anyone’s seen those before, like a feelings wheel, which has like the primary, secondary and tertiary kind of feelings.

on that wheel. Another, you could come back to Joan Rosenberg’s Eight Unpleasant Feelings. Wait for these. So I say, you can use one or both of those two, right? Okay. The third step would be to express it, would be to, for example, I’m a big proponent of writing and to get down those raw feelings onto paper, rather like whether you’re journaling about it.

What were you feeling? Where were you feeling it within your body? And how did it make you feel in the moment? So what that does to you is it starts to help connect the right brain to the left brain. Right brain is very like emotion focused. Left brain is logic. Left brain is also like, okay, so I was okay in the end. It’s learning to express it. You can find guided journaling. I’m a huge fan of Purely Being’s work. You can find her on Spotify and on YouTube. Lots of free. Meditations. And also guided ones on there. And then the fourth step, which I think you’re gonna really based on your work is learning to express learning to release it rather after Yeah, so learning to whether it’s through breath work, whether it’s through exercise, whether it’s through somatic exercises like fluttering your lips or shaking it off or spinal movements or anyway, so there’s lots of different options there going for a walk in nature, like there’s lots of different options.

So I really like this process of like, um, Being able to sit with it. And then if you’re ready, it’s can I move on? Can I, am I ready to release it? And sometimes people have to come back to step one again and cycle through that again, or maybe come back in half an hour and try it again.

But part of the goal is to feel like, yeah, like I’m ready to release it. And most people, I think, have that intuition when they feel like they’ve been able to effectively sit with the emotion. 

Carolyn: Yeah. Oh, there’s so much, there’s so much there. I think why I’m going to guess why you said I would like this part is, the work that I’ve started to do around trauma informed leadership.

And one of my big ahas personally, when I look back on my leadership career in the corporate world, I didn’t give myself space to process those things. So I just buried those emotions. I would certainly feel them, but I just push them down. And. That doesn’t work because as Bessel van der Kolk says, the body keeps score.

And so I, I love, I love what you’re saying. And I hope that more of us in our busy hectic lives can find a little bit of stillness, a little bit of pause to do this as it happens versus letting it all build up taking little breaks versus trying to wait for the two weeks or the three weeks out of each year where you go on holidays.

Amanda: Definitely. I’m a big proponent of lots. I do lots of little somatic exercises. One of them, not sure if you’re familiar with this one is like the bees breath when you plug your ears with your thumbs or I’ve 

Carolyn: heard of it. See more about that one. I haven’t heard about it in a while.

Amanda: Say more about it. Sorry, you couldn’t hear cause I was plugging. Yeah. 

Carolyn: Yeah, just walk us through it. Like maybe if people are listening or they’re even watching, there’s probably 

Amanda: more official term for this other than bees breath. But I learned this one from purely being, but basically it’s, so releasing sound is something that people are so timid and feel shy about.

And that’s a really, I found to be such an effective way of releasing tension in the body. And so letting it like, you know what, for example, it could also be something like letting out a physiological sigh, which just. Dr. Andrew Huberman talks a lot about this one, letting out the noise, often we don’t let out that 

Carolyn: noise.

I didn’t let out a noise. It just let out the air. Yeah. Yeah. 

Amanda: Letting out the noise. So related to that work, there’s lots of different ways you can let out sound. And there’s some some practitioners will talk about your throat chakra. But anyways, one. So bee’s breath, what it is just basically taking your thumbs and plugging your ears like this and making a noise.

You can try it right now. I just go, 

Carolyn: I’ve got earphones in there too, 

Amanda: but yeah, it heart’s hard with the earphones, but you have to plug your ears, but the sound becomes really amplified and it just feels like you’re like tuning almost like a vocal chord. It’s like you’re tuning your body. Oh, wow.

Um, And it just, it feels really incredible. You really, you feel the vibration. , and I think that’s also tied into the vagus nerve sympathetic nervous system and all of that. But I find that I really, so sound based. Somatic exercises just do wonders for my nervous system. And I think a lot of people, a lot of people are really shy about that.

Ah, and like people hearing us and things like that, doing that. 

Carolyn: You just said sound based interventions or exercises really help your nervous system. And it made me realize I’m using a lot of sound based practices, but receiving sound, not letting it out. And so something that I’m, one of the things of many that I’m taking from our conversation is how do I let out more sound versus just trying to receive more sound and being still to receive, but now I’ve got my next place I can go is to help myself like release it more.

Amanda: I find even just something simple, like when people are working at their desks that we often hold our breath. So it’s just like having that. Okay. My shoulders are up here. When was the last time like I’ve breathed. That’s why I just find that throughout the daytime, sometimes for me, it’s also like fluttering your lips, which I described earlier, which is, what does that actually, what does 

Carolyn: that 

Amanda: mean?

It’s a, we also call it like a horse. breath. Cause it looks like that’s so just like often, sometimes if I’m exercising another example of when I tend to, we tend to hold our breath and I do too. So it’s just like sometimes if I’m exercising, my husband could be in the next room hearing me go.

Oh wow. Okay. So my kids see it too. And it’s just it’s, I’ve normalized what that looks like around there. 

Carolyn: I have to say, I haven’t done a lot of horse breathing. It tickles my lips and I don’t 

Amanda: like it. Don’t like that one? Yeah. So for a lot of people, for example, that’s another one where some people I’ve worked with before might have like heaving or other kind of like big responses to public speaking.

We’ve actually been able to find that like fluttering the lips and just that like release and that has actually helped people replace the heaving with something more constructive 

Carolyn: beforehand. I’m going to have to try the fluttering my lips because I’m wondering if maybe I don’t like it just Because I don’t do it enough.

So, Try 

Amanda: it next time if you exercise. I think it’s a perfect place to try. I think that’s a good case where we tend to get that tension too and hold our breaths especially if we’re like in ab holds and things like that. 

Carolyn: My Recumbent bike is right over there, and I might need a little sticky note.

We’ll put a little sticky note over there for it for my lips. Yeah. well Amanda, I know you do your work predominantly in the Ontario region or the Ontario, the province of Ontario in Canada. I made it sound extra fancy by saying the Ontario region. Where can people get in touch with you?

I’m sure you’re on social You can tell us where that is and then you know Are there programs that you offer that anybody in Ontario could learn more 

Amanda: about? For sure So people can connect with me on my Instagram for sure at Dr. Amanda Taube my Instagram has become more like my newsletter where I share like For example, podcasts like today that we’re publishing or, for example, new upcoming dates for my public speaking group.

And so that’s something that we, didn’t talk a whole lot about here yet, but um, just that, so in January of 2023, so just this past year, I launched my first public speaking groups and there has just been such a big response. to those groups. And one of the reasons why I actually created them is because when I was dealing with the fear of public speaking, I flew all the way to Connecticut to attend a workshop, a two day workshop on really designed that one.

That one was designed to help people also to manage their fear of public speaking. So I decided To design my own 10 week group that is designed to help people to fear less and to speak more, and it’s a skills based group. We meet for an hour and a half every week for 10 weeks. And so it’s Carolyn said that it is right now designed for people that you know, can join from Ontario.

But we I am working towards right now a more consulting based type of model as well so that people can join from other organizations around the globe. Oh, fantastic. That is in the works. That’s exciting. Yeah, I’m really excited about that. But what’s been really awesome in doing these groups is just how empowered people feel by realizing that they’re really not alone.

They’ll feel a lot of shame who experienced this and It’s been really amazing to just see the conversations that happen and just realizing it’s just like normal professionals, just like myself who are going through this, just hardworking, a lot of type A types of individuals, high achieving, not saying that everyone who’s type A will struggle with this, but I’m just saying that anyway, it’s been a really powerful, I think, experience for a lot of people.

And so they can find me at dr. dunmanitope, go to my Thank My website, which is just www. amandatobe. com. And I’m very active on releasing new blog posts. So even if somebody was. Outside of Ontario. I try to really make some of my research and strategies accessible to the public that way. Oh, that’s 

Carolyn: fantastic.

I hope our listeners check in with you at least follow you. I know I’ve taken a lot of new insights from this conversation, one of which is doing those horse lips. And so thank you. Thank you for all of that. Amanda. Now, before we close off, I always like to ask the guests who come on the show three questions.

Are you all set for that already? All right. Now these three questions are based around my model of evolved leadership, which I feel is the way forward. And the first and I believe most important thing is self awareness. 

So is there an anecdote, a story that you can share with us where you really learned a lot about yourself?

That moment of self awareness that was like, Oh, 

Amanda: there’s so many of them, but I’m going to share, I’m going to share one that I actually share with my group. And it’s one from a recent one from January also the same month, I think that, or maybe February shortly after I had started my groups, but the story is this.

So we went snow tubing for my daughter’s birthday and this was the second year that we had done this and we got up to the top of the hill. The year before we all had helmets and we got to the top and I realized none of us have helmets on. I was like, my daughter’s four. My other one is. was I guess turning seven at the time and I just had this moment of being like, I don’t want anyone to go down.

I don’t want to go down. And so anyways, my husband, and the other thing too, is that the year before we could go all four of us down the hill and they said only three of us can go at a time. So I was filled with fear and I remember calling my husband. He went to the, he made it down to the bottom of the hill with my two daughters and I was just like, I’m not going down.

I’m not going to do it. And so we were trying to figure out this solution so that he could come back up and bring me down the hill. Yep. Anyways, and I had this aha moment at the top of the hill being like, I am perpetuating this negative image of myself. Basically having some catastrophic injuries from flying off this tube.

But one of the things I talk about in my groups too, is that we tend to think in terms of images, especially when it comes to fear. And I just realized I was just feeding into this negative image. And so I’m like, what if I can replace this image of myself going down the hill with one where I’m actually enjoying the sights of and the surroundings.

It’s beautiful at the top of the hill, one where I’m actually smiling and maybe. Like screaming with like excitement on the way down. So I took a picture that I often will show to my groups being like, this was me right before I went down by the look of my smile. You can tell it’s like a bit of a forced smile.

I’m going to do this. But that is just something that I think that I wanted to share with this audience listening to because what, when we’re talking about fear and a lot of the strategies that I even talk about in my groups and in my work, it’s stuff you can apply in other areas of your life too.

It doesn’t just apply. And just because, let’s say, I’ve learned to better manage my fear of public speaking doesn’t mean that we don’t have fears in other areas of our lives that still need attention. 

Carolyn: And what happened? Did you get to 

Amanda: the bottom and it just was, yeah, and I smiled and I did the screaming, happy scream on the way down and I did it.

But the point is that I just really changed the image. And for a lot of us with public speaking too, we will have images of ourselves fainting or fleeing. to try to replace that image of ourselves actually like enjoying the 

Carolyn: moment. Wonderful. Thank you. 

Second question is about a practice or a ritual that you rely on to help your nervous system stay in a calmer, what we would say, more regulated state.

Amanda: I love this question. And it’s really hard for me to distill this into just a few examples, but a couple of my go to practices. One would be daily meditation. And one of my favorite places to do meditation or ways to do it would be legs up the wall, which essentially is think about it like if you’re, if your bum is scooted right towards a wall your legs are 90 degrees up the wall and your back.

And you meditate in that? Yeah, I often will meditate in that. And I often hang out in that kind of like We call it like I guess it’s the postural exercise like it’s called legs at the wall if you google it. And I often will sometimes do a meditation like that, just maybe like an 8 minute, 10 minute one, but it really also just drains the fluid from your legs, activates your parasympathetic nervous system as well.

Sometimes I’ll do my to do list for the next day. I have these like tiny little books that I use as well. And I just, I will sometimes just write my to do list for the next day like that. But one of my favorite practices before bedtime that really just soothes my nervous system. And the final one I just wanted to share too is finding a really good book that anchors you.

That where you just read a few words out of it can really just be so soothing. One of my ones that I, I won’t leave my house without if I’m on vacation is A Return to Love. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this book. Is that,

Carolyn: that’s not, oh that’s Marianne. Marianne Williamson. 

Amanda: If I, honestly what I do.

Carolyn, as I just open it up to a random page and I just immediately, it’s like my nervous system just kind of comes down and 

Carolyn: it’s just, it’s just, 

Amanda: it is. So and then also just back to the fear of public speaking one last time. It’s like anytime, if I’m feeling nervous or whatever, it says, come back to reading an excerpt from this.

And it’s just it’s just all about, it might sound like. Cheeky, but it’s just, it’s all about love and it’s all about coming back to wanting to share what I do with people so that I can help them. It’s not about me. It’s not about ourselves. Making it about the greater purpose of other 

Carolyn: people.

Which is a great segue to the third question, which is about being connected to other people and knowing that we’re part of something bigger than just ourselves. 

So I’m curious what song or genre of music is coming to mind for you right now in this moment that makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself.

Amanda: So I’m a big proponent of music. I love music and I use music sometimes for studying, but I think in answering this question, I will talk about that. I really like. It’s classics like classics from a previous point of my life that create like a happy nostalgia where it’s I feel like it immediately just brings me back to an earlier place in time where I just feel excited and happy.

And so if I put that music on. I find I immediately start to dance or to sing to it and that just creates a better energy overall that becomes contagious to my kids being part of that happy dance or then part of my clients getting to see me after I’ve completed that happy dance. So yeah, I think that’s where the greater purpose would be is just that, that energy and really nourishing our energy and that.

That becomes part of other people’s experience of you and that can also shift their day. 

Carolyn: Is there a certain song or genre? I know you said classics. That can mean a lot of different things. Oh, I 

Amanda: know. This is a really hard one for me to answer. So this morning I was listening to Forever Young by Rod Stewart.

So how about that? Oh, there you go. It’s a good feel good, right? So those feel good songs and it could be anything. I have a good playlist that I go back 

Carolyn: to. And I appreciate what you said about classics, right? What’s going to be classic for you might be classic for somebody else. And as you said that I’ll make a reference back to Donny Osmond, which I know people love.

They’re like, oh, Carolyn, like he’s so old. It’s the first concert I ever went to and whenever a Donny Osmond song comes on, I get taken back to that moment, this little four year old with my little glow stick in the crowd and just this intense amount of joy. That’s exactly 

Amanda: what I’m talking about. It’s just like that song that just like makes it just boost your energy that brings you back to like it could be a happy confident time of your life, a good day, a good week, an amazing month, a good season.

I think it’s like those micro moments. Yeah. Absolutely. That’s what it’s 

Carolyn: all about. Yeah. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for coming on the show. Maybe one day we’ll get to do this in real life. I know we’re not too far away but I really appreciate your time and all the wonderful insight and wisdom that you shared with us today.

Amanda: Thank you so much for having me on and for everyone here who’s listening.

 

Carolyn: Well, I hope you gained a tip or two about how you can manage fear and allow yourself to show up in the way that you want. one of the things that, Amanda shared today that is really resonating with me, I’ve already said it a few times, but it’s this horse lips thing. I said I can’t even do it. I’ve got to practice.

but I’ve got a sticky note right over there on my bike now to help me remember that. And I do have to giggle as well when Amanda was talking about a practice that calms her and it involved, lying on the floor with your legs up and it just brought back this really wonderful memory the night before my son’s, hockey gold medal game for the OMHA finals.

This was years ago. I think he was in grade five or six and the coach asked them. When they drove home, when we drove them home that night, told all the boys to lie down in the back seat with their legs up. And at the time I thought, well, this is kind of strange, but hey, it united them and they went on to win the gold medal and had a really successful season.

and now I know. Now I know there was some method behind that, and at the time I had no idea. So, thank you again for tuning in. I do hope that you gained some really practical insight out of this conversation today and look forward to seeing you again soon.

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