How To Turn A Bad Penny Into Shiny New Career

Posted May 20, 2014

Ever notice how traumatic events from your past keep showing up like a bad penny? And at THE most inopportune times? Well, you're not alone.

I was in the wings psyching myself up before performing a “chalk talk” to a crowded room with phrases like “I am flow”, “I am a genius”, “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me....” Okay I never did say that last one...

But I was getting in state and feeling really good when out of nowhere my second grade teacher Ms. Sestito popped into my head and told me how shy I am and that speaking in public is something I don't do well.


Bad pennies have some truth in them. But this “copperhead” was more rattlesnake than honest Abe. The bite stung for a moment but the venom poisoned me for decades.

Everytime I had to speak in public, lead a group or wait for my turn to introduce myself at a group yoga workshop at Kripalu, I could feel the poison slowly and steadily taking over my body. Because these were the cards I was dealt, I muscled through the sweaty palms, thick tongue, and pounding chest. I'd get through it but it never got any better.

Today's illustration posts are from a poster I created with the storyteller team of Bob Kanegis and Liz Mangual. The Posters are the artwork I created without the copy. Bob and Liz are master storytellers and lead a Legacy Workshop.

Their legacy work is usually centered around helping people to draw out the stories in their life so they can leave a lasting family legacy. Sometimes this work is about re-writing the past for positive change for the future.

This approach was the just the snake bite kit I needed.

Because the event was traumatic, I was too afraid to revisit it. The legacy work allowed me to walk through the event and watch it without emotion. Just the facts, ma'am.

I re-created the events immediately following. I watched myself speak with confidence as my teacher watched with pride. Then I listened to her compliment me on my speaking skills, storytelling ability, charisma, and connection. And I felt it in my body like it was happening in real time. And to my subconscious, it was.

Now when I am confronted with a a situation that makes me sweat... I remember how I got through a major fear and changed the trajectory of my life. I got through that. I can get through anything.

Now I get paid to speak. Not a bad investment of a penny.

What do you say? What past events have held you back from living the life you want? What approach did you take to overcome the challenge and really turn your life around? What challenge do you have now that you would like to get past?

Let me know in the contact section below.


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