From the Author
Q: Why did you write StripOff Your Fear?
A: It was lastyear and I was writing a book about overcoming fear, and it was not goingwell. The words were not flowing, and the few that did make it through were -to put it bluntly - shit. After 30,000 nuggets of shit, I decided to call ahalt to this project. I wasn't fully into it, and the results showed. I justcouldn't get worked up about fear. Things were not happy at the House of Talbotbecause writing a book is why we settled down in Thailand in the first place.
Then things got real: my friend Donna was murdered byher ex-husband. And the political climate in the US became overtly anti-womanas the political races heated up. Some of my closest friends and family memberswere undergoing significant personal issues because of their inability to speakhonestly and clearly in their relationships, businesses, and communities.
It finally dawned on me that fear wasn't the problembecause fear never leaves us. Conquer one fear and you'll quickly find another- we all know that. The problem is really a lack of confidence, the innerfire that comes from living your authentic self, speaking your truth, anddemanding respect from others, including yourself. Especially yourself.When you have this, you can face fear on a regular basis with a pretty goodresult.
Q: You write about the Voices of Fear in our heads andeven outline some of those personalities. Which one do you identify with most?
A: The Voicesof Fear were really fun to write. It was the first time my inner Drama Queenhas had full reign over my mind in many years, and she did not disappoint.Everyone has at least a few of these voices, though we tend to rely on adominant one to rule our fears.
I'm definitely the Drama Queen, dreaming up scenariosworthy of an Oscar for every little thing. I've learned to temper it over time,even using it for entertainment now, but for many years it really ruled mylife. Every headache was cancer, a missed call was the sign of trouble in arelationship, and an unreturned email meant I was going to be fired.
It's a tough way to live, and there is no booting thoseguys out of your head. But once you recognize them for what they are instead ofwhat they want you to think they are, you can simply be a bystander to theiractivity and not a victim to their torment.
Q: Why the stripping metaphor in a book about confidenceand speaking up?
A: Gettingdressed and undressed is universal, and we all know how uncomfortable it islike to wear ill-fitting clothes. I couldn't think of a more perfect descriptionof how our inner confidence gets covered up by all the layers society demandswe wear. It's like that pushy sales clerk at the department store handing youitem after item of clothes you hate because she simply doesn't know anythingabout you and wants to sell you what she has, not necessarily what you want orneed.
The trick is learning to dress yourself, say no to theidentities, goals, and dreams that don't fit you like a glove. It takes somepractice to get to this point, and we arrive at different ages and stages.
Q: One of the lessons you teach in learning to speak up issaying where you want to go for lunch. Why is this important?
A: Almost everywoman I know answers the "where do you want to go for lunch?"question with "I don't know; where do you want to go?"
This automatic defaulting to the desires of another personis the perfect example of our conditioning to please others. Many times we maylike where the other person chooses anyway, but that's not the point. Wedefault to other people in the most basic of decisions, robbing ourselves ofwhat we really want and putting the burden on everyone else in our life to makedecisions. This is the perfect example of a man complaining he has to guesswhat a woman is thinking.
When you use this question as practice in speaking up, youwill see it pay off in other areas of your life. The next time someone asks youwhere you want to eat lunch, answer. Don't push off the responsibility or tryto come to a consensus. For extra points, you can practice suggestingalternatives when someone else suggests a location.
This simple exercise will give you a huge head start inspeaking up in other areas of your life.
Q: You included a book club party guide, a soundtrack anda signature cocktail. This isn't what you normally find in a book. Why?
A: It is animportant message, and one that gains more power with community. I wantreaders to eat, drink, and groove to this message and take it into every poreof their bodies. Then I want them to talk about it with friends so they willall go out and talk about it with other people. I want confidence and speakingup to be on the minds of every single woman in the world. We are half thepopulation and the primary caretakers for the next generation. Imagine whatthis world is losing when we don't make our ideas, thoughts and needs known?
It is all about you, but it is also all about our societyas a whole.
I love gatherings of women, especially when importantdiscussions can be had in a fun and supportive environment. My own book clubback in Seattle was a huge part of my life and helped me work through problemsand grow as a person, and I want other women to know that feeling of communityand safety in speaking their minds as the wine flows and the night grows.
Q: The book is about self-confidence, but you also writeabout relationships. How are our relationships related to self-confidence?
A: Other peoplecan't give you self-confidence, that's for sure, but the wrong people cancertainly drain you of any you have. Humans are highly adaptive creatures, andwe are shaped by our environments. Hang out with naysayers, critics and whinersand you won't keep your confident outlook for long.
Any job, mate, friend, organization, or government worthhaving in your life is one that treats you as an equal human being, supportsyour dreams, lovingly calls you on your bullshit, and works to make your unionmore productive than your individual contributions would be. They demand asmuch of themselves as they do of you, and being around them feels like anatural high.
I like to invoke the "best friend" test tofigure out if a situation is where it should be.
Ask yourself if you would you allow your best friend to betreated the way you are being treated. If the answer is no, it is time tosomething about it. If you don't, that incredible human adaptability willwork it's magic on covering up your confidence and morphing you into someoneyou don't want to be.
We should all be our own best friends, don't you think?