Train Up: Seek Butterflies in Your Belly


Denice McClure

Fear public speaking? Sound familiar? Your name is called. Your palms start to sweat, your pulse rate increases, your belly begins churning. You bomb your speech. You tell your parents about your defeat. Your mom speaks in Grandma wisdom, “It’s ok. Everyone gets butterflies.”

Speaking is one of the most important characteristics of being a great leader as well as getting your ideas across to others. If you master it, you will be very effective in your career. If you don’t nail this, you will struggle. You are young and I urge you to master it rather than let it cripple you.

You aren’t alone. I love speaking and my friend Yolanda does too. There are so many fun areas to master from intonation, master of the pause, breath control, storytelling, etc. Let’s start with baby steps and do this first step together.

I met with Harper Therapy to discuss ways kids can overcome the fear of speaking. Yolanda Harper is a family therapist. Before I share her knowledge on the subject, let’s debunk the perceived stereotype about therapists. Therapists are negatively portrayed on TV as corny doctors that tell people to lay down on their leather couches while asking weird questions, writing the person’s response in a secret black notebook while responding “I see”. That stereotype is no more true than all brown chickens lay brown eggs.

Yolanda is fun, smart, likable, easy to talk to, and has two furry babies that hang out with her at her office. Many of my clients at FPY and their kids love talking with Yolanda at her office on matters that take care of their mental and emotional well being. Taking care of your emotional and mental health is every bit as important as taking care of your physical wellness.

Back to fear, allow me to share Yolanda’s analogy to explain fear and overcoming it. Our comfort zone is like our own private island inhabited by our families who keep us safe. The island free from uncertainty and discomfort yet nothing ever interesting happens on the island. The blue waters around the island are full of uncertainty and things that make us very uncomfortable which can freak us out especially the further we swim from shore yet endless possibilities that challenge us to grow.

When fears strike us we can run from the water back to shore or we can do the hard work and practice over and over finding comfort in the new uncomfortable place. Yolanda has a great deal of knowledge on speaking so I trust her to help guide you to becoming a great speaker.

She delivered a Ted Talk a few years ago as a way of working at being comfortable speaking. A Ted Talk is one of the most prestigious speaking honors. If you are willing to work hard to cultivate good speaking skills, you will turn butterflies from a negative feeling to a feeling that lifts you up.

TRAIN UP is a series of stories told in an attempt to bring Proverbs 22:6 to life for young people that have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Contact Denice at with comments.


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