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  • Writer's pictureKim Caldwell

Lights, Camera, Cringe!

“I promise I’m listening to you, I’m just also staring at myself in your microwave.”  I have always loved to look at myself. I’m practically Narcissus in any reflective surface. And while I love that live version of me, where I can tip the chin or slide the grin just right - pictures are a different story. 

“Caldwell - it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters that you share your life.” That is more or less the coaching I give myself before seeing any photo where I don’t have the control to retake until I am completely satisfied or delete. Immediately I inspect for any multiple chins, thick arms, tired eyes, poofy hair or tummy pooch may be visible. 

Where does the instinct to scan for flaws first come from? And how do I turn off the voice in my head that sounds like my mother telling me that the picture or video isn’t flattering? How can I focus on the power of what I am communicating and not the wiggle-waddle of my body? 

Part of becoming a booked speaker is sharing videos of yourself that demonstrate your power with an audience. My friends at ACC Center for Nonprofit Studies kindly recorded me at my last workshop there and sent me some clips. I did my self-coaching and waited a day before watching myself. I went through my check-list of flaws with an added layer of imposter syndrome around whether or not the video made me look impressive enough for meeting planners. 

Here’s what I know: whether or not my arm flab waved back, I made a difference in the lives of everyone who attended my workshop. That’s what they said in their evals and in the outreach I have received since. They didn’t say “the whole thing would have been better if Kim was ten pounds thinner,” or “someone take that lady to Sephora to get foundation to cover up her giant pores.” 

The videos are up on the site, along with a picture I can only describe as “peak Kim.” Maybe someday that inner critic will STFU, but until she does, I can’t let her stop me from showing up, taking up space, and connecting with the world. 

So if your inner critic is keeping you from getting present and connecting, call on your inner-coach to shut that nonsense down. To poorly paraphrase Maya Angelou: people aren’t going to remember your pant size, they are going to remember how you made them feel.

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