Moving Past the Surface to Find Your Deeper Story and Message with Zaribel Clay: Podcast Ep. 215

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Have you ever felt like you have a deeper story and message to share with your audience?

Perhaps you’re uncertain what it is because it’s hidden under surface content.

Or perhaps you know what the deeper story is but you have some fears and doubts about being vulnerable and sharing it.

We all have a deeper story and message – and our audiences can benefit when we’re willing to open up.

This is exactly what we’ve seen Zaribel Clay do in our Thought Leader Academy during the past few months.

Zaribel has been working closely with our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz on her thought leadership message and her signature talk, so I asked Diane to interview Zaribel to talk about the journey Zaribel has been on.

Zaribel is also one of our speakers for our Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit that takes place on April 1st. It’s free to attend, so register today: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/summit/.

Zaribel has been an inspiration to the other women and to me. I’m delighted to have her on the podcast!

About Our Guest: Zaribel Clay is a business owner, writer and speaker. She runs her Kinderdance business out of Elizabeth City, NC. She is passionate about helping women find their voice, find emotional healing, and live their truth. She is also a proud wife and mom. Her faith is her most important value. Zaribel’s highest goal in life is ”to be the reason someone knew healing is possible.”

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com.

 

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/215

Zaribel’s website: https://zaribelclay.com/

Register for free for our Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/summit/

Join our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/

 

Related Podcast Episodes:


Transcript:

This audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
How can you move past the surface to find your deeper story, a message? Listen to this conversation with Diane Diaz and Zaribel Clay on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast.

Carol Cox:
More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters with my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker. I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast, I’m your host, Carol Cox. Have you ever felt like you have a deeper story, a message to share with your audience, but perhaps you’re uncertain what exactly it is because it’s been hidden for so long under surface content? Or perhaps, you know, with the deeper story is that you have some fears and doubts about being vulnerable and sharing it. We all have a deeper story and message in our audiences can benefit when we’re willing to open up. When is the right time for us to open up? And we feel like we have a safe space to do so. This is exactly what we’ve seen Zaribel Clay do in our Thought Leader Academy during the past few months, which is why I’ve invited her to come on the podcast to talk about her journey.

Carol Cox:
Zaribel is working closely with our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz on her thought leadership message and her signature talk. So I asked Diane to do this interview with Zaribel to talk about this evolution. Zaribel is one of our speakers for our Brave Bold Beyond live virtual summit that takes place on April 1st. If you haven’t registered yet, go ahead and do so right now. Hit pause. Go to speakingyourbrand.com/summit again speakingyourbrand.com/summit. It is entirely free to attend, so there’s no reason not to be with us live on April 1st. It happens live only there are no recordings. Why do we do it this way? Because there is so much energy that happens when women get together. This is what we saw when we did this event in October. Attendees said that it was the best virtual event that they’ve ever attended. They were moved, they were inspired by the powerful stories that they heard. This is not your typical summit. These are not hour-long presentations or meandering interviews or things that you listen to where you wonder, was that a good use of my time? Instead, the way that we have structured this event is with ten minute TED-style talks that are twelve diverse women speakers will be delivering live throughout the day.

Carol Cox:
We have four different themes set up. The themes are the stories we tell, changing the narrative, advocacy and social impact, and reclaiming your power. So as the day goes on, you’re going to hear the speakers in these different themes deliver their ten minute TED-style talks. They’re taking their powerful personal story and the universalizing it into a bigger idea, a bigger message. We also have interspersed throughout the day panel discussions on building your thought leadership platform, as well as a panel on crafting a stellar speech with our speaking coaches. And then also throughout the day, we have opportunities for you as attendees to interact with the speakers and our coaches. We’re going to have breakout sessions where you can come on video, you can chat with the speakers, the coaches and with each other is going to be an incredible event. Again, you can register for free at speakingyourbrand.com/summit.

Carol Cox:
And during this episode, Diane and Zaribel also talk about Zaribel’s experience in our Thought Leader Academy. Our next cohort is starting in April. Doors open, enrollment opens April 1st, the day of our summit. So if you like to get on the interest list so that you’re the first to know, go to speakingyourbrand.com/academy. You can also see all of the details about how the Thought Leader Academy works.

Carol Cox:
It is a program that runs for four months. We have four different modules, one module per month, the first month you work on your thought leadership message and container. And month two, you work on your signature talk both for lead generation and a test. I’ll talk in month three. You work on your visibility and revenue plan in a month for you work on delivery. So stage presence both virtual and in-person, because we are going to get back to in-person soon as well as your confidence and your mindset. It’s an incredible program. The women that we’ve seen go through it have achieved so much during the past few months from watching brand new podcast to digging deeper into their message and putting out there to gaining incredible visibility for what they’ve been doing and getting paid speaking engagements. On top of it all, you have the option to add one on one coaching. And when you join the academy, because I’m such a big proponent of the value of one on one coaching. So we do that, make that an option. If you would like to work with us in that capacity, again, to get all of the details and to get on the interest list, go to speakingyourbrand.com/academy.

Carol Cox:
Now, let’s get on with the show!

Diane Diaz:
Hi, Zaribel. Welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast.

Zaribel Clay:
Hi, Diane, I’m so happy to be here. How are you?

Diane Diaz:
I’m good, and I am so excited to talk to you always, but especially on the podcast so that everybody listening can hear about your story as well. I’m super excited for them to hear that.

Zaribel Clay:
I’m super excited to thank you for having me.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, you’re welcome. Well, why don’t you take a moment and just tell everybody kind of who you are and what your business is and what you do in your business? Sure.

Zaribel Clay:
So I am Zaribel and I live in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with my husband and our daughter and our new puppy. And so I have I own a business is called Cape Dance by Zaribel. And I teach children from ages 15 months to about seven year olds, dance and movement tumbling and just building up their self-confidence and their self-esteem. Through my business in the last three years, I have been able to build a lot of relationships with a lot of different people here in downtown Elizabeth City. And as I started building my business and talking to more people and talking to more moms and women in business owners, I realized that I really had a passion to to speak to these people and bring a bigger message through my business.

Diane Diaz:
And so that’s I’m glad you mentioned that, because what is it that brought you to the Thought Leader Academy? How did you get interested in and then what made you decide that you wanted to join that?

Zaribel Clay:
So in our town, Elizabeth City, there’s a lot of women business owners, which I think it’s fantastic. But I started seeing there was a lot of competition between them. And I believe competition is a good thing. It could be a good thing. But when it gets in the way of us showing up as our true selves so we can show up for our businesses and for the people that we serve, then that becomes a problem. And the more that I start having conversations with these other business owners, I realized that they needed that encouragement so they can be focused on what really mattered, which it was just working together instead of against each other. So I have found the podcast speaking a brand podcast, and I started bingeing on all the episodes that I found. And I got super excited when I found out that you guys worked on creating signature talks. And then I got super excited when I found out that you guys had a group like a women’s group, because, again, I’m all about getting women together and collaborating. So I signed up the day after I watched the the summit, the summit that you guys did. And that’s the day I signed up for the Thought Leadership Academy. Good.

Diane Diaz:
And I’m glad you mentioned that idea of collaboration versus competition, which, as you said, competition is good. But when it keeps us from supporting one another so that we can grow in our business or thought leadership message or whatever we’re trying to do, then it’s it can become a negative. And I know and everybody who knows you and the Thought Leader Academy knows that you are all about collaboration and supporting other women. So I’m so glad that you join join the group and you’ve been an integral part of it. So you heard about the Thought Leader Academy at the summit and then you wanted to join. What was it specifically when you decided to join the group? What was it specifically that you were struggling with and what were you kind of hoping to get out of being in that group program?

Zaribel Clay:
I wanted to basically get clarity on what my message was and how to put it together in a way that makes sense, because I am a very multi passionate person and I want to talk about a lot of things, but I know what they mean when I’m talking about them, but it can be a little bit all over the place. So I wanted to make sure that it was a clear message that I could give to our community. And when I first started, the the idea was, like you said, about women working together and how to make that happen. That’s how it started. And it was just a safe topic for me to start with and something that I’m always passionate about. But, of course, as you know already, that took a different turn.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. We’ll get to that in just a second. Yes. Just a quick question, though. I’m curious. I know you had this idea of of getting clarity and kind of that idea around collaboration with women. So that was kind of what was bubbling up initially. But were you also thinking, well, let me also see how I can get out there and start speaking about women collaborating? Is that kind of. Yes. Tell me about that. Were you looking to do speaking?

Zaribel Clay:
Yeah. So I feel like speaking has always been something that comes natural for me. So I had spoken in church events, in different community events, not even knowing about it. I kind of became that person that people would be like, oh, there would be a good speaker. And people called me for like a panel discussion for or businesses downtown. And it kind of grew that way. And it’s just an easy way for me to encourage others, just like writing, writing and speaking are just ways that that are easy for me to get messages across. But I never thought that I could that it was actually. A gift than a skill that I could develop and grow and make it a career and several people mentioned it and I was like, really, me? I don’t know. They said, well, you already do it. You know, you’re already doing it. You’re already putting yourself out there on social media. You’re already hosting events. You’re already talking to people. So why not make it bigger so you can make a bigger impact? And they was very scary, but I decided that and definitely the Thought Leadership Academy, I knew that was that next step for me to be able to step into that direction for public speaking.

Diane Diaz:
That’s great. And isn’t it funny how the people that we know sometimes already see it in us and we don’t necessarily see it in ourselves and see because you you said that they told you, well, Isabel, you’re already doing that, so why not take it even further? So I love that you and it and it can be very scary, but I love that you were brave enough to step forward and put yourself kind of out there and, you know, work on crafting your message because as you touched on, it started in one place. So let’s talk a little bit about that now. And it’s also Women’s History Month this month. So this is it is all fits right into that. But you mentioned that you like to collaborate. And so when you and I were talking and when you were sharing in the in the group and Mighty Networks and you and I were having our our coaching sessions, we talked a lot about this idea for you of how women, women business owners could collaborate versus compete. And we talked through. So I remember and you know, you can jump in in a moment, but I remember we worked through several different frameworks of what this might look like and, you know, all with an eye towards creating a talk around it. So talk a little bit about initially where you saw your talk going and that idea of collaboration and the frameworks and all of that.

Zaribel Clay:
Sure. So at the beginning, it felt very businesslike, very focused on that, kind of like, you know, having like a plan and a strategy for it. I guess it’s just it was the safe place, kind of like checking the box. OK, OK. I can have a signature talk and talk about X, Y, Z and tell people how, you know, collaborating is actually a better strategy than competing. So that’s the way that I saw it. So I support myself creating a talk and then speaking at different events, whether it was panels or or conferences or chamber meetings and what have you. That was my first vision. That was the smaller vision. I had a smaller vision. And that vision grew as weeks and months went by inside the academy.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. And I think in the in the episode with the coaches, me and Joy and Marie, Joy mentioned that idea of heart leadership versus thought leadership. And I think so you were I mean, that’s still a thought leadership area that we were initially talking about in it. It was great. And it’ll make a great talk when you eventually have to talk around that. But as we continued to talk about it and you continue to share about it, I think you will agree with this. But I could kind of feel there was something I felt like not a resistance on your part, but like a resistance of the idea, like there had like almost like there was something more. But we hadn’t yet tapped into it because I know you were going kind of all around it, this framework, that framework. And then we would talk and then we would talk through more ideas. And it almost felt as if both of us were thinking, hmm, there must be more here. So talk a little bit. I’ll never forget when you emailed me your idea. Yeah. You said you explain what your idea was and said, don’t give too much away because we want everybody listening. We want you to come to the summit to hear this terrible speech. And that surprised me, this email. And I said, holy cow, that is it. So what if without again, without giving too much detail, what sort of transpired or what were you thinking in your head kind of about the initial idea that you had of this collaboration versus competition and what happened that helped you kind of get to that deeper heart centered idea?

Zaribel Clay:
Yeah, so you’re right. It’s funny because as you’re speaking, I’m thinking about us literally just going in circles between emails and messages. And so the mighty networks, messaging and everything. And I was thinking, why? Why does it feel like I’m not there yet? You know, I’m a person that I have a lot of ideas. And when I hit that one idea, I know that’s it. And I knew that my message was important, but I knew something was missing and I could not figure it out. And I’m very grateful for how patient you were with me figuring this out. But I had realized that throughout my entire life and everything that I’ve been through, I’ve always had so. Support from other women and when I started when we first started working on this topic about women helping other women, I started interviewing other women. So I spoke for about 10 to 12 different business owners, women, and a lot of things came up and they were not really business related. They were heart related. They were unhealed wounds. They were past trauma. And in dealing with trying to forgive different things about them, about themselves and other people have hurt them. And then I realized that there is a bigger gap than I thought. Then the issue was not so much about supporting versus competition. It was about how we’re not able to get to that spot, that we can lift others up and collaborate because we are still struggling with things that we have not been able to heal. And then I realized that I thought that I had healed from all these things from my past. And I’ve done I’ve done the hard work over the years, but it opened up the space for me to realize there was work to be done. And then, of course, we found out exactly where it needed to get done and that that’s when things changed.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. They didn’t change. They did. So, yes, for the listeners, you know, again, we’re not going to share all the details and specifics of their bills topic and her speech that she’s going to give at the summit. But what you talked about was when you were having these and I remember you sharing with me that you were having these different sort of like conversations, coaching sessions with these women, these different business women. And you were sharing with me, you know. Yeah, we talked about some business stuff with these other things were coming up. And it almost was like an onion and kind of peeling back these layers. Right, to get to the inside of what the real issues are. Because, yes, there’s there’s business challenges. They have, you know, the collaboration versus competition. Maybe they’re dealing with some of the same business issues you’re dealing with. And so, OK, great. But in conversations, it gets much more personal. And the reality is those things actually impact your business anyway. They do. It was important to to dig deeper anyway. And then that’s where in the end, having those personal, heartfelt conversations and sort of peeling back the layers you saw in them, these unhealed wounds, which then reflected back to you. Oh, wait a second.

Zaribel Clay:
Yes, I

Diane Diaz:
Actually have some stuff that needs to be addressed. And then and then again, I remember you sending me that email and it was a long email and I read every word of it. And then when I read it, I was kind of blown away and like, got goosebumps and excited and nervous and does all the things for you. Right. And and, you know, I remember telling you, you know, if you’re willing to go there, I think this is the thing. And so come to the summit to hear Zaribel’s speech. But it is a very it’s tapping into that that more personal heart centered topic that then, you know, as we talk about it and thought leader academy can be universalize to the audience. Yes. Yeah. Do you want to talk about that a little bit about how once you tapped into that idea, you could kind of see it in how it might impact others?

Zaribel Clay:
Yeah, still for sure. And you said something and it’s very true. As I started seeing those unhealed parts of these women that I was speaking to, it was I was looking at myself, really. So I started taking note of that. And then I realized that in order to have a successful business, which is, you know, this is the reason that I started in the academy so women can collaborate and build successful businesses. But I realized that in order to have a healthy business, we have to to heal ourselves and be healthy ourselves first, because the way that we put ourselves out in the world, whether it’s in the business, our relationships, our marriages, our parenting, we need to to take care of ourselves. And I realize that there’s a lot of things that all these women and me included, are things that are keeping us up at night, things that are happening in our lives, that are getting in the way of having the relationships and the businesses that we want. But nobody is talking about it because everybody wants to check a box and look like everything. It’s OK. And a lot of times things are not OK. And through having this series of interviews, I had a friend that went through a very difficult situation herself.

Zaribel Clay:
And that was a very important moment in time because that gave me the confirmation that that was a specific topic that needed. To be heard by other people, I need it, I needed to speak about it, it was time for us to just put everything on the table and just get it from out of my head into my heart and just speak that truth, because I know it’s going to open space for more healing. So I became it became kind of like I wanted to to do something for other people. And then somehow it did something for me personally. And now grabbing that message and not making it so much about myself, because it can be scary when you put yourself out there and you speak about things that you don’t want others to know because we want to be accepted. We don’t want people to look at us any different. But I have realized that it really didn’t have to do much about myself, but more about the impact and the healing that can bring into other people’s lives and how that effect can create that that effect that I want to create. So then it opens up a healing and more space for more people and more women to talk about these things.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. And it’s almost it’s almost like when you were talking about your friend who went through a situation and then you kind of saw in her situation, you saw yourself and like, wait a minute, this, you know, similar things happening to me, but in a much different way. And then it’s almost like you saw how telling that story would not only heal you, but would have a much bigger impact. And that’s not to say that it’s not. I mean, you had to be very vulnerable and brave and it’s scary. So tell the listeners a little bit about how did that feel like when you you know, when you decided to send me that email, what was that? Once you it dawned on you what this idea was and how personal it is and how, like you said, you know, you some people might judge you, some people might see you a certain way, talk about like the vulnerability. And is there a fear there or are you nervous? What does that mean? Because I know it’s really hard. You know, for the listeners, it is hard sometimes to open up and tell a personal story, but it is the thing that connects people to the idea that you’re trying to share. So can you talk a little bit about that?

Zaribel Clay:
Yes, it was very hard. And and I want every single person that is listening to this message to know that this was something that didn’t happen overnight. This was something that I’ve been working for for years, really. But being in this academy and being focused and doing this work opened up this space for me to dig deep in places that I wasn’t looking at before. It was very scary. And honestly, I don’t know when or how or if I would have decided to to talk about it if if that situation hadn’t happened with my friend. It was it was so painful for me to see what happened and how people reacted and how how people spoke about the situation and made me really angry and upset. And I knew that I had to speak about it because all of us are dealing with something. It’s just some of us are better at hiding it and showing up like everything’s OK. So, yeah, it was very scary. And I also had to work a lot on giving myself a lot of grace and a lot of self compassion, because, like you said, I can’t tell too much. They can come in, not listen to the speech. Yeah, but it took a lot of self forgiveness and compassion and having a lot of difficult conversations with people in my life.

Zaribel Clay:
And I remember when I sent you that email, it was kind of like I was just excited to get it out there. So I typed everything and then I hit send. And then after I hit send and I read it, then I got nervous. I was like, well, it’s all there in the world. And then you messaged me back and you, of course, as great as always. And then you told me, you know, whenever you’re ready, you want to share it in the group at the Mighty Networks group, go ahead and do it. I think maybe one or two days after that, I decided to do it. And when I shared in their group, I was definitely not expecting to get the reaction that I got. I, I went because I felt that I wanted to put good work out in the world and I needed to be honest with myself. And that was a part of myself that I had been hiding. But yeah. So I was not expecting to to have the impact that it did. And there was a really made it all worth it again and reaffirmed that is not really all that much about myself. It’s about other people.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Yeah. I’m, I’m glad you mentioned that idea that you sent the email and then you got scared because I think Carol would refer to that as the vulnerability hangover. Right. You’re vulnerable. You put it out there and you’re like, oh, no, what have I done? What have I done? Right. Right. But I’m glad that you did, because as you mentioned when you heard your friends. Story and you got so angry, I think that’s like you being called to action. Yes, right. That’s a that’s a sign. So when when we feel so emotionally connected to something, whether it’s anger, you know, hurt, fear or whatever it is, that’s that we’re feeling about a subject, I think that’s how we know that is the thing we need to speak about, because it’s it has an emotional connection to us. And so, you know, there’s going to be an emotional connection for listeners. Right, because they’re going if the story’s going to resonate with them because it has a universal message to it, like you said, bigger than just you. Right. And so what I remember when you came to the the group call and shared it, and I know you were nervous in sharing that very nervous.

Zaribel Clay:
My heart was like I was like, can they see my heart, like pumping out of my shirt?

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, I can. I’m always sweating. I can imagine. Yeah. I mean, I know the women in the group and you do too. How did it feel sharing it. And then, you know, I guess the question is what made it feel like that was a safe space for

Zaribel Clay:
You to share that. Yes. Yeah. So you and Carol and everybody, all the speaking coaches and everybody on staff has been so great at creating that, you know, creating that atmosphere of we’re safe. There’s never been any judgment. There’s never been any criticism to anybody’s ideas. And you ladies are so good at pushing us to be better, but in a gentle way. So that definitely made me feel like it was a safe spot. And like I said earlier, because I have been working on myself for so long, I’ve been better listen listening to those prompts. So like you said, when that happened to my friend, I knew how to speak about it. And I have felt prompted before, but I was too scared to say anything. But being in the academy and around, you guys gave me that extra confidence because I knew that I was going to be supported by you guys and it was just going to give me that extra confidence that I needed. Of course, I was not expecting it to be received as well because I was thinking, like, what are they going to think about me? Are they going to think that I’m not qualified to be in this academy because of what I’ve done? And it turned out that they were, to my surprise, super inspired and grateful for that. And it also gave them space to look deeper into their own lives and their own messages. And I think that some of them even kind of changed their their message after I spoke up and they expressed that to me specifically. They were so grateful for me for being so open in in something that was so personal in that many people would not just willingly say out loud.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah. And I think you make a good point about, you know, how other people, once they heard your story, that might have opened them up a little bit more to to go a little bit deeper and a little bit more personal with their stories. I can say from the reaction that you inspired many in that group, like you said, open up more. And I think, you know, it’s almost like it is a peeling back of layers, but it’s almost like an ignition to of and permission to. You know, this is a safe space. So one person opens up, is vulnerable, everything goes fine. And then everybody says, oh, I could do that, too. Right. And so it’s it’s like a recognition. But you really have inspired the women in that group and given them the knowledge and awareness that it is a safe space to do that. So kudos to you for I mean, that’s hard to tell something so personal and and something that you you know, you have a sense that you might be judged for, although we weren’t obviously judging you, but you had a sense like I’m not sure where this is going to go. Right. So, I mean, major props to you for being so brave to do that. That’s really hard.

Zaribel Clay:
Well, I’m just glad and I’m grateful for you guys to to create a space that it is a safe space for us to speak about these things. And and I like I said, I was not expecting to have that reaction from the women in the group, but that definitely gave me confirmation. That is a message that needed to be definitely needed to

Diane Diaz:
Be out there. Yeah. So I cannot wait for everybody who’s listening to come in here. Are you at the summit? And here you speak. So with regard to the thought leader academy, based on what goals you came in with, what do you feel that you’ve gotten out of it? What has it done for you and how has it helped your growth?

Zaribel Clay:
So by now. It’s funny because I think that my daughter could recognize your voice in Carol’s voice if I put her on the podcast, is that Miss Diane? Because I listen to you guys so much. But anyway, it’s funny. So I would say that for sure. The Thought Leadership Academy has helped me grow my vision. Being in this group has definitely helped me to step into into the person that I guess it was always there. But I didn’t know how to how to step into that person to help me step into that message of the real message. Because like you said earlier, when I came in, I had this idea which it was a good idea. And everybody can agree with women supporting other women, but it was a safe topic. And as we went week after week and in doing the work, I realized the reason that that actually mattered to me is because of what I went through and because we need the support from other women to get through some of the very, very, very hard things in life. And at the end of the day, if that doesn’t get done, then it doesn’t matter if you have a business or don’t have a business because you need to be OK with yourself, be to heal those parts. So, yeah, when I first started, it was I felt like it was like a baby mission.

Zaribel Clay:
It was a good vision, but there was a small vision and then it grew. And then I became so confident and for sure after I spoke about my truth and I shared the response was was so overwhelming and so encouraging that it definitely made me even more excited to share about it. And it just like I said earlier, it’s just confirmed that it really had very little to do about myself and what I can do for others, because in the group I’m thinking like, these are amazing. A smart, beautiful women. Everybody’s working on their business and I don’t know their personal lives. But if they were touched by this story, that means that they could see themselves in me at some level. And that gave me the confidence of knowing that all of the other women that could listen to this message could see themselves in me. And I can be that person that lets them know that they’re not alone, that somebody else understands that you can be yourself and you don’t have to be defined by things that you have done or things that have been done to you and that there is hope and you can do great things regardless of your past.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, my gosh. Terrible. That must be so liberating. It is to have that feeling.

Zaribel Clay:
It is. It is very liberating. And I like I said earlier, I don’t want to ever give the impression that is easy to do because it’s not. It really is. Not at all. I would never want any other woman or person listening to this thinking, oh wow, I could never do that. Like it’s too scary or is what I did. It’s too bad. It’s just too much. The truth is that any anybody can tap into this. It just takes a lot of work and it takes, to be honest, the right environment. Kind of like planting flowers in a garden, which I don’t, but I’m not good at that. But but it has to be the right environment, otherwise it doesn’t grow. So I really do believe that the people you surround yourself with and the groups that you’re a part of in and where you go and what you do around those people, it matters because it helps you grow into that better version. And that is one of the biggest things of the Thought Leadership Academy has done for me. It was the right soil for me to to grow. And it’s just been it’s been amazing. And I can just talk all day long about how grateful I am for you guys. It’s just been incredible there.

Diane Diaz:
Well, I agree with you. I feel like it is such a supportive group. And everybody it’s just amazing as a coach to sit back and kind of watch. You know, obviously as coaches, we support the women in the group. To watch them support one another is so fulfilling and just fills my heart up. I love watching that happen. And you’re and you’re right to share a vulnerable message. You have to share it with a group of people who are going to be supportive, not a group of people who are going to judge. And so being in the right environment, having the right soil to cultivate that. This is funny coming from two people who obviously are not gardeners because I can’t garden either. So let’s make the analogy with gardening. But you do need the right soil to have that message be supported and also take root. There I go again, but take root and kind of spread among everybody. And then all of a sudden you’ve got this really supportive group of women who are propping each other up and helping you, helping you share a vulnerable story without feeling like it’s it’s going to fall apart.

Zaribel Clay:
So for sure and I feel like the last year with everything has been going on in the world, we more than ever, in my opinion, we. To speak about these things that are getting in the way so we can get them out of the way because we now more than ever know that things can change very quickly and we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we can control how we show up in the world. So we need to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and talking about the things that are, like I said, getting in the way of the things that we want. If we keep putting them aside and we don’t speak about them, we can find that that place to grow. And again, yes, it is it is hard because there is fear of people’s opinions. I don’t think that’s going to go away. It’s a matter of, OK, well, I’m still going to do it. Somebody I can remember who I was a few years ago, probably at therapy, ask me if fear was not. And the way if there wasn’t, there wasn’t a thing, what would you do? And that was one of those questions that I will never forget. And I asked myself if fear was not an issue, what would I do next? And then and then I go in and I do it. But it takes practice. It takes a lot of practice.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, that’s a good point. And takes it does take practice because you have to you have to exercise that muscle of kind of letting go of the fear and doing it anyway and seeing what the outcome is. And the outcome usually ends up being something very positive through the impact you’re having on others, too.

Zaribel Clay:
Yes. And then, of course, through through being super real with my message and changing everything up, it also has given me the opportunity to hear and in Elizabeth City to reach out to organizations like I originally planned to, which has been amazing because after we did our I think it was a training on disability, I was very disciplined doing those homework assignments and activities. And I got a speaking engagement. I got also the opportunity to participate in a three part webinar series. I’m going to be starting to serve on a board here locally. So I definitely have has opened up space for public speaking and for visibility, which has been great because it is a small town. And I feel like because of my business with Canada and I have already built those relationships and people already see me as somebody they can they can trust and come to. So this is just making that that impact being bigger and putting my message out there. And the academy has definitely helped me move those pieces the right way to get those results.

Diane Diaz:
That’s fantastic. Yes. And I was going to ask you to touch on that. So I’m glad that you did, because I think it’s when we when we’re able to let go of that fear of being real and being honest and being true to our story. That’s when it’s almost like you’re sending a little message out into the universe. Right. And you open up and and of course, the diligence with your visibility, of course, that helps. But I think it helps those opportunities be attracted to us that more opportunities to share our story, more opportunities to impact people in a way that is going to make real change. Right. So, yes, collaborating with other women. And that’s all great. And that’s that’s a good thing, too. And you should do that. But by telling your true story and being truly who you are, look at all that has kind of the domino effect of all of that happening. That is so exciting.

Zaribel Clay:
Yes. And, you know, change only happens when you shake things up. Right. So I had decided that it was time in our lives already been shaken the whole past year anyway. Yeah. Why not show up? And it’s OK if some feathers get ruffled because at the end of the day, again, it’s not about that. It’s about opening up that space for healing, opening of those conversations and making space for what really matters. Because I feel I don’t know about you, but I for one, I’ve got a really tired about just checking off the boxes and just saying hi to people and having the coffee and everything is fine. Yeah, I’m busy. How are you doing. All of the weather. This and that. And that’s fine. Yeah that’s fine. But again it kind of goes back to like when I first started the academy was just a topic and everybody can agree with that. But what about we start talking about the things that people may not like or the things that people don’t agree with. And those are the things that that I want to bring up.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, that’s a really great point. And I, I do think that it’s those things, those actions that create change, not the safe actions. And as you mentioned, the safe actions are fine, but it’s when we step outside our comfort zone and shake things up, say something that might not be a popular thing to say. But something that’s true to our story, that’s when we start to see this change and so and we start to see forward momentum like you’re seeing, which is so wonderful to see, so terrible. What are you most excited about for the upcoming summit and your speech?

Zaribel Clay:
Yes, I am super excited and equally nervous. That’s OK. I think it I think is more excitement, I think is more excitement. I am for sure very excited to to see my message out loud. So this is a message that has only been shared in the privacy of our home and at therapy and with you guys and the Thought Leadership Academy. And I know that it’s time for the world to just listen to it. So I am excited to just see how that’s going to open up those conversations that are going to lead to healing. That’s really my goal.

Diane Diaz:
I’m excited about that, too. I cannot wait for the audience to come to the summit and real time hear you give this talk. And just I know from the last summit when the women and the women were giving their talks and watching the chat bar of all the chat going by as they were talking and people talking about certain certain topics elicited laughter, certain elicited tears. And and there was so much compassion happening in the in the comments. So I’m just really excited to have them experience you and and your talk and your story and see what even bigger impact that story makes. So I can’t wait for the summit. I know. I know you’re excited.

Zaribel Clay:
I am. Yes, I am super excited. It’s sometimes hard to believe that from the the broken places of our lives so much good can come out of. And I’m just super grateful that you’re going through. What we went through was not easy and I would rather not do it again. But I can definitely see why it happened and why I’m here now and why this message is so important to be heard.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. So what are your next steps then after the summit? What do you what are your plans for the rest of the year as far as your business, your messaging, the story?

Zaribel Clay:
Yes. So one of my plans is to never leave you guys good.

Diane Diaz:
We don’t want you to leave.

Zaribel Clay:
Just going to stick with you guys forever and just keep working on my signature talk. I do want to I do have that Women in Business conference that is March 20th. So I’m working on that message and just continue to work on my visibility relationships and just grow into public speaking and hopefully soon travel so I can also speak outside of here as well. But yeah, I’m going to be focusing on public speaking and just getting my signature talk and visibility and continuing to to grow my brand and grow my speaking business.

Diane Diaz:
Fantastic. Yeah. And if we can all travel to do that, that would that would be so nice, wouldn’t it. So we can hope we can keep our fingers crossed. I think I think we’re getting to that point soon. So hopefully that’ll come. Yes. All right. Well, Isabel, tell everybody where they can connect with you online if they want to.

Zaribel Clay:
Yeah, sure. So if anybody wants to connect with me, they can go to zaribelclay.com. That’s my website. Or they can find me on Facebook, Zaribel Clay. Or they can also email me directly at zaribel@gmail.com.

Diane Diaz:
Ok, great. And we’ll be sure to put all that in the show, notes Sarah Bell. Thank you so much. First of all, thank you for coming on the podcast. But bigger than that. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being so heart centered and vulnerable and thank you for trusting me and everyone in the Thought Leader Academy with your very personal story and being willing to open up in that way. It is it has been one of the most beautiful things that I have seen of late. And I am just it just such a pleasure to have you in our

Zaribel Clay:
In our midst. Thank you so much. And I definitely super grateful to you and Carol and everybody in the group for creating such a inviting environment and so supportive and encouraging definitely has been life changing for me.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, I’m so glad. All right. Well, thanks, Zaribel.

Zaribel Clay:
Thank you, Diane.

Carol Cox:
Thank you so much to Diane and Zaribel for having this conversation for the podcast. There has been an absolute delight to have Zaribel in the Thought Leader Academy. And as one of our summit speakers, she truly has opened up so many of the other women to dig deeper into their story, into their message. Don’t forget to register for our Brave Bold Beyond live virtual summit that takes place on April 1st. It’s entirely free to attend. You can register speaking your brand dot com slash summit again speaking your brand dot com summit. And if you’re interested in joining the Thought Leader Academy like the one that Zaribel has been in, go to speakingyourbrand.com/academy to get all of the details. Until next time, thanks for listening!

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2 Comments

  1. Marie on March 11, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Very interesting. I have gone through some of the same process as Zaribel while doing a deep dive in understanding my audiences…that is…having an idea/an intuition about what’s needed/what the world needs me to do with both what I have to offer and what I want to do, and digging deeper with the stakeholders to shape my/our directions. The result of that digging deeper has included both duh moments and the unexpected, both seemingly necessary to have a positive impact out there in ways that are also sustainable for me.

    • Carol Cox on March 12, 2021 at 1:43 pm

      Hi, Marie! Thanks for sharing your similar experience of the power of digging deeper. Thank you for listening to this episode!

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