Hint of Hustle with Heather Sager

Speaker Spotlight: How Penny Took Action on Her Goal of Speaking on Stages (and then won Speaker Slam!)

September 27, 2022 Heather Sager Episode 168
Speaker Spotlight: How Penny Took Action on Her Goal of Speaking on Stages (and then won Speaker Slam!)
Hint of Hustle with Heather Sager
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Hint of Hustle with Heather Sager
Speaker Spotlight: How Penny Took Action on Her Goal of Speaking on Stages (and then won Speaker Slam!)
Sep 27, 2022 Episode 168
Heather Sager

If you were handed a mic and 5 minutes to share your message, could you do it? Would you be able to distill your story– the things that have made you, YOU, into those few precious moments?

That was the exact situation today’s guest was in when she was presented with the opportunity to compete at Speaker Slam. This was a shock even to her, as she has JUST made the decision to finally act on her long time goal of becoming a speaker!

In this conversation, she shares her personal journey on how she worked hard to hone her speaking skills and took action to own her dream. We dive into the importance of practicing and getting feedback from peers, how investing in yourself can push you forward to your goals, and most importantly how you can distill your story into one powerful core message that can move your audience.

Episode Highlights:

  • Penny’s journey from working on her speaking skills to becoming the winner of Speaker Slam
  • How investing in yourself (AKA joining in a paid program) can be a real game changer for her
  • Importance of getting feedback from others when you practice your talk 
  • Most importantly, how do you distill your talk down into a singular core message



🔗JOIN THE FREE TRAINING : https://heathersager.com/masterclass

🔗 Grab the latest FREE resources: https://heathersager.com/start

🔗 Browse all episode shownotes: https://heathersager.com/blog


Work with Heather: https://www.heathersager.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theheathersager/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/HeatherSager

If you’re loving this episode, please take a moment to rate & review the show. This helps me get this message to more people so they too can ditch the hustle 24/7 life.

Show Notes Transcript

If you were handed a mic and 5 minutes to share your message, could you do it? Would you be able to distill your story– the things that have made you, YOU, into those few precious moments?

That was the exact situation today’s guest was in when she was presented with the opportunity to compete at Speaker Slam. This was a shock even to her, as she has JUST made the decision to finally act on her long time goal of becoming a speaker!

In this conversation, she shares her personal journey on how she worked hard to hone her speaking skills and took action to own her dream. We dive into the importance of practicing and getting feedback from peers, how investing in yourself can push you forward to your goals, and most importantly how you can distill your story into one powerful core message that can move your audience.

Episode Highlights:

  • Penny’s journey from working on her speaking skills to becoming the winner of Speaker Slam
  • How investing in yourself (AKA joining in a paid program) can be a real game changer for her
  • Importance of getting feedback from others when you practice your talk 
  • Most importantly, how do you distill your talk down into a singular core message



🔗JOIN THE FREE TRAINING : https://heathersager.com/masterclass

🔗 Grab the latest FREE resources: https://heathersager.com/start

🔗 Browse all episode shownotes: https://heathersager.com/blog


Work with Heather: https://www.heathersager.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theheathersager/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/HeatherSager

If you’re loving this episode, please take a moment to rate & review the show. This helps me get this message to more people so they too can ditch the hustle 24/7 life.

Heather Sager  2:06  

Penny, welcome to the show. I'm so frickin excited. You're here for so many reasons but officially welcome to my show.

Penny Casselman  2:13  

Thank you for having me. I am thrilled to be here with you specifically and the audience.

Heather Sager  2:19  

Yes, if we're gonna have so much fun today. Penny has a bit of a celebration hangover. It is happening right now but we're gonna get to that in just a moment. Penny, I'm gonna pass you the microphone. Introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do?

Penny Casselman  2:35  

I am Penny Casselman. I am a life coach and author and a budding speaker 

Heather Sager  2:43  

A budding speaker, so amazing speaker.

Penny Casselman  2:47  

Well, thank you. Thank you, right? Aren't we all our own worst enemy when it comes to that. But yeah, so I help women embrace the dreams. They've always had to move forward with excitement and confidence to really go after and achieve their dreams.

Heather Sager  3:06  

Yeah, and you do such a great job of it. You have such an incredible story, which I do want to touch on today. But one of the big things we're celebrating, why don't you share the big news? What's going on? What are we celebrating today, Penny?

Penny Casselman  3:18  

Yes. So today, I am suffering from a champion hangover, because last night I was given the honor of coming in first place for a Speaker Slam competition with the theme of impact.

Heather Sager  3:38  

Oh my goodness, yes, friends, she just beat out 99 other submissions, which were speakers for a speaking competition. She placed first last night in that competition. We're going to talk about that today what went into it, but like round of applause. If there's like a fake applause noise that we can add over this, Max, that'd be super cool. I feel like a legit show here for a moment. Penny, I'm so freaking proud of you. So let's wind it back a little bit. We're going to get to the Speaker Slam piece. I want to hear all about it but let's give some context. So you mentioned you're a life coach. How long have you been coaching? How long have you been in business?

Penny Casselman  4:15  

So I have really been in business since 2020. I actually hung out my virtual placard saying I was open in 2017 but then life threw me a little twist which happens to be the topic of my memoir.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer dealt with that for two years, came back with a renewed energy in 2020. And then well, you know, that thing. 

Heather Sager  4:49  

We all know how that went.

Penny Casselman  4:53  

So, so yeah, so I have been doing it for a couple years now and I'm just loving the growth and the journey that I am on.

Heather Sager  5:05  

Yeah, and you're doing so great with it too. You're getting some traction in your business but tell us a little bit to people listening. About six months or so ago, it might have been greater. I don't remember the timeframe for you. But when did you really started exploring this idea that, okay, I want to take this whole speaking thing seriously, like I want to get on stages. I know I have a good story as you do. You knew that you knew you were good in front of people, but when did you really start thinking like, I got to start working on this?

Penny Casselman  5:32  

It was probably about well, it was about a year ago, that as I was moving forward in another, I was in a business container with a whole bunch of other entrepreneurial women and seeing them accomplish things and like, okay, they can do it, I can do it. And I kept putting in the effort, but I think my effort was busy effort, not meaningful effort. And, you know, luckily, I have been passionate about personal development for so long that I finally, January of this year, 2022. Really, like I had a talk with myself, right? Like I'm sitting in my office in my chair going, Okay, girl, like seriously, what is your problem? You say you want to do all these things, but you are kind of stagnating. Like there's no forward movement. And when I got honest with myself, every time I had had a coach or a mentor, tell me close your eyes, right? Where do you see yourself in five years? Like, where are you?What you smell? What you see? What do you, what are you doing, and every single time that I did that, I was on stage, I was coming out from behind a curtain with a spotlight and miked up and confidently striding out to an audience clapping and excited to hear what I had to say. But yet, I wasn't doing anything to move that vision forward because I had in my mind that I needed to have decades of experience before I would be allowed. Of course, that's my hold back, that I could pursue that I'm like, Oh, I don't have, you know, my book needs more traction, or I need to have more coaching clients and I've got to have this many things done and that. And, you know, I just finally said to myself, Okay, you can't like you will stagnate forever unless you start owning that dream, that vision you have when you close your eyes to move forward. And so that's it, you know, and it's all about serendipity, too, right? Like there, I got introduced to you through another woman who was in your program, and just literally out of the blue. She's like, Oh, I thought of you today and this was just weeks after I had this talk with myself in my office and forwarded me your information and I just went okay, well, I had a talk with myself and now this opportunity has landed in my lap and I'm not going to ignore the signs and so I jumped in because

Heather Sager  6:48  

It's like an ace bass song. I want to, sidenote little memory lane that was my first cassette tape when I was kid and I broke it. I listened to it so many times so sweet moment there. Okay, I love, I love that. So you would put this out to the universe, how cheesy and so true. You put it out there and then literally that referral comes in your inbox. So you came through one of my trainings, right? You went to the workshops. You started working on it. Talk to us a little bit about when you said yes to be like alright, I am going to work on this. Was it everything you imagined?

Penny Casselman  8:55  

What and more. You know, another thing that I have recently, fully embrace and this this goes back to 2020. Up until 2020, I had taken every free course, every free workshop, every free, you name it because I thought, okay, I'm smart, right, and I went to college, I have an MBA, I can figure this stuff out. And finally, in 2020, I just said, you know, what, I have gotten this far with what I know and what I've absorbed in a free version and it's time for me to invest in myself. And so on 2020 is when I started throwing money at real container programs, programs where I was interacting with people, where I was getting more personalized, you know, attention, and it was a game changer, just in terms of stepping into what's possible. But really, you know, reinforcing the belief in myself that, you know, I can do this, right? So when I was given this opportunity, you know, for one of your workshops, everything just resonated. It was clicking and you touched on things that were pieces of new information, or new ways to look at speaking, and I went, Okay, I don't know these things. And honestly, I'm at a point where I don't want to keep digging into free, right? I will give someone money and really focus, do what they say, and it works, you know? And so, whoo, here I am. 

Heather Sager  11:43  

Well, now, here's the thing. I distinctly remember having a chat with you before you jumped in, and I remember you almost didn't. Do you remember that you weren't going to join?

Penny Casselman  11:57  

You know what, maybe I have blocked that from my memory because it was such an amazing experience I would never, ever think that I wouldn't have second guessed joining. But, you know, part of it too, is, you know, when you're first starting out, it's scary. You know, it's scary to admit that you don't have all the all the skills right up front. It's scary to invest money and it's scary to bet on yourself. But at the same time, what kept pushing me forward and was, you know, my vision, and the fact that you were gracious enough to have a conversation with me and just kind of walk me through what my concerns are or objections were. So it was, it was good.

Heather Sager  12:56  

I think, if I remember correctly in that conversation, and it's what I want to, here's the thing. Y'all, I'm really good at speaking, obviously, and when I get on a stage or on a webinar or workshop, and if anybody has any kind of inkling to be like, hey, I want to do that. It'd be really easy y'all to sell you my stuff, like it's just I do it really well. But one of the things we talk about this a lot, we talked about the podcast, we talk a lot about inside my programs. But there's this balance where we want to make sure that we're intentionally working on things that we actually need in our businesses. So I remember one of the things we talked about was I think I validated your vision of just saying is this a thing you want to be doing in a year or it's just speaking, just kind of something you want to add as a notch in your belt. And when you shared with me, that vision that you had around seeing yourself making an impact on stages, I think that's when the light bulb clicked for you of okay, that's the action on my goal. It's connecting the dots between I want to work on this skill. You said that earlier. I thought that was so brilliant. It's working on a skill to support your vision, so I love that. 

So sidenote, if anyone's listening when this podcast episode airs, we are going to be have our doors open for our program that's open right now, the Speaker Co, the Speaker Society which is Penny is inside the society so you can hear and connect with her and all the things but this conversation isn't a sales pitch for that although, I mean, it might be you from this and might might be tipping over the edge. But what I really want to hit on with that is anyone who has that big pull around someday I want to speak on stages, if that's something that is you'd like to make happen soon, it is totally possible. I'm not that's what we're going to dig in right now because Holy crap, you made that possible. But from going from enrolling the program and working on your speaking to becoming like the winner of Speaker Slam, it was not a straight line. Can you talk a little bit about when you made the decision? I'm gonna do this. What happened next?

Penny Casselman  13:22  

Well, you know what, it's kind of again, and there's all this serendipity that happens in life, and I would just invite everybody to just keep your eyes open and your heart open and your ears open for things that you hear or might resonate, like, maybe it's a sign, because I got turned on to this opportunity in an email, like I was not pursuing a contest, like I was not actively going, where can I join the contest to hone in my chops and get my speaking skills tested. It was just someone that I knew passed along an email and said, Hey, this is open, if anybody wants to hop over and give it a try, and I went, Okay, wow, I'm entering and I just did it. Like, I did not even think about what it would be required for me to participate in this. And that is, you know, they always say jump in before you're ready. And honestly, if I had thought too much about it, I probably would not have done it because it's a lot of work. But once I threw my hat in the ring, it was like, no holds barred man, like you're in, let's go. Let's get focused and let's leave it all on the table.

Heather Sager  16:38  

Yeah. Why don't you explain real quick, what was the competition? Give us a like, give us like the detail, the logistics.

Penny Casselman  16:44  

The logistics are, this organization called Speaker Slam picks a topic. The topic that the last one of this year, which is the one I was alerted to was impact. That's it. They just give you the word impact. You can interpret it however you want,  approach it from any angle. And the first round, so there's two rounds in the speaking competition. The first round is you have four and a half minutes to succinctly deliver a speech on video. So my first submission was just a video submission. And then they would go through all of them, and there were 100 and then they revealed the top 10. And I found out actually, eight days ago that I was in the top 10. And from there, the top 10 then compete live. So you have the option to completely rewrite your speech, which that did not even enter my mind. I practice the one I delivered so much. But they did give us those people in the top 10 got an extra minute for them to you know, add a little additional flair to their their topic. So last evening, I was second in the lineup and they announced me and I knocked it out of the park. 

Heather Sager  18:28  

You're more than knocked out of the park. You were amazing. You're amazing. I wonder, I don't know we didn't talk about this before. But is that, is it on YouTube? The final? 

Penny Casselman  18:38  

It is.

Heather Sager  18:39  

 Are you allowed to share the audio? ie., I could put the audio in this episode.

Penny Casselman  18:44  

Yes. And I've already posted the final, my the entry that got me the first place is on my YouTube channel. 

Heather Sager  18:54  

Okay, yeah. We'll see. Well, I don't know the legalities around ripping audio off of YouTube but if we can, we'll slice it into this episode because that would be super cool. Oh my gosh, okay, so, so you won, right? So talk me through last night? How are you feeling going into it?

Penny Casselman  19:10  

I was sweating in lots of places you shouldn't, but

Heather Sager  19:18  

We call those the pre stage sweaties and the onstage sweaties and the after the stage sweaties. It's just this sweaties.

Penny Casselman  19:22  

It was, it was good. Part of what made it comfortable for me is you know, I will be very transparent. I have not spoken on a quote real stage right, like, up on a with a podium in front of 1000s of people. So I was delivering not only my video submission, but also when I delivered this live, it was in my own house, in my own office. So there was that little piece of comfort that I had knowing that I was surrounded by familiar things, but yeah, I felt really good. Honestly, I cannot lie. I felt really good going into it. I had practiced and practiced and practiced and walked around my kitchen and gave my speech and walked around thinking about it while I brush my teeth and I would think about it. So I knew there was nothing that I was going to get tripped up over because, you know, one of the you just practice, you just got to practice.

Heather Sager  20:40  

Yeah, you do, right? Can you talk a little bit about, because you've worked on the speech with a lot of your fellow community members? 

Penny Casselman  20:49  


Heather Sager  20:49  

We talk just talk a little bit about because it's one of those things, right? Somebody hears like, oh, enter the competition, just go for it and just practice a lot. There was some stuff in between. So what would you say? We don't get that all the details. But what would you say, were some of the things that really helped increase your level of confidence so high when you stepped on that stage?

Penny Casselman  21:08  

Yeah. So I think part of it is when you're, it doesn't matter what you're doing but in speaking, I could, you know, practice it as much as I wanted in front of a mirror or record myself, but it's me critiquing me. It's, and there are things that I could not see or hear in practice that when I actually delivered it to you and to fellow people in the group, they were like, oh, yeah, but you sounded, you could tell that you, you got much more comfortable halfway through or, you know, when you said these words with a certain amount of punctuation, or staccato or pause, like, the that didn't register. I was just looking at it myself and I was like, oh, ah, with with that feedback, I now know to be conscious of those things as I move forward.

Heather Sager  22:17  

And it's like, once you have those, somebody else points out those pieces, right? Then when you do your practice, whether it's live or you're watching it back, then you have something to look for because you have that reference point, otherwise, like that awareness is not there. 

Penny Casselman  22:29  

Yeah, it is. 

Heather Sager  22:30  

What are the other things that, I noticed, you tell your story in that piece? How did your story develop over, like over the course of you preparing that speech?

Penny Casselman  22:40  

So, at first, I thought, Oh, this is gonna be easy. Four and a half minutes, like, I can hop on the phone, I can leave a Voxer that's five minutes long, right without thinking, girl.

Heather Sager  22:57  


Penny Casselman  23:00  

But then, when I started to develop it, and I started, you know, just voice recording myself, I was like, holy cow, I can't all of this in, right? It's just to be succinct, and powerful and inspiring. It's a skill, like, I don't think until I entered this competition, that I realized how much speaking is truly a skill that no one is born with, but that you can absolutely get better at.

Heather Sager  23:45  

Yeah, okay, I failed on making sure that hammer through your head earlier. We'll work on that. We're gonna have to add kind of like submissions into the Society. Yeah, you know, how somebody that was really struck me with you, specifically, your story around leaving, and granted, people can go listen to you, or we'll try to include the episode a little slice of your story here, but you have a really, really incredible story. I know that was one of the challenges that you had overall, when we started was like, there's so many different facets of your story around going through your MBA, kind of getting the job and then having cancer and then need the, like there's all these things. What did you like any, for anyone else listening who has a big story with a lot of pieces? Do you have any advice for them around, how okay, how do you take such a big story and distill it down into something for an audience?

Penny Casselman  24:45  


Heather Sager  24:46  

I'm hitting you with a big one here, but I are going to get all the time that I talked about, but I'm curious from somebody who has sat in that seat. What comes up for you?

Penny Casselman  24:55  

So first of all, validation that every piece of your story has meaning. It doesn't matter whether it was during, you know, college or my MBA or having cancer, or, you know, in this competition, every piece of my story has a lesson, has something that is valuable to someone in the world. And I had to get, this might sound harsh, but I had to get pretty brutal with what I included in my talk because what I've realized now, and God bless my friends for listening to me for all these years, but if I just sat down across me for coffee and started telling you a story, trust me, you will probably get a whole bunch of details where you were like, Uh huh, uh, huh. Keep going. Okay, let's get to them. Let's go. And doing this competition really helped me realize there are pivotal moments in every story that you can distill down, that provide the biggest impact, and just when you're faced with that time, at least for me, when I was faced with that time constraint, it really helped me get brutally honest with, okay, this really, in the grand scheme of things is not something that adds a whole lot of value. So I'm going to be okay with taking this out so that I can focus on those key things that will inspire or impact or move someone listening.

Heather Sager  26:44  

And it comes back to the theme for that talk was impact, right. And one of the things that are so central to a really good talk, whether it is four and a half minutes, or it's a one hour keynote, like whatever timeframe, one of the things we talk a lot about inside the Speaker Society is how do you distill your talk down into a singular core message so that that becomes like, that becomes the filter, right? Take the ego aside, go with the filter. So I know you've worked on a couple talks inside the program, but I'm just curious, from your perspective, how instrumental was identifying that like, central core message? How was that for you in shaping any of your talks?

Penny Casselman  27:25  

Well, it definitely helped keep me focused, right? I mean, without having that laser vision that, especially for this most recent or the theme impact. Okay. That was very clear. And I had to be laser focused on making sure that was in my talk. As far as the other, you know, my signature talk that I am still in development with inside the group. It's doing this short, little competition, four and a half minutes, has really opened my eyes to one how many things I can actually fit into a keynote speech. It's way more than I had given myself credit that I could include, and definitely helps keep it, will help keep it tighter when it's delivered.

Heather Sager  28:23  

Yeah, a lot of times when we have the space, those who are similar to us who who are very generous with our words, right, where there's a lot of extra words. And here's the thing when you're speaking live, and you're used to facilitating groups or having conversations, all the extra work, they work, right. But this is where it does get very difficult and I struggled with this too, a lot when you have to distill something into a very small container that high stakes pressure gets in there. And I don't know if this happened to you, but I know for me when I started recording short form video, or video in general, I would be like, hold on, I thought I was really articulate. I thought it was really good. Like, am I not? Like is no one telling me that I'm actually terrible or that I don't know what to say or so I like did you struggle with that too, especially when you started like trying to condense it down into a short form piece?

Penny Casselman  29:18  

Yes, yes, I did because, well, the other thing too, and this is, I always thought I spoke at a pretty decent pace but it is.

Heather Sager  29:33  

I've lobbied hard right now because I know exactly what you're going to say. 

Penny Casselman  29:36  

Because I feel like I'm just completely showering people with words when I finally deliver a speech because you know it you've mentioned, we have to talk quicker, to keep people engaged and listening and attentive. And it's at such a faster pace than I am used to talking that. Yeah, that was very comical for me because I was like a, or I thought, oh my gosh, my lips need a little workout here. 

Heather Sager  30:13  

Yeah,yeah, that's why I have chapstick next to me all the time. Okay, I love that you brought that up. That's like a very geeked out detail piece. But that like, that's one of those things that people don't think about. But the we talk a lot about about delivery skills and experience, I think people hear that and like nod yeah, yeah but there really is an art form to the vocal and the art form of the hand gestures and the pace all those pieces. Can you speak to that just for a moment? Because I think it's really easy for people to like nod their heads and go, yeah, yeah, I gotta work on that but it really makes a big freakin difference. So I'm just curious, from your perspective, what did you notice and how did you grow over the last hot minute?

Penny Casselman  30:56  

Yes, well, I still remember the first time you challenged us to go live on Facebook. You're like, that's a stage too. Get out there. You know, who's like, right? Who's gonna, right? Who's gonna do this? So I did it. And oh my, because I knew I would, I would have to, like, critique it from speaking perspective. Oh, my gosh, my eyes were getting huge. My eyebrows were going up and down. And I thought, I look insane right now on video. And if I didn't know me, I would be scared. I'd be like, girl, shut it down, like you are too much. So it was so, so fascinating, too. And once you know, it's one of those things. Once you see, you cannot unsee.

Heather Sager  31:55  

Yep, yep.

Penny Casselman  31:55  

And so, as soon as I knew that about myself as I, Okay, all right, we got a little, a few little things we got to work on but it really does make a huge difference because it's just engaging, right? It's how you connect with people and especially given all we've gone through. Everybody's craving more connection so the more real you can be, the more inviting, the more you know, relatable. You can be the more magnetic, right? You become on whatever stage you're on.

Heather Sager  32:34  

Yeah, I think it's so easy for us. I mean, we all live in our own heads, we hear the sound of our own voice. We have our own perception of the rate at which we communicate and sidenote, I was mentioning this to you, Emily and I were recording some videos earlier and I had my own realization, we recorded and as we're recording, I was thinking, oh my gosh, we were talking way too fast. And then I watched it back and I was like, oh, actually, it was a very normal pace. So even still, I do this all the time, my brain plays tricks on me. And if I weren't trained to do that gut check, record myself, watch it back to test to see how my energy looks, how my framing looks, look at those things, the outside world and the are inside perception, they do not align, like we work hard to try and align that so we're aware of, but it is very distorted. So I love that you brought that up and laughed it the creepiness of your first video, all of us. All scroll back on my Facebook page like, I love that. So okay, so tell me, you did your talk last night? 

Penny Casselman  33:47  


Heather Sager  33:48  

When you, I want I want to hear like when you finished the talk. How did you feel? Before you obviously knew about the ratings for the winning piece, like when you ended your story? Talk to me about, get present with that. What was that feeling like for you?

Penny Casselman  34:05  

Calm, right, like, as soon as I finished, I knew I nailed it, like and when I say nailed it, not necessarily that I was going to be number one because I was the second out of the 10 to go but calm that I left everything on the table that I came with and that all of my practice paid off, that I didn't forget words and it would have been okay if I did because I know I would have picked it up really quickly because I was prepared. But yeah, if I had a real microphone I probably just would have dropped it.

Heather Sager  34:48  

Don't ever do that. The tech people those microphones. We got to get a fake mic be able to do that.

Penny Casselman  34:56  

Yeah, I think foam microphone.

Heather Sager  35:00  

I love how you said, I just really want to emphasize this when you said, even if you wouldn't have gotten the right words, right, or even if you wouldn't have remembered, you trusted that you would have picked it right back up. 

Penny Casselman  35:12  


Heather Sager  35:13  

Having that like piece, that wasn't true for you six months ago, right? 

Penny Casselman  35:17  

Oh, no, it was not. In fact, I can remember I mean, just my type, my personality type, right is very structured, right? I know, right? Like, I'm not only am I attached

Heather Sager  35:38  

Penny with a Google doc detailing every little thing.

Penny Casselman  35:43  

Right? And so that's how I approached, well, speaking. And I quickly, like, quickly realized, I have to approach it in a different way because I would never open my mouth, on any stage, if I stuck to my documents and typing things out and putting them all in because there is such value in just letting your brain move your mouth and get the message out, and which is so different from typing, or writing, or, yeah, and it's

Heather Sager  36:35  

It's so powerful. It's that piece, where people think that in order to speak well, it's a sequence of words. But really what you described is, knowing what your words are and knowing what your message is more specifically and then working that muscle between the active brain pulling from that, like that core messaging piece that you've already built. Your brain been able to actively pull on that with a plan and be able to speak extemporaneously. Such a big word. I think that idea, like freaks people out but that is the only way to really hold space and be present with your audience. That's the the most powerful speakers in the world. They don't use scripts, they speak quote, unquote, from the heart, but that heart is based off of messaging they worked on. 

Penny Casselman  37:20  

Yeah. And actually, I'll let you in on a little secret. There are some words in there that if you looked at all my previous, and I have lots of videos of myself practicing, I kind of like, after they came out of my mouth last night, I went, literally, my brain was processing two things at one time, like what I need to say next, and holy crap, what just came out of your mouth because that is not what we practiced. Okay, were rolling with it, like it still makes sense so we're just gonna go. So there there are definitely when I watch it, I'm like,

Heather Sager  38:02  

And no one else knows that, right?

Penny Casselman  38:03  

No one else knows that. Yes.

Heather Sager  38:05  

We never talked about that piece right there. That active brain that when you are on stage, it's like I'm you're doing multiple tasks at once and you have to make it look effortless. But part of that piece, right, is you are in real time laying the tracks for what's coming next and you were also experiencing words coming out of your mouth, sometimes for the first time. Hopefully not. But I've now happens to be all the time. I don't know what's going on. If I'm feeling inspired, right? That's why I'm on podcasts. 

Penny Casselman  38:32  


Heather Sager  38:33  

So but that that piece is when you start gaining competence and trusting your voice is going to do its job because you have a plan that feels differently, like now that you have that feeling like walking off stage last night going, Okay, I have this calm sense. I'm just curious for you, like, how do you think that that feeling is going to build from here?

Penny Casselman  38:55  

Ah, well, I think what last night taught me is one, I practice, I can do it. Like if I put the work in, it's something I want to do and I asked for help, I can do it because nothing gets done alone. And second, I had those moments in my talk that I don't know where that word came from out of my mouth because it is not what I practice. It made sense. I rolled with it and I think just having, you know, what do they say? Fail more to, to,

Heather Sager  39:41  

Fail forward. 

Penny Casselman  39:42  

Yes, fail forward. Thank you. I wouldn't necessarily call what I did last night. You know those words of failure.

Heather Sager  39:48  

Well, you won. 

Penny Casselman  39:50  

Right, but I moved through it right and I didn't die. I probably sweated more than I needed to but I move forward, didn't die, recovered on the fly, because I had dug those wagon wheel tracks so deep in preparation, that even when something came up that I wasn't expecting, my brain was like, Oh, that was interesting. Okay, let's get right back into the groove. 

Heather Sager  40:20  

First of all, you know, I'd love a metaphor. So that yeah, wagon wheel back to some Oregon Trail in the fifth grade. I love it. Penny, I am so proud of you and and I want to say this as a coach. The best though, I mean, the best feeling in the world is when you see your clients succeed, but specifically, when you see your clients work so hard for something that they want so bad to see them get. It is like the most magical thing. And just, you have been such an inspiration for so many people in our community and that's why I wanted to have you on the show because your story I think is so inspiring and it's what's so interesting around all this is we're not talking about a huge ass stage. We're not even talking about a conference stage, we're talking about this serendipitous random opportunity that fell in your lap, that you just said, I should do this. Why not? Like, I love that. And I am just so, I'm so in awe of you and I'm so proud of you for doing the work and sticking through the mud and you killed it. Girl, you're just frickin awesome.

Penny Casselman  41:29  

Thank you, I had a good teacher.

Heather Sager  41:31  

Yeah, I mean, I am good but you I can't do the reps for you, right? 

Penny Casselman  41:35  

Well, this is true. This is true. 

Heather Sager  41:37  

It's one of those things is we, I think it's the difference between information and education versus doing the work and one of the things that you started off in this episode talking about for you that difference that you made around putting yourself in environments that were actually going to force your hand to do the work. 

Penny Casselman  41:56  


Heather Sager  41:57  

2022, Penny is feeling very grateful for 2020 Penny, who made some bold decisions.

Penny Casselman  42:02  

 Yes. You could not have said it better. Thank you. 

Heather Sager  42:07  

What do you think 2024 Penny, is going to be saying back to you now.

Penny Casselman  42:14  

Man, she is known to give me a big ol high five rock in a pair of heels in a stellar dress across a massive stage saying thank you. Thank you for sweating. Thank you for listening to those serendipitous moments that nudge you. Thank you for asking for help. Thank you for surrounding yourself with community that supports and believes in you. And yeah, she's just, she's rocking it, girl.

Heather Sager  42:54  

I'm getting kind of teary thinking about that because I think I don't think we do that enough for ourselves. Where we look at ourselves with gratitude for the decisions and the hardships, the scary things, the crappy things like the things that we walk through lead to what happens next. And I think sometimes just giving us space for the gratitude of that gives us that perspective, so thanks for playing a lot with me on that one. All right, Penny, I know that people are gonna want to hear more about you slash connect with you. Where can people learn more about what it is that you do and just say, hey, connect and say congratulations?

Penny Casselman  43:31  

Yeah, absolutely. I would love to talk to everyone. The best place to connect with me is go straight to my website, pennycastleman.com. That is definitely where I post all of my media features and wins if you want to see what I've done in the past what's coming up for the future. Spoiler alert, you know, November, I'll be in Toronto, Canada, competing for Inspirational Speaker of the year. 

Heather Sager  44:05  

Oh, it's just fancy. 

Penny Casselman  44:08  


Heather Sager  44:09  

So we'll be working on that next is what I'm hearing.

Penny Casselman  44:11  

Yes. So if you want to stay up to date on everything, just head over to my website. 

Heather Sager  44:16  


Penny Casselman  44:16  

And get on my list.

Heather Sager  44:18  

Okay, perfect. And I know you hang out on Instagram. So y'all if you, we were joking about, I've been doing anyone to really hang out on Instagram. We do.

Penny Casselman  44:27  

I'm trying to get better.

Heather Sager  44:30  

But Penny is on there. That's where she and I DM chat but sent her a note tell her congratulations. She's worked her butt off. And here's the thing, it's just good, good juju in your world so that way when you have your own incredible opportunity, somebody's gonna pay it forward until you all the big congratulations so please help me celebrate Penny in the biggest way. Penny, thank you so much. I know you had a pretty like high last night adrenaline and to ask you to come on today and record and do a debrief right away. I'm just so grateful for you. Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing this experience with us. You're just so great. 

Penny Casselman  45:01  

Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me. 

Heather Sager  45:04  

Of course. All right friends. I hope that listening to this speaker success story was inspirational to you. If you want to learn more about how me and my team at The Speaker Co, how Emily and I can help you inside the Speaker Society doors are open right now, but not for a very long time. To get all the details over, just join us on Instagram. That's probably where you get the best link. We have some free trainings happening depending on when you're  listening to this, but if you head on over to the speakerco.com, we'll have all the information there too. Alright, friends, we'll see you again on the next episode.