How to Move Past Fear and Do It Anyway with Natalie Benamou

How many of you have ever had a moment of self doubt? My guess is we all have. Today I launched Her Health Equity Council, and I have to tell you, I've launched a lot of programs in the last two and a half plus years. This one really grabbed my heart and created a lot of thoughts around ‘what if'. 

If this sounds like you, take a listen to this episode of HerCsuite™ Radio.

I'm really excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it is to launch a new program, and also to share with you a vulnerable moment about fear. Everyone has self-doubt; it could happen when we prepare and even no matter how much we prepare. It shows up when we feel less prepared. In the end, there are two paths we can take. The first takes us on a courageous journey, where we “do something that scares us every day” as Eleanor Roosevelt said.

“Even when it's hard, even when we think we can't.”

Denzel Washington says it really well in his graduation speech, which is really an amazing video, and I will have it in the show notes. Fall forward – what does that mean for us to fall forward?

We can take the path of falling forward, or we can allow all those fears to stop us to make us think ‘There's no way I can do this.’

I want to say to you that the second path, the one that stops us in our tracks – that's not where you are destined to go.

It's time to bold your brave, fall forward, and embrace the unknown.

Today, I launched Her Health Equity Council, and we have been planning this idea and it was in my mind for four years. Perhaps for you, that doesn't sound like a long time. For me, it is a pretty long time of thinking about it, wondering about it, and culminating all the experiences that impact this idea. You may think, well, why did it take you so long? Four years ago, in 2019, I attended an amazing conference at CHI, which is the Center for Healthcare Innovation. One of my clients was a featured speaker and I wanted to go and support them. What I found was an incredible opportunity to network and gain momentum for this idea of Her Health Equity.

I had this plan to share and I wanted to launch Her Health Equity at this event. There were Players and Health Systems and Doctors and Pharma companies and leaders in healthcare. I knew that they would understand and support the idea if I showed them and made the case for gathering data around physicians at the time. This was my mindset, listening to women, would lead to better health outcomes and would decrease costs and increase better health. Everyone loved the idea.

I had friends that were into the idea and they joined me.

We went on pitches and we talked to other leaders and we had healthcare leaders sharing this momentous path. As we were planning this, we were working full time myself and my friend, Amy Bybee. We knew that it would take time to both make this happen and make it a reality with all the things we had to do.

When I came up with this idea, healthcare trade shows were in full swing, and we had a lot of programs going on in 2019. The progress was a little slower than I anticipated but I knew that in 2020 we would gain momentum. Fast forward to March 2020; I bet you can remember where you were when you had to go into lockdown. We all remember what happened… Instead of Her Health Equity, and advocating for women's health and women's voices being heard, it truly became about survival. This big, crazy idea of making medical gaslighting, (which I've talked about before) become obsolete, was pushed down because we were all just trying to survive. It was shelved for four years. 

Today we launched her Health Equity Council, I had a lot of anxiety.

I don't really know where it came from, because I have amazing friends and mentors, and I've surrounded myself in HerCsuite™ with incredible leaders. As Meghan Draper, our Creative Director, has shared with me, sometimes when something is close to our hearts, it really is the hardest thing to do. I meditated and prayed on this idea of how can I deliver this and help women get better health outcomes, get access to clinical trials, and have a better experience at work.

For me, there really was only one way forward, and that was through.

I know that for many who have anxiety, it isn't simple. It can actually be daunting. Even if you know and you believe when you read things like ‘Fear is Boring’, it can grab a hold of your heart and make everything seem like it is out of your reach. Do you know that feeling? 

Despite all the data and proof and evidence to the contrary, you can do this. Our minds play tricks on us. Instead of saying “yes, and” to quote Karen Hough, Founder and CEO of ImprovEdge, we think “yes…no”.

So what should we do when this happens? Is it as simple as mindfulness meditation and taking walks? Probably not. Here's what I do know. We are the result of the people we surround ourselves with.

In my case, I have been graced and amazingly fortunate to have surrounded myself with women inside HerCsuite™ who have lifted me up. I have a small and mighty team for HerCsuite™, advisors, friends, cheerleaders, mentors, and really amazing women that I look up to every day, who have stepped up to be speakers, coaches, facilitators, and more.

This new program, Her Health Equity Council, our newest program, has three incredible chairs. We have other programs that have amazing chairs, like our DEI Council and Boards. I have to give a shout-out to Cathy, Eliza, Lydia, Naomi, Elaine, Margaret, and Melanie; you have all given me so much. Also to the women who experienced your expertise and who hear what you say. I feel inspired by what you do.

When I was getting ready for this event, I'll be honest, I had a total panic attack. I thought, ‘what if- fill in the blank.’

When I started the program, despite having rehearsed and being prepared and feeling ready, (I've done hundreds of programs, hundreds of podcast interviews and I know how to present), I felt not ready. Today I felt rushed, I wasn't in my zone. 

What do you do when that happens? I  have five tips that I'd like to share with you, that might help you in any situation.

Five Tips To Overcome Fear:

  1. The first is to know you're not alone. If you're presenting as a moderator in a group and a team, or even to the board, whatever the circumstance, there usually are always others with you. They see you, and they have your back, they have your best interests at heart.
  2. Second is to slow down. Don't go fast. Yes, this is coming from me, who's always on the superhighway of going at Mach speeds and going as fast as humanly possible. I had to ground myself today. Listen and look and appreciate all the amazing women who are carrying the torch forward and realize that I was not alone. Circling back to the first thing I said, I knew I wasn't alone.
  3. The third thing is to stay present. Listen, while you're not presenting, pay attention. Today was a virtual program, and I was listening to the amazing, powerful stories that our two council co-chairs were sharing. Margaret Price and Melanie Neal touched my heart. I was watching what people were saying in the chat and how inspired they felt.
  4. The fourth idea is to invite others to participate. Even the most seasoned presenter may feel stuck or lose track in the moment. That's the opportunity. You can ask for other people's thoughts on the discussion. Most importantly, pay attention intently to what they're saying and ask follow-up questions.
  5. The last thing and my most favorite thing, and anyone that has known me for the years that I've been presenting, I will tell you taking up space inspired by Amy Cuddy is my number one favorite thing to do. I'm doing it right now. While I present to you and I'm talking to you here on HerCsuite™ Radio. You see, I stand at every presentation virtually, and in meetings, I take up space, my legs are not hip-width apart, but farther out, my arms right now are as wide as they can go. No one sees this; only I can feel it. It makes me feel stronger, taller, and prepared to take on anything.

I'm going to circle back to the topic today, which is about facing our fear and doing it anyway. I want to invite you to close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Let it out.

Then let your mind see the possibilities. 

What happens if you succeed? What happens if you help one person today? What if whatever you share, even if it is imperfect, really made a difference to someone? Then imagine what would have happened if you didn't do those things? You see, it's easy to hear the noise. The questions in self-doubt. Our job is to find the wind beneath our wings to sail through the windows and know that doing something is better than doing nothing. 

You have what it takes to make an impact. You are exactly what the universe is calling for you to do. I encourage you to step into the moment, embrace all that you have, and take action.

To feel stronger I listen to music all the time to lift me up. When I was in the tradeshow industry, my team and I would play amazing tracks like Walking on Sunshine. Actually, that song led to me closing a very big contract, so I encourage you to check it out. Today, I use music all the time to help lift me up. My new favorite is Chant by Macklemore. Probably because he says that “you can’t take away my stripes.” Those lyrics make me feel like no one can take away all the things that you have done up until this point.

There's also Unstoppable by Sia.

One of our executive coaches for our mentoring program shared that soundtrack with me and I have to tell you, I listen to it all the time now. There's another playlist that I really like called The Power of Women. Inside that, a couple of favorites come to mind. Run the World by Beyonce, Mothers and Daughters, by Myley Cyrus and Love Myself. I would love to know what music you're listening to; send me a message, let me know. I love hearing new songs.

Drop me a message on LinkedIn. If you're a member of HerCsuite™ inside the platform or app and let me know.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to do something that makes us afraid and do it anyway. I believe in you. I know you can do it and keep shining your light bright. The world needs you.


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Thank you for spending your time with us today. This podcast is sponsored by HerCsuite™ Mentoring Made Easy Programs that combine speakers with executive coaches in every cohort. Gain a competitive advantage by advancing more women at every level inside your own private network hub in HerCsuite™.

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Natalie Benamou
Founder, CEO 
HerPower2, Inc, | CGO HerCsuite™ | Podcast Host HerCsuite™

Natalie founded Herpower2, inc. to create products under HerCsuite™ to empower women to make a lasting impact today and into the future. She takes a ‘serve first’ approach to life and has applied this principle throughout her career, serving in leadership positions in business as well as non-profit organizations.

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