Find Your Voice, Change Your Life

Dr. Doreen Downing

Psychologist and Host, Dr. Doreen Downing, invites guests who have suffered from public speaking anxiety to tell their story of struggle and how they overcame fear. They took an inner journey, found the voice that is truly their own, and now speak with confidence.

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#71 Everything Starts with Self-Esteem
6d ago
#71 Everything Starts with Self-Esteem
Today, I interview Clarissa Burt who tells us that her childhood was stressful and not very much fun. There was a lot of yelling, arguing, alcohol, and violence. Her father switched back and forth between Jekyll and Hyde, going from fun and kind to full of rage. Clarissa was the oldest child, and she spent much of her time trying to keep the peace, look after her abused mother, and check each bedroom to make sure everyone was still alive each morning. She hadn't realized that she had formed the habit of checking the bedrooms until her mother pointed it out to her after the divorce when she was still doing it. She was able to recognize that she was experiencing PTSD and begin to work through it. Once she grew up and left home to pursue a modeling career, she was surrounded by people who just wanted to party, drink, do drugs, and stay up late. That wasn't Clarissa's style. She says that despite their own behavior, her parents instructed her to have a strong sense of right and wrong. Clarissa got up early and went to bed early. She had a good head on her shoulders and was starting to not only discover who she was, but also form the habit of consistently raising her standards. This was a major breakthrough. Clarissa believes that self-esteem is the key. We're all going to experience difficulties, traumas, losses, and other great challenges in life. But if you do the work to understand yourself, process your emotions, and feel fully connected to who you are, your self-esteem helps to keep you centered and gives you the tools to overcome any obstacle. She tells us that our experiences are stepping stones in life. Our belief systems and the things we learn help to shape us, and through changes in life we may lose connections with people and things that are no longer a fit, but as long as we are striving for the greater good, amazing things can happen.______________ Clarissa Burt is the Founder/CEO of In the Limelight Media. She is an internationally acclaimed award-winning media personality, producer, director, writer, author, former supermodel, and public speaker. With hundreds of television, radio, and film credits to her name, this Who’s Who of International and American Women brings over 35 years of entertainment industry experience in both International and American markets. Find Clarissa here:      ______________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#71 Everything Starts with Self-Esteem
6d ago
#71 Everything Starts with Self-Esteem
Today, I interview Clarissa Burt who tells us that her childhood was stressful and not very much fun. There was a lot of yelling, arguing, alcohol, and violence. Her father switched back and forth between Jekyll and Hyde, going from fun and kind to full of rage. Clarissa was the oldest child, and she spent much of her time trying to keep the peace, look after her abused mother, and check each bedroom to make sure everyone was still alive each morning. She hadn't realized that she had formed the habit of checking the bedrooms until her mother pointed it out to her after the divorce when she was still doing it. She was able to recognize that she was experiencing PTSD and begin to work through it. Once she grew up and left home to pursue a modeling career, she was surrounded by people who just wanted to party, drink, do drugs, and stay up late. That wasn't Clarissa's style. She says that despite their own behavior, her parents instructed her to have a strong sense of right and wrong. Clarissa got up early and went to bed early. She had a good head on her shoulders and was starting to not only discover who she was, but also form the habit of consistently raising her standards. This was a major breakthrough. Clarissa believes that self-esteem is the key. We're all going to experience difficulties, traumas, losses, and other great challenges in life. But if you do the work to understand yourself, process your emotions, and feel fully connected to who you are, your self-esteem helps to keep you centered and gives you the tools to overcome any obstacle. She tells us that our experiences are stepping stones in life. Our belief systems and the things we learn help to shape us, and through changes in life we may lose connections with people and things that are no longer a fit, but as long as we are striving for the greater good, amazing things can happen.______________ Clarissa Burt is the Founder/CEO of In the Limelight Media. She is an internationally acclaimed award-winning media personality, producer, director, writer, author, former supermodel, and public speaker. With hundreds of television, radio, and film credits to her name, this Who’s Who of International and American Women brings over 35 years of entertainment industry experience in both International and American markets. Find Clarissa here:      ______________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#70 Triumph Over Trauma
Sep 22 2022
#70 Triumph Over Trauma
Today, I interview Anna Ditchburn who grew up in Russia. Her father left when she was 4, abandoning their family to be with another woman. Anna was so young, she didn't quite understand what was going on. She never processed her own feelings about it, but instead focused on her heartbroken mother and helped to keep up appearances, never revealing what was happening behind closed doors. She helped to care for her infant brother while her mother worked nights to make ends meet. Six years later, they were still struggling when her mother met a man they all thought was wonderful. A few months into the relationship, he showed his aggressive, abusive side. He was a military man, and the family lived in fear, keeping everything spotless and in its perfect place. When Anna turned 15, he began sexually abusing her, forcing her to undergo two abortions, one of which damaged her reproductive system. At 21 she left, hiding her secrets and holding herself back for fear of judgment. She felt so much shame over her past, feeling undeserving of love and acceptance. She struggled with job interviews, having so much fear and anxiety that she would become physically ill. And then she met Laban, the love of her life (who has also been a guest on this podcast) and her now husband. They experienced several miscarriages together, but her doctor told her it wasn't a physical problem; it was an emotional and psychological one. Anna was later able to come to terms with the fact that she was afraid of this experience because of her past trauma. She was able to give her trauma a name, ask for help, and begin the healing process for the first time in 20 years. Anna Ditchburn has faced some of the most traumatic things a young woman can possibly experience. And that's what motivates her to tell the world that if she can rise above it, others can too. She uses her own podcast to tell others that they're not alone, and her passion is "helping people to realize their potential, and align with their heart, thoughts, feelings, and wishes." ________________ Anna is known affectionately as the world’s best life-optimization coach. She empowers others with her ultimate courage, stories of healing, and forgiveness. Systemic sexual abuse, two forced abortions by a stepfather, and then sixteen consecutive miscarriages were once Anna’s only story. Now her story is that she has reclaimed her power, freed herself from the tether of shame and pain, and made her life-purpose to help others to do the same to live the life of their dreams. Find Anna here:      ________________ I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#69 From Self-Doubt to Self-Love
Sep 15 2022
#69 From Self-Doubt to Self-Love
Today, I interview Laurie Seymour whose father was her best friend. Growing up with three brothers, she confided in her father and he was her sounding board and source of encouragement. When he died she was still quite young, and her mother was forced to pick up the pieces, struggling with overwhelming new emotional and financial stresses. Laurie was often left out of the equation. She just didn't fit, and there wasn't much time for her. She retreated within herself, only allowing some parts of herself to be seen in the world. During her childhood, Laurie was a good student and was known to be very intelligent, as evidenced by her work and her confidence in front of the class. She had lots of good experiences but never allowed them to become a part of her life and her story-- never really embracing her life. Losing her father had caused a lack of stability in her life, and those feelings of doubt turned into self-doubt for her. After a journey through college and even becoming a therapist herself, Laurie eventually encountered a teacher with whom she had an "energetic experience". This allowed her to finally open up and reconnect to her self-love. She felt a deep connection to her own existence, and it allowed some of those gaps in her mind and heart to come together. Laurie now practices mindfulness, staying in the present and focusing on the truth. She no longer gives self-doubt her time or attention because it has no productive value for her. Today, she teaches others how to tap into their own inner energy and harness it for guidance and stability. _______ Laurie Seymour, Quantum Connection Mentor, 2x international #1 best-selling author, and founder/CEO of The Baca Institute, is internationally known as the source for Source. She helps visionary leaders and conscious business owners shift their vibration for more energy, focus, inspiration, and joy in their business and personal lives, leading to streamlined project creation and implementation and financial abundance. Laurie is also host of the Wisdom Talk Radio podcast, listened to in over 60 countries! Find Laurie here:      your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#68 Reawakened to Her Purpose
Sep 8 2022
#68 Reawakened to Her Purpose
Today, I interview Erin Bogdan who grew up believing she truly did have the perfect family, with an easy childhood and parents who loved her. Now she says she's realized it was a dynamic of "emotional codependent dysfunctionality". There were issues with addiction on her mother's side of the family, and there was a lack of emotional connection on her father's side. Growing up in New Jersey, efforts were made to make their home life appear picture-perfect on the outside. However, Erin learned from a young age that high achievements and good behavior were the way to gain approval and affection, as she tiptoed around her father's temper and her mother's tendency toward people-pleasing. Looking back now, Erin says she didn't realize she didn't have a voice back then. She fit the mold and that's how she functioned. But she was holding herself back and not getting her needs met. Her sister struggled with addiction, and this played into Erin's development and ability to use her voice. That is, until she discovered meetings for families of Al-Anon. She realized she'd been hiding herself. She spent several years in Al-Anon rediscovering her wants and needs. Her corporate career development paralleled Al-Anon, and she was slowly pushed more and more into the spotlight and various leadership roles. Erin went on an immersive retreat to Bali where she had a transformative epiphany, realizing that she was merely existing - that she'd never let her true self live freely and boldly. She now uses her voice to speak into the fears of others and help them to find passion and purpose in life. _________Erin Bogdan is an authenticity & confidence coach & soul-purpose activator who coaches unfulfilled ambitious high-achievers & people pleasers to ditch their self-doubt & ‘not enough’ mindset and become their most confident, capable, unstoppable, and unapologetic, authentic selves so that they can create an aligned & purpose-driven life. Today, she is free to be herself and her very journey of transformation was the exact training she needed to facilitate the same deep, profound, & tangible shifts in her clients. Erin’s passion & enthusiasm for serving badasses-at-heart to wake up to their infinite potential is her soul’s calling and she is so extremely grateful to be living her purpose daily. Find Erin here:     **Download her free 6-step No BS Guide that will have you boldly & confidently Remembering, Reclaiming, & Radiating all of who you were born to be:  **Join her free Facebook community to receive exclusive inspiring soul-shifting content, & engage with a community who all desire to own, embody, and become who they were born to be!  _________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#67 A Journey of Mindfulness and Vulnerability
Sep 1 2022
#67 A Journey of Mindfulness and Vulnerability
Today, I interview Mitra Manesh, the youngest of three children who grew up in Iran. Mitra learned to fend for herself and figure out her own way. She was intelligent and well-behaved, never getting into trouble and becoming a source of comfort and stability in the room. These things earned her the nickname, "the wise child" from a very young age. But was this a good thing or not?Mitra took this as part of her identity the more and more adults would say it to her. She became strong and serious and didn't spend much time playing and being silly - very important things for children. Mitra was in the U.S. for school in the seventies. Then she returned home, but because of the conflict, the borders were closed and she was unable to come back. Then she went to Turkey and France, and now lives in California. Through all of the unrest, Mitra had an epiphany. She had been looking for stability in the world, and as she so perfectly puts it, as her "inner world was forming, the outer world was in complete chaos." She was just beginning to discover herself and come alive, and all of her surroundings were falling apart. She experienced so much loss. The "anchor" she sought in family, friends, academia, and home could really only be found within herself. So she accepted what she calls an "invitation" to dig deep within herself to find clarity and meaning. She realized that she had to find and create her own voice, because if she was "given" her voice from someone, that could just be taken away. She learned to only rely on herself. Her journey into Turkey was quite a turning point in her life. She left everyone and everything behind and crossed the border with little more than the clothes on her back. But without all the other voices in her ear, she slowly began to work forward, starting over and waiting for no one. She realized that only she could give herself the power she'd been looking for. These days, Mitra flows through life in a state of mindfulness. She accepts the reality of situations, does her best to be truly present, and enjoys the spontaneity of not taking anything for granted. _________ Mitra Manesh is the creator of the Mindful Attentionist Coaching (M.A.C.) program, an inside-out program for deep training of global mindful coaches. She is also the founder of “innermap”, an innovative new mindfulness App, and the host of “Lights on”, a podcast offering support for a mindful life. She is a mindfulness thought leader, storyteller, and educator with almost 4 decades of experience helping people of all ages and many different cultures to live, love, and lead more consciously at home and at work. Find Mitra here:    Join her free 1 Hour Class to learn "What’s your most valuable asset in life & how can you benefit from it?":  ___________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#66 Identifying What's Happening Inside
Aug 25 2022
#66 Identifying What's Happening Inside
Today, I interview Dr. John Gray. In John's family there were lots of siblings, and there was lots of love. However, his mother clearly had a sweet spot for John and favored him a little. In turn, his siblings expressed their jealousy by picking on and torturing him. He learned to stay alert, but this meant he was always on edge and quite afraid. John's fear wasn't really recognized or discussed in his family until a concerned aunt pointed it out to him when he was still pretty young. So he became aware that he had an issue with fear but didn't yet understand how to work through it. John felt very loved by his parents. He says that by the time he came along, his parents realized that things like spankings and other punishments hadn't worked on his older siblings. They decided not to punish him in the same way and just to "leave him in the hands of God." This added to the growing jealousy of his siblings, and their anger was another source of intimidation, keeping John from building - or even using - his voice. On the other hand, John's mother supported all of his ideas and encouraged him to keep learning and figuring out life. She would later add a wing onto her bookstore to house and sell all of the books he would write. At the age of 19, John became the youngest teacher of Transcendental Meditation. During his first lecture, he was so nervous he fainted. But he was so passionate about TM, he decided to keep working at it, trying to overcome his anxiety. Then he found Improv. Instead of focusing on a speech and feeling like everyone was there to judge any misstep, he felt like a cloud lifted when his improv peers supported him and cheered him on for his creativity. In this welcome and safe space, he was able to begin to release his fears and move forward. Today, his thoughts and ideas are known internationally, and his voice has changed the lives of thousands. _________ Dr. Gray has written over 20 books. His most recent book is Beyond Mars and Venus: Relationship Skills for Our Complex Modern World. His Mars/Venus book series has changed the way men and women view their relationships. John helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness, and romance. His many books, blogs, and free online workshops at MarsVenus.com provide practical insights to improve relationships at all stages of life and love. An advocate of health and optimal brain function, he also provides natural solutions for overcoming depression, anxiety, and stress to support increased energy, libido, hormonal balance, and better sleep. He has appeared repeatedly on Oprah, as well as on The Dr. Oz Show, TODAY, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, and others. He has been profiled in Time, Forbes, USA Today, and People. He was also the subject of a three-hour special hosted by Barbara Walters. John Gray lives in Northern California where for 34 years he happily shared his life with his beautiful wife, Bonnie, until her passing in 2018. They have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. He is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice. Find John here:      ______________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#65 The Core of Personal Growth
Aug 18 2022
#65 The Core of Personal Growth
Today, I interview Joey Chandler, a good friend for years. This story takes place in the middle of a transformative phase in his more current journey, rather than walking back through his childhood. Joey went through a very rough period over the past couple years where he was struggling with COVID, going through a separation, and dealing with shifts in his business. He was frustrated and feeling a little lost. After all the work he'd done in the past, studying and teaching about purpose, he felt a deep longing to get to the roots of his own identity. He believed that if he could figure out who he truly was, he'd begin to find the answers to the other questions that were presenting themselves in his life. And what he has learned about himself is that he's all about love: courage, connection, and commitment. After peeling back the layers, he slowly but surely realized that these things were the key to renewing his sense of purpose. Joey explains further, saying that we'll always have problems, or obstacles, or challenges that can give us anxiety or fear. Those things never change. But when we bring more and more and more of ourselves to the situation, our own presence diminishes the issue, and our perspective becomes less about fear and more about confidence and feeling equipped. We have courage. In learning more about connection with others, a friend pointed out to him that who we are and what we value are two very different things, and it's important to personify love to people. Finally, Joey talks about commitment. He says that who we really are is just beneath the surface waiting to emerge. Finding your true self takes commitment, which is a daily investment of time, practice, and trust. But when you commit to something true and good, rooted in love, it can be the surest footing of your life. _______________ Joey Chandler is a purpose-based relationship coach and host of the Love Launch Podcast. He works with entrepreneurs, executives, coaches, and consultants to make their purpose part of their relationships and everyday life. He has been coaching and leading transformational workshops for 20 years and his purpose is about people loving their life. He lives in northern California, is an avid skier, and recently published his first book - "Thrones of Wisdom - 99 ways to get off the pot while on the pot." Joey offers a quick survey on his website where you can create your own Core Statement, which helps you to "describe who you are in everyday language". Find Joey here:       _________________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#64 Grief, Identity, and Mom's without a Mom
Aug 11 2022
#64 Grief, Identity, and Mom's without a Mom
Today, I interview Melissa Reilly whose life began in rural upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. Then one of her sisters became severely ill, and she and the other sister were often dropped off with anyone who could take them, so that their parents could take their ill sister for treatments. Melissa was shy with new people and began keeping her voice to herself, learning to observe people and read situations by their behavior. Her sweet sister died a couple years later, and the family went through a tremendous grieving process. Her parents eventually split up. Her mother began to struggle in many areas, and as Melissa grew up and went off to college and entered a graduate program, the miscommunication and frustration between them eventually led to a falling out. Melissa's mother suddenly died eight months later, and it broke her heart that they hadn't been able to reconcile their relationship beforehand. And just seven months after that, her other sister also passed away suddenly after a long struggle with her mental and physical health. Melissa waited 12 years before feeling ready to start a family of her own. She experienced infertility and losses but finally had a son. Wishing for the support of her mother, she realized that she was finally allowing herself to grieve her mom's loss for the first time. She had no mentor, and she felt like something was wrong with her and that she didn't have a voice. She had a successful career, but becoming a mother broke her. Melissa took a step back and it occurred to her that she wasn't alone after all. She shifted her work, feeling the passion to encourage her community of fellow moms without moms that motherhood is hard but rewarding, and that mothers can lean on each other to ask questions and find the support they need to believe in themselves. ___________ Melissa Reilly, Psy.D. is a mom of two boys, clinical psychologist, and mom coach passionate about helping moms separated from their mother by physical distance, estrangement, or death, move from feelings of insecurity, isolation, and overwhelm to a place of resilience. Through her personal and professional experience, she has come to recognize that Moms without a mom experience grief as part of their motherhood experience, even if they don’t realize it. The relationship moms have had (or didn’t have) with their mothers impacts how they see themselves but doesn’t define them. She believes it isn’t knowledge and skills that create resilience, but rather it is born through overcoming hardship, having a community, and living by one’s values. Melissa is honored to walk with moms on their journey to becoming the mom they always wanted to be. Her psychological practice, Shoudt & Reilly Psychological Services, serves residents of Berks County, Pennsylvania. She is now expanding her services to include parent coaching, focusing on Moms Without a Mom, which can be accessed by women all over the world through her website.Find Dr. Melissa here:     Enjoy Being a Mom Again Quick Guide:  Care For Yourself While You Care For Your Baby Guide:  Schedule a complimentary coaching call:  ___________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#63 Inner Peace & Accepting Our Feelings
Aug 4 2022
#63 Inner Peace & Accepting Our Feelings
Today, I interview Ann Hince whose story certainly has a unique beginning. She was adopted as a newborn into a family who had just had to give up a foster daughter, so in some ways she started her life by filling in another one's shoes. There was a lot of moving and traveling when Ann was a child, and somehow her birth mother kept track of her location all along. Ann experienced some traumatic experiences as a young child. She told her parents her room was on fire and they didn't believe her. So from day one her voice was quieted. Among many places they'd lived was Hong Kong, and while her family lived there she was sent away to England to attend her brother's boarding school-- a boys-only institution-- which would be yet another confusing and scary experience on a list of many that had suppressed her voice. Through the years her dad also tormented her. He made her record herself speaking on cassette, something to be mailed to the grandparents, but would also chime in, mocking and ridiculing her for how her voice sounded. He also repeated the same teasing that Ann said she was receiving from the boys at her school. So her fear grew and she continued to hide within herself, tired of the constant humiliation. When she reached 21, she left that life behind and headed for California, where she had a family and pursued a career in software engineering. She was confronted by some disagreement from some fellow coworkers and it absolutely tormented her. A few days later, she'd processed the incident and realized that she shouldn't have had such a strong reaction-- that there was unresolved trauma and she could do something about it. So she did. Ann went on an amazing journey and found emotional freedom. Today, she encourages others to allow themselves to fully experience what they're feeling and work through it, rather than suppressing it. She helps them to be present and acknowledge the moment so they can move past their fear and pain. ___________ When Ann was 19, she woke one morning to find her mother dead in her bathroom. Twenty years later the tears from that trauma were still just under the surface. Ann found a simple technique that helped her release these emotions - but she went further and can now put her awareness inside her body - and has changed the bone structure of her skull and grown ½ an inch at age 55. Ann has found that seeking out our truth, what we truly feel, and accepting those feelings, is the key to inner peace. Find Ann here:    Book: A Pathway to Insight on Amazon___________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#62 Rebuilding Through Humility, Hard Work, & Acceptance
Jul 28 2022
#62 Rebuilding Through Humility, Hard Work, & Acceptance
Today, I interview Paul Hood who describes his childhood household as "quiet, non-controversial, and easy". Maintaining privacy and avoiding conflict were the M.O. His father was a CPA and introduced him to a colleague who was both a CPA and a lawyer, and at age ten Paul decided that this was the combination he would strive for. He graduated with a master's in tax law and was mentored in estate planning, in which he landed a successful job at a great firm. At age 38, he was nationally nominated for an ACTEC fellowship-- something unheard of for someone so young-- and became a reputable speaker. Then, he stood his ground in a disagreement within a social organization for which he was treasurer. He lost the battle and was blacklisted in the community. Not long after, his wife of ten years decided she wanted a divorce. Paul loved his work, but he was experiencing burnout. He would later be diagnosed as bipolar. Then, after some deception by his clients regarding an estate matter, the tables turned and Paul's handling of the case was regarded as unethical, and he eventually received a suspension from the bar. His friends and colleagues abandoned him, he was struggling with his custody battle, and after much anxiety, he'd become addicted to Xanax. And finally, after a heartbreaking misunderstanding with his family, an altercation went terribly wrong. His world was crumbling and he attempted suicide. He realized that "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." He was determined to climb out of the empty hole his life had become. He has completed rehabilitation and worked to be reinstated. He encourages others never to stop believing in themselves, and that when we don't have anyone in our corner, we have to be our own strength. He believes his inner voice carried him through. __________________ A native of Louisiana (and a double LSU Tiger), Paul Hood obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University and an LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center before settling down to practice tax and estate planning law in the New Orleans area. Paul has taught at the University of New Orleans, Northeastern University, The University of Toledo College of Law, and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. Paul has authored or co-authored nine books and over 500 professional articles on estate, charitable and tax planning, and business valuation. Paul’s ninth book, Yours, Mine & Ours: Estate Planning for People in Blended or StepFamilies, is now out. A “recovering tax lawyer” and frequent contributor to Leimberg Information Services since its inception, Paul is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant because of his innate ability to see through the complexity and explain difficult and even boring subjects in understandable and entertaining language with his insightful and biting sense of humor, and he minces no words in doing so. Along the way, Paul’s been a father, husband, uncle, Godfather, lawyer, trustee, member, director, president, partner, trust protector, director of planned giving, expert witness, agent, professor, judge, juror, respondent, and a defendant, and he uses his experience in these myriad roles to guide others. Paul is an author, speaker, and consultant on tax, estate, and charitable planning. He also is a Vice-President with Thompson & Associates, a charitable estate planning firm.___________________ Find Paul here: paul@paulhoodservices.com   I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Sp
#61 Self-Love, Self-Discovery, & Setting the Example
Jul 21 2022
#61 Self-Love, Self-Discovery, & Setting the Example
Today, I interview Lesley Evans who as the youngest of three children and the only girl, received plenty of attention as a child. Her voice didn't begin to fade until her teenage years. Her parents divorced and she focused on comforting her mother, and from there she naturally fell into a caretaker role, giving her friends advice and being the supporter for anyone who needed it. As a young adult, Lesley lived her life according to a checklist: get a degree, find a job, get married, buy a house, have children. She was busy all the time, getting things done and checking them off her list. But somewhere along the line, she lost herself. She was so preoccupied with accomplishing everything on the list, and with taking care of people and meeting their needs, that she completely forgot about herself. In this interview, Lesley also mentions her sudden realization that her voice was also silenced because of her work in the nursing/therapy field-- that often times nurses and therapists put in the most time and labor, yet the doctor is the only one who can "sign off" on things and have the final say. In a precious revelation, Lesley saw the need for change when she saw her own habits mirrored in her daughter. As she encouraged her daughter not to diminish herself for anyone, she sensed that a shift needed to be made. She worked to break the cycle of putting herself last so that she could set a better example for her children. Lesley did a deep spiritual dive, learning to understand her life and her energy better. She was able to use all the losses and changes along the way to transform herself and find her own healing. Today, she uses alternative therapies to help others achieve physical and emotional balance, form healthy habits, and rewire their thinking in a more positive way. __________________ Lesley is an International Best-Selling Author of DeFUNK YourSELF. She has developed a perfect blend of ​modern and magical ​therapies to empower the overwhelmed by teaching how to shed the guilt, find your passion, and live an inspired life. Lesley has thirty years of experience as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse Therapist. She is a Certified Soul C​are Practitioner and Reiki Master. She brings new purpose and passion for raising awareness, gaining new perspectives, and teaching others to Shine Their Light​. ​She believes, like The Rising Phoenix, that everyone can rise from the ashes of their old lives and build themselves stronger to shine their light into the world. Click the link to get Lesley's Tips to Fit Mindfulness Into Everyday Life:  Find Lesley here: lesley@riseofthephoenix.org     __________________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#60 Embracing the Power of My Story
Jul 14 2022
#60 Embracing the Power of My Story
Today, I interview Doug Brown who was raised by two very hardworking parents. He was encouraged to persevere and accomplish as much as he could, but that put a lot of emphasis on performance and left less time for self-reflection. There wasn't much room for slowing down to connect. He says that throughout his various experiences and occupations, he's never had a fear of the microphone. He never felt anxious about delivering a message and getting the job done. But truly letting himself be seen and revealing his vulnerable side was a completely foreign idea for him. Doug continued onto what would become a very long and successful career built around fortifying businesses and rescuing and repairing issues for business owners. He worked extremely hard-- so hard, in fact, that he wasn't taking care of himself. He was becoming more and more empty, and his own needs weren't being met. He fell into extreme burnout and finally knew he needed to make some urgent changes when he started experiencing panic attacks. After heeding advice of coaches and mentors to explore mindfulness, Doug became attuned to his own place in the world, putting thought into how he wanted his life to look and how he wanted to represent himself. He wanted to thrive, and he was ready to make the necessary changes. Now in his interactions with people, he truly values taking the time to really connect. He believes we accomplish more as humans when we share ourselves with others. That's what makes the most meaningful difference. __________________ Doug is an executive coach and consultant who helps high-performing CEOs, business owners, lawyers, and other professionals maximize their business growth and leadership success so they can have the freedom to live a fulfilled life. Doug's story of finding his voice is tied to his career and life journey from the child of small business owners through being a lawyer and into his own journey into the corporate world and becoming an entrepreneur, business builder, and fixer. And over the last 25 years, he's helped transform multiple seven and eight-figure businesses, from large corporations to family businesses, professional practices, not-for-profits, and professional associations. Find Doug here: doug@summit-success.com     your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#59 Coming Back Home to Me
Jul 7 2022
#59 Coming Back Home to Me
Today, I interview Peleg Top who was bullied as a child growing up in Israel. He knew who he was, and he had things to say, but he felt that no one wanted to hear them.  As a gay young child he was teased and felt that he never fit in. Eventually he began to believe those lies and would later require some inner work to rediscover his love for himself. Throughout his teenage years, the bullying continued. And he hid more and more of his true self, eventually feeling as though life was a mindless act and he was just going through the motions. Peleg points out that as innocent children, we exist as pure love and joy. When he was finally able to do the inner work required to heal, the result was coming full circle back to himself-- back to that place of existing as love and joy. He's realized that it's okay to say what he wants,  to say and share what's in his heart with people, and that it's also okay if people didn't agree with what he has to say. And that is so empowering! Peleg naturally protects his creativity and uses his knowledge and spirituality to protect his true self-- the true self he fought so hard to reclaim. Today, he's a creative coach and spiritual director who studies and teaches about transformation, change, and building healthy habits. __________________ Peleg Top comes to us from Santa Fe, in the land of enchantment in New Mexico. He is the founder of the "Creative High Growth Method" a soul awakening process that helps people at a crossroads find their purpose and authentic voice. Peleg wears many creative hats. He is a trained spiritual director, an entrepreneur, an artist, a trained chef, a graphic designer, and a recovering overachiever Find Peleg here: hello@pelegtop.com     __________________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#58 The Journey to Clarity and Self-Worth
Jun 30 2022
#58 The Journey to Clarity and Self-Worth
Today, I interview Ray Bourcier who was five when he experienced the beginnings of what would become a major conflict within his family. Aunts and uncles in disagreement with his own parents led to a complete falling out by the time he'd reached age eight. Ray was excluded from activities with his cousins based on the adults disliking each other, and so began the inner turmoil and lack of self-worth for such a little guy. What's more, a troubling mental health diagnosis for his mother led to no peace for Ray. The discord and resentment continued in the family, and Ray says he spent the next two decades basically "in survival mode". He didn't feel safe. He didn't feel like he fit in anywhere. And he didn't have a true sense of his own identity. He had no motivation in school, was bullied, and felt very left behind. He ended up giving up on college to care for his mother. Eventually, he decided to give life one more try. He re-enrolled in hopes of studying Environmental Science. Then, a shocking incident would change his life forever. A SWAT team burst into his apartment in full force and scared the life out of him. Officers left after realizing they'd hit the wrong apartment, but Ray was terrified and completely paralyzed by the whole event. He failed his exams and lost focus. But he later realized that he had the opportunity to view life with a different perspective. He challenged the odds and completed his degree. But it was time to reevaluate his struggling marriage and make a change before his child was to be born. He made a conscious choice to heal from his past and to prevent the same toxicity from impacting his child's life. He made it to the other side and now uses his company and his podcast to encourage other people (his heart is for parents & kids) to embrace change, have an open mind, build their strength, and never give up. __________________ From the age of five and for the next 20-plus years, Ray struggled through severe anxiety and depression before starting his journey of overcoming his struggles. Ray is now a father, author, podcaster, and mentor. His goal is to help transform the lives and impact the worlds of 11 million parents by helping them to break the cycle so it doesn't get passed on to their kids, their relationships, and their dreams. Captivate featured his podcast "From Surviving To Thriving" only six weeks after its launching. Find Ray here:  empoweruptransform@gmail.com       I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#57 Serenity in Serving Others
Jun 23 2022
#57 Serenity in Serving Others
Today, I interview Carl Ficks who grew up in a household where writing took precedence over speaking. His father held various positions where writing was a key role, and Carl learned to develop the habit of writing well and listening well. His parents communicated calmly and clearly without the need for shouting or excessive emphasis, and Carl learned to follow this model and attitude. His carriage and demeanor showed in his schooling also, where he believed that choosing the appropriate time to be silent was just as important as making the effort to be vocal. Now as an adult, Carl has made the art of listening a priority. He recalls that when he practiced law, he observed numerous instances where he believed listening was the answer-- that people simply wanted and needed to be heard. The depth of his communication is seen in his writing. Calling himself "the quiet lawyer," Carl says that rather than show physical or verbal boldness in his field, he chose to let his writing and his work do the talking. After many years of faithful service, Carl pivoted from law toward something that inspired him in a fresh new way: fitness. He founded a company called No Surrender, where he helps busy business professionals to thrive by harnessing the benefits of fitness. He thrives by serving others, helping them to improve their physical and mental health in every way, which in turn brings them success and happiness in life and in their pursuits. __________________ Carl Ficks helps busy professionals get back in the fitness game so they can thrive. His "Ficks System" is a proven road map for endurance athletes and weekend warriors alike. His bi-weekly newspaper column and LinkedIn posts, both titled "The Friday Ficks," provide strategies, tools, and inspiration to stay resourceful and resilient regardless of the circumstances. Carl was also a trial lawyer for 30+ years before starting No Surrender, LLC Click here to download Carl's free guide, 10 Steps for Getting Back in the Game: www.carlficks.com/free Find Carl here:     __________________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#56 Refined Through Forgiveness
Jun 16 2022
#56 Refined Through Forgiveness
Today, I interview Kate Vrastak who grew up in a missionary household with a mother who taught her to serve others and love God. After her thirteenth birthday, her life changed forever when her entire family died in a tragic accident. She was left to care for her ailing grandmother, who also died not long after. Kate buried her grief and trauma down deep, eventually turning to bulimia to cope. She knew she had to find a way to heal, but she felt so lost. She was afraid to form new relationships or rely on people because she didn't want to lose them too, so she kept everyone at a distance.Kate did find a way to heal through various kinds of therapies. She decided to tell her story by writing a book. Through this process, she was able to finally forgive herself for not having been able to save her family. She shared her grief with the world and found her way to forgiveness. Now, Kate coaches others to rise up above their circumstances and become stronger, leading successful and fulfilled lives. __________________ Kate Vrastak, is a Motivational Speaker, author of 2 International Best Selling books Ignite Possibilities and Ignite the Hunger in You and Mental Health Advocate. For the past decade, Kate has been a Canadian mental health professional for the past decade. She posses’ education in Social Services with certifications in Grief Therapy, Suicide Prevention, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, ABA, Shamanism, and a Reiki Master.  She is the CEO of Sacred Roots Coaching._________________Find Kate here:     your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#55 Everyone Has a Story
Jun 9 2022
#55 Everyone Has a Story
Today, I interview Cedric Crumbley who grew up in Georgia. When he was an infant, his father passed away. So unfortunately, he didn't get to know his Dad. However, his father's siblings saw so much of his father in Cedric that they truly treasured him. He was certainly given a lot of attention and had great connection with the adults in his family. He was even teased a little in school because he had such an adult-like way of speaking. He naturally had a positive outlook (which was rare among his peers) and although he looked to God to be his father figure, he also later gained a stepfather who fully believed in him and encouraged him to shoot for the moon. His new dad taught him that he could do anything and that if there was any trouble, it was because he wasn't being true to himself. In high school, Cedric didn't like being the tall skinny kid, so he read a bodybuilding book and put on quite a bit of muscle over the summer, coming back to school feeling more confident and proud of himself. Cedric had a vision for success. He wanted to find ways to make lots of money, and fast. But his mother encouraged him to slow down and focus on learning and developing himself. He fought that idea, ended up in a little trouble, and a judge recommended the military because he felt that learning that level of respect would do a great deal to help him develop his character. He says the Army changed his heart. While he didn't want to go, he did learn about hard work, being faithful, and the meaning of respect. And so, it turns out that Cedric's talent is learning. He says that whether you find a book or a course, whatever it is you want to learn or become or do, it can be done. He encourages us to find the thing about us that is most special and to use that gift to thrive. __________________Cedric Crumbley went into the army when he was still a teenager. After 20 years in uniform, he hung up his boots and started a new chapter in life. He says one of his biggest thrills was to retire at a young age, and he's taken what he's learned to become the author of Proven Sales and Recruiting Methods. Find Cedric here: cedcrumbley@gmail.com     ___________________I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#54 Performing with Balance and Intention
Jun 2 2022
#54 Performing with Balance and Intention
Today, I interview Michael Rost, whose young life included the emphasis on "comparative suffering." He tells us that to his father complaining was unwelcomed and was overshadowed by the reminder that others had it far worse.  So his young mind learned not to open up to others. Well, when you don't speak much, you're able to become quite the listener. Michael took it to another level, becoming fascinated with tones and vibrations coming through in the voices of the adults around him, allowing the subtleties to help him to discern what was really going on-- the things no one was saying out loud. Later in his doctoral studies of phonology, Michael learned that when we hear, our brain processes emotional response before it processes the actual meaning of the words. He continued to finish his degree and became heavily involved in the academic world, thriving in a world of intellectual talent. But eventually, his mind and body had a disconnect, and the psychological pressure to perform manifested in physical exhaustion, dizziness, and burnout. Although it went against his family's nature, he eventually sought therapy to get to the root of his dizziness and ended up realizing he'd felt pressure from all sides pulling him in different directions and it was causing internal conflict. Now that he's learned to listen to his own voice and focus on his own goals, Michael has learned to slow down and balance his thoughts so that he can teach and write with intention. __________________ Michael Rost has had a lifelong interest in communication theory and has had an illustrious career in academia, specializing in psycholinguistics; in language teacher education, focusing on speaking and listening development; and in instructional design, concentrating on listening-based language courses. Though he has numerous publications in linguistics, Michael recently published his first novel, a memoir called The Journey Home — which is published under the pen name Gabriel Bron. Michael is a great believer in the value of “pivotal experiences” in one’s life and career – and he considers his first encounter with Speaking Circles, some 20 years ago, in which he met me (Doreen) and Lee Glickstein, to be a pivotal experience — which transformed his view of public speaking and his view of writing. He is “forever grateful” for this encounter — and for the doors it opened to more personal and more satisfying self-expression. Find Michael here: michael.rost@latcomm.com  your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#53 Stillness, Intuition, and Faith
May 26 2022
#53 Stillness, Intuition, and Faith
Today, I interview Donna Tashjian who suffered loss and abuse at an early age.  She was forced to grow up fast and put aside what happened, focusing on adulthood without a true sense of her own identity. She hadn't been able to deal with her trauma, so her confidence was deeply hurt and she was very afraid of using her voice and making true connections with people. She struggled with the child voice inside her vs. the adult voice, knowing right and wrong but being made to feel like speaking up about it wasn't her place. So she stayed busy to block out those feelings. She eventually developed an appreciation for stillness, learning the importance of embracing her inner intuition, letting it out, and learning more about her true self every day. She came to develop a relationship with God and credits a church group for helping her find the courage to dig deep within herself to process and deal with her past. Now she helps others to turn the heavy painful parts of their past into empowering tools they can harness today in a healthy way, striving for productivity, success, and joy. __________________ Donna is the founder of Vibrant Living International a non-profit organization. She is also a Life Mastery Coach, an ordained minister, podcaster, and author. She helps bring accelerated transformation to people across the world. Her passion is to help you reach your full potential. She specializes in helping you turn your baggage into luggage so you can live the life of your dreams using and developing your spiritual intelligence. Donna has been speaking and coaching for over 25 years. She has developed powerful programs and workshops to help you through life's transitions and pain to achieve your goals or dreams. She also produces a podcast called “You Were Designed for Greatness” and has written 4 books. Her clients say she has a knack for turning fear into excitement and exposing lies so the truth can shine through. Find Donna here:  (Free book available on the homepage!)       your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking:
#52 Embrace Happiness as Your True Self
May 19 2022
#52 Embrace Happiness as Your True Self
Today, I interview Dr.  Pelè  who grew up during civil wartime in Nigeria. He and his family were refugees, fearing for their safety with every step, never sure of their next meal. In order to comfort her children, his mother would sing and tell stories. Dr. Pelè says this diversion created a change in his mindset as a child. Our youngest childhood years are the most formative, and while childhood trauma often imprints negatively and requires later work to overcome, Dr. Pelè's sweet mother helped him to flip that switch and see past his physical pain to focus on pure happiness. What a miracle! Later in the workforce, Dr. Pelè had a strange experience where someone was surprised at his boldness to speak his mind. His race was mentioned in a negative light, as if it meant he had less of a right to speak than others. He had never questioned his identity or validity before. He  was able to go to school in search of better opportunities. Through his learning journey, he was able to reevaluate his passions and discover what he was truly meant to offer the world. Today, music continues to be a great source of strength and joy for Dr. Pelè-- his way of finding connection, clarity, and happiness. He also works with entrepreneurs, businesses, and coaches to hone their marketing and vision. He has a thriving online community where he's able to connect with people on a global level and help others to share their voices too. __________________ Dr. Pelè is an educator, musician, bestselling author, and the Founder of ClientJam™, a software and community that delivers consistent client acquisition for highly paid experts. Through hands-on mentorship, he helps creative entrepreneurs, coaches, and consultants unleash their hidden powers of mindset and marketing to achieve the business success they seek. Find Dr. Pelè here: pele@drpele.com    ___________________ I'm your podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, and I help people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear. Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: