Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Update as of 4/1/13: In case you want to know what happened next…I took a look in the mirror and realized that my health was standing in the way of me reaching my dreams – or rather my lack of focus on good healthy habits. So I'm changing that! I'll keep you posted.

As a motivational speaker, I have a weakness, much like Superman and his cryptonite – and that is seeing myself on tape.  Hearing my recorded voice makes me feel like I'm eating glass. Seeing myself live, and I want to run screaming from the room clawing at my eyes, like the time I saw Uncle Cleetus getting out of the shower when I was seven. So you can imagine the dreadful day I've had, watching video of myself – or "game film" as my husband likes to put it.

First of all, my new pants (that looked GREAT in the mirror at home) made me look like an alien was about to pop out of my womb at any moment. My zebra print belt lost the battle with my muffin top and kept riding up like a window shade,  making me look like I got dressed in a bar. Not to mention the twisted facial expressions that made me look like I had some sort of palsy. My bra strap was showing for the entire second half of the keynote, probably due to the dance number I did where the camera caught me dancing from the back. And if you think the front has issues, you should see me dancing from the back. I'm pretty sure that at one point each butt cheek was going in a different direction like wiper blades. I should send the video guy a check for therapy. While my hair did look absolutely perfect (thank you 700 bobby-pins that were worth the pat down in security) my voice stayed at this one really high annoying pitch for the entire forty-five minutes, with the exception of about five minutes when it went higher. I'm not sure who that girl was, but she needs to stop sucking on helium balloons. I wanted to vomit. All I can say is thank God I'm a comedian, or I would never be able to pull this off.

So it's been a rough day, as I saw myself as the audience sees me and realized I don't look like a chunky Celine Dion – but more like I ate Celine Dion.  If I had to grade myself, I would have given myself an F. It was the worst experience ever – well, okay, at least the worst experience this week. But it was also the best, and let me tell you why.

For years I have avoided watching myself – avoided looking in the mirror – afraid of what I would see. And while it was as bad as I could imagine, it was all stuff I could fix. And will fix. So the first thing I learned is that much of what needs fixing within us, is easy to fix. Well, simple – not easy.   I also realized that I got a standing ovation at the end of that speech, and even some cheers throughout. So the way I perceived myself, is obviously not the way they perceived me.  So the second thing I learned is that how we think we are being seen, is not always true. And it showed me that those little cosmetic issues don't stand in the way of being able to impact others. I don't think my audience cared that my bra strap was showing – and who knows, maybe in a weird way, they liked it. Maybe, just maybe, I felt more real to them. So the last thing I learned (which I should have learned a long time ago) is that it's not about looking like a princess to make your dreams come true.  Dreams are for everybody – even the plus-sized high-pitched girl who's butt cheeks dance in different directions.

So go ahead. Take a deep breath. And look in the mirror.

These are my new palazzo pants. The lady in the store told me they are all the rage. I have yet to see anybody else wearing a pair.


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. Oh Kelly, I’m dying here. As motivational speakers we MUST suck it up and look at those danged videos.  We must. And I have the EXACT same experience as you do.  I watch myself and after a few minutes, I have no idea why anyone would EVER EVER EVER want to hire me to speak to their people.  Ever. It’s like – gag me now.

    So if I’m sitting in your audience (as I have many times) laughing myself into a fit and loving every moment of it – and if you’re sitting in my audience (as you have in the past) enjoying my presentation (as you SAY you have and you’d better not be lying) – then the moral of the story is:  We cannot objectively judge ourselves.  No can do.  Not gonna happen.  Let’s just change a few of the things we can change (as you suggest), try to continually improve, and then  just trust.  Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone

  2. This post could not have come at a more fitting time. Finished watching a recent video of me where I couldn’t even focus on my message as I was too busy focusing on my goofy faces (when I wasn’t trying to be funny) and my non-fitting outfit. Back away from the refrigerator NOW!!

    I’d be happy to spend a week sitting in either of your audience’s laughing, connecting and being inspired to make better choices, so why I have to “go there” first still teaches me I’m on a journey. I’m more willing to put that video back in and hear the message, not get caught up into the things that truly don’t matter. What a beautiful reminder.

  3. So funny Kelly!  You are so hysterical…Like our fellow motivational speakers have already said, I don’t like watching video either.  Especially my hair…I mean, really – the whole time that chunk was going in a bizarre direction and no one told me?  The fact is, it’s not all about how we look but how we make them feel.  And, I know when people watch you they feel good that you are real, you are hysterically funny and they love you.  Reading your post, I was wondering, geez are you sure you weren’t watching one of my videos?  :).  I love how you keep it real my friend!!!

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