Spotlight of student's success
An interview with Bella Merlino
Rachel: Hi Bella, could you let everyone know what grade you are in at school?
Bella: I am going into year 8 in 2018
Rachel: When did you start speech and drama classes?
Bella: I started when I was in year 2. My teacher contacted my parent's as she had concerns with my "lack of involvement" in class activities.
Rachel: So what did your teacher say?
Bella: The teacher told my parents I would not participate in class activities or offer my opinions and suggested I do speech and drama in an attempt to "bring me out of my shell".
Rachel: What happened when you started speech and drama classes?
Bella: I slowly began to grow in confidence and began to communicate without fear or reservation.
Rachel: When did you enter your first Eisteddfod?
Bella: When I was in year 4 and I never won or placed at the Eisteddfods then but it helped build my confidence in front of an audience.
Rachel: Do you still participate in Eisteddfods now?
Bella: Yes, I love participating in Eisteddfods and now I win multiple awards across a variety of sections such as poetry recitation, character recital, public speaking and mime.
Rachel: How do you handle times when you may not win an award?
Bella: I want to get better and better at speech and drama so I listen to my teachers and adjudicators. I may not always agree with the adjudicator's decision but I keep an open mind and take it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Rachel: What tip do you have for other students learning speech and drama?
Bella: Practice, practice, practice - be well prepared.
Rachel: What do you think is the most important skill that a person can have?
Bella: The ability to communicate effectively. It can make the difference between "getting that job" or whether people take you seriously or will listen to you. You need to be heard and have a voice.
Rachel: What has learning public speaking, speech and drama done for you?
Bella: It has opened many doors for me - I have been asked to judge film competitions and present speeches to various bodies. I have also been proud to represent my school in inter-school competitions.
Rachel: What is the secret of your success?
Bella: My parents are very supportive and know the value of speech and drama. I am lucky to have Rachel Hennessy guide me as my teacher and I have other teachers who support me as I grow and develop through my studies of speech and drama.
Rachel: Where to from here?
Bella: I want to make the world a better place and speak about the rights of girls/women in Australia. I want to use my speaking skills and competitions as a forum for the need for girls/women to be treated equally. I want a strong voice that will be heard and will help bring about change for the better.
Why your biz needs you to start backing yourself
I want to start by asking you this question. How do you really feel about your business?
Because I’m pretty certain that your business means the world to you. I bet that it fills you with significance and purpose and possibility; and don’t get me started on all the relationships and connections you now have as a result of it. So, it’s pretty dam special, right?
Ok so here’s another one for you - what would it mean to you if your biz was delivering you real results and you could contribute to the family income, all whilst staying at home with the kids? It would be AMAZING, wouldn’t it? I imagine that it would be like a dream come true…
So, now let me ask you this, how much recognition, time and appreciation does your business get from those around you? How much support are you offered? What sort of investment are you putting behind making this happen for you and your family?
Because if you are so emotionally invested, and have such an awesome vision for your family, naturally one would imagine you’re going ALL IN to make this happen… right?
It pains me to say this but for many of you - the answers here tend to be that your business doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, nor the support, time or investment it needs to really flourish.
But most importantly it begs the question why?
Because if this biz is truly something that you want for yourself and means so much to you - then why is it that it’s not being taken seriously by those around you?
And this is where I want to deliver you a real wake-up call Mama. Because the onus is actually on you here.
Yep I have an important lesson for you today and I want you to really wear it.
The response you’re currently getting from those around you is a likely a result of your current communication to them – and what you’re putting out there.
Plain and simple - you get what you project.
What do I really mean by this?
If you project doubt - you will see doubt from others.
If you promote your biz as a side hustle – that’s how others will think of it.
If you show uncertainty in investing in your business – you will see uncertainty in supporting it.
If you judge yourself for spending time on your business – others will judge you for it.
If you try and DIY everything, you’ll get DIY results.
If you don’t think you can – that’s what others will believe too.
And lastly if you don’t believe your dreams are worth pursuing – how can someone else?
Yep, that last one is a big one.
Ultimately ladies, if you want people to take your biz seriously then it absolutely needs to come from you first.
So right now, I want you stand up and take responsibility for where you’re at currently – and where you really want to be.
Next I want you to go on an uncovery mission and work out exactly what you’ve been consciously or unconsciously putting out there about yourself and your biz and what needs to change.
To help make this easier for you I’ve created a couple of exercises for you to follow below:
Exercise Number 1
Grab a piece of paper and write out the following when it comes to how you’ve been feeling about…
Exercise Number 2
Now, I want you to work on every single negative belief or doubt that you’ve identified as part of Exercise Number 1 and reframe it with something positive… with something that will be far more empowering in delivering you the results that you want for yourself in your biz.
I feel bad about following my dreams because of the impact it has on my family (i.e. time, money).
The short-term impact of following my dreams will lead to a second income and a truly nurturing lifestyle for the good of my family. Furthermore, I’ll be more full as a person and a better wife, mother and human by filling my cup too.
I deserve this. My family deserves this.
My competitors are amazing. How can I ever compare? Who do I think I am?
If they can do it, I can do it.
Ladies there will always be fear and doubt but we get to choose if we buy into it and give it weight. And we get to decide whether we let others believe the same of us.
Lead by example. Take yourself seriously. Back yourself.
Imagine what life would be like if you dared to dream, dared to believe and acted as if. If you told the world you could, you would, and you will. What response do you think you’d get then?
About the Author
Anna is a Life & Business Coach. And Owner and Co-founder of Business School for Mums. Business School for Mums is an online business school designed exclusively for Mums in Business and the unique entrepreneurial journey Mums go on as they juggle life and biz.
Their business model is unique in that their core business programs – deliver Business and Marketing training which is all underpinned by key Life Coaching skills – so you can approach everything from the best mindset possible.
Over the last 23 months they’ve coached 1000’s of #WAHMs all over the globe with their workshops and challenges. And they’ve personally schooled hundreds of biz mums through their programs to deliver astounding results. They have also most recently been featured on the Huffington Post and BEEN nominated for the Telstra Small Business Awards.
If any of this resonates with you - then I am pumped to share that Business School for Mums are running a FREE 4-Day Mindset Challenge. Their mindset work has certainly had an impact on me –so I want to invite you me to come and join me.
Reserve your spot now https://www.businessschoolformums.com/121-9-3-8.html
Resilience is the buzz word of the moment; in education and child development sectors. Parents too wonder how they can build resilience in their children. The 1980's were known as the decade of the child. Parents were asked to hug their child and let them know they are special and loved. Parents were told to nurture their child's self esteem, and help build their confidence. These are all great things for a loving parent to instill in their child. The flip side however, has been a generation of children who have been sheltered from hardship, failure and disappointment. Is this a good or bad thing?
It is a bit of both. The problem is when children are raised in an overly protected cocoon, then it is hard to build their resilience. The problem is when parents step in and solve kids problems all the time or ask for special treatment. When challenges arrive later in life they are not equipped to deal with them. What if they don't get into the course they wanted? Can mum and dad do anything about that? What if they don't get the job they went for? Or a relationship breaks down? How will they cope? As parents you can't necessarily change these situations but you can help your child cope in a resilient manner.
It is important for children to be equipped not only with a strong self esteem, but also the ability to bounce forward (a phrase coined by Sam Cawthorn) and take challenges and failures on the chin. Each challenge they face and each time they fail, provides an opportunity for growth and the development of resilience.
Speech and/or drama classes are a great way to help build both self esteem and resilience in children.
In a drama class children work collaboratively and need to negotiate with others to create plays for performance. Not every child has a 'main part' which can be received poorly by parents and children alike (though most experienced students don't worry about it). I explain to parents and children that every part, big or small, is vital to the success of any performance. This was highlighted recently when one of the little boys was sick and couldn't make the dress rehearsal of a show. He was determined not to let his class mates down, so he came to the evening performance. During the dress rehearsal the other class members easily covered for the missing boy but the whole play fell flat. When Alex turned up for the evening show, the play was fantastic. Losing the energy and presence of one child made a huge difference to how the play was performed. Both Alex and his class mates showed great resilience in dealing with the challenges of illness and having one class member away for the important dress rehearsal. There wasn't a whisper of a complaint and they all got on with the job at hand. In fact they ended up wining best play and went through to the finals where they won in the best director category
In speech classes students are required to compete in local Eisteddfods. These Eisteddfods require students to deal with their nerves when performing in a competitive environment. Some students and parents are only focused on the prize and forget to enjoy the journey. What happens when the gifted child who always wins doesn't?? Who do they blame? Themselves? Their parents? The adjudicator? Their teacher? I always encourage my students to give their absolute best. If they bring home some 'bling' (in the form of a trophy) then that is wonderful. If not well "them's the breaks" and there is always next year.
You see, parents can't protect their children from failing, or protect them from life's challenges all the time. And what does it mean to your child to fail anyway? It means your child has a great opportunity to learn from the situation and work on strategies to move forward. Success in built on failure, as it is when we fail we learn the most. Success also comes to those who are most resilient.
Breathe - breathe deeply, before and as you walk out on to the stage/performance area. Take your time as it shows you are in control of the situation. Speak once you have reached your spot. Don't walk and talk.
Connect - Look at your audience. Who are they? Why do they want to listen to you? What do you have in common? Look at one audience member at a time and deliver a sentence or phrase to them. Don't look over their heads or get caught up scanning the audience - you don't want to appear insincere and disinterested in them!
Deliver - Be clear. Be relevant. Why do your audience need to hear what you want to say? Tell stories. The best way to illustrate your point is to share a story! Now remember to speak slowly - no need to rush. Give people time to process what you are sharing with them. Think about how you say your speech - remember to vary your pitch, pace and use pause.
Have fun and practice practice practice.
Are we loosing the art of conversation? Is technology distracting us from face to face interaction with our family and friends?
How many of us can say that we spend the majority of our time on Facebook or other social media or simply texting as our main form of communication? Why not? It's quick, it's efficient and it's easy to do. I know I have fallen victim to the technological age of communication. There is nothing wrong with it at all - it's great! We do have to keep in mind however, that it does not replace face to face conversation. If we loose our ability to speak face to face then we will start to loose our connection not only with others but with ourselves. We will slowly loose our authentic voice.
Face to face conversation allows us to explore more deeply who we are and our relationship to those around us. Social media and texting tends to consist more of banter than real substance. Yes of course there is the odd deep and meaningful text but really this is just hiding behind a screen. If you have something important to say then it is best said in person. This shows a sense of care and honesty. You can lie in print or embellish the truth but it is harder when someone is right in front of you. Body language, facial expression and tone of voice speak volumes - more than mere words.
So keep talking, keep communicating, keep living in the real world where all of your senses are engaged. Build your confidence in speaking aloud not only one to one but in front of small groups and large. Be loud, be proud and be confident in what you have to share with others. Your voice reflects who you are inside and that is worth sharing!! Encourage your children or young people that you know to use their voice in positive ways that will empower them.