Do you have a fear of something which when you’re forced to do it you have to keep your eyes shut? Ifit’s a fear of public speaking, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company.
My Page 1 woman of the week, Althea Grant, was terrified of public speaking. Now, you wouldn’t have expected that of a family lawyer and a community activist. When, some years back, she did the rounds of local churches as leader of a campaign for justice for a church ‘brother’, the feedback said that she’d done it with her eyes shut tight. And yet if you’d been at the National Achievers Congress in November 2012, you would have seen that same Althea Grant, in her red ‘lucky jacket’, on the stage with the likes of Sebastian Coe, Tony Robbins, Donald Trump and Andy Harrington, sharing her story with an audience of approximately 8,000. This time Althea’s eyes were wide open. She was in control of her material and her performance. Although ‘the nerves were killing me’, she said, as a member of the audience, I would never have known.
So who is Althea Grant?
Had Althea been born in Britain, she would have been taken into care by social services at around the age of 7. But she was born and brought up in Jamaica, where the social welfare system wasn’t developed. So Althea had to endure years of physical abuse at the hands of an aunt, in whose care she had been entrusted when her mom came to Britain. And listening to Althea relate the tale of a childhood of constant fear, in which she was abused a lot and loved little, you’d wonder what miracle had produced such a determined and persistent go-getting woman. Not only has she forgiven her abuser, but she channelled her experience into her role as a family lawyer seeking the best outcomes for children. This is far from the usual narrative regarding child victims of abuse. But then, Althea Grant is unique and doesn’t fit the stereotype.
And the big question – how did Althea do it? How did she evolve from terrified and reluctant public speaker to a confident professional speaker in a mere 4 months? The narrative hints at ‘The Law of Attraction’ at work and opportunities from nowhere showing up in her life at a time of grieving for her partner and recovering from ill health and major surgery. So it wasn’t just down to a series of powerful breakthroughs at Andy Harrington’s ‘Power to Achieve’seminar in May 2012. It was also down to Althea’s search for meaning and recognising a further opportunity that could open up at Andy Harrington’s ‘Public Speakers’ University’ (PSU) – specifically learning to effectively manage chaotic meetings with the disaffected youths she helped as a community activist. Regarding her decision to attend the PSU, she said, ‘I didn’t want to go on any stage. I just wanted to learn the strategies’. However, once on the course, in July 2012, she fell in love with the clarity and step by step approach of the ‘Jet Set Speaker System’ – ‘if you use it, even if you’re the worst speaker, it’ll improve your presentation. I loved the certainty it gave me because if I followed the process, I knew I could make a difference.’
Perhaps it was her love of this framework or perhaps as a Jamaican, Althea had a natural talent for telling a good tale and capturing the audience’s imagination and emotions- or a combination of both. Whatever made her stand out from the crowd, she was chosen, much to her surprise, as the star student of the course. This would no doubt have been a confidence booster, alongside the encouragement she got from those around her. So it seemed a natural progression to enter Andy’s competition. And guess what? She won! And the prize? Speaking at the 2012 National Achievers’ Congress.
Since then, life has been a bit of a whirlwind for Althea. She’s been on stage several times at Andy Harrington’s events and has been chosen as an ACE mentor for members of Andy Harrington’s Professional Speakers Academy. When asked what sense she makes of all that’s happened to her in the last 9 months, she replied, ‘I feel that something of purpose is happening beyond me…… There’s something helping me to be where I need to be….. I’m now equipped and ready to go back to the community.’
Without doubt, resolving the pain of abuse and her practice as a lawyer have put her on the road to achieving her life mission, specifically, ‘helping those who’ve suffered abuse or wrongs ….. to leave their pasts and to emerge as a new Total You.’ Now add to the mix her skills as a professional speaker and we have Althea Grant a force to be reckoned with. You can contact Althea Grant here.
Who do you know that could be our Page 1 Woman of the Week? Contact me here and let me know.