I will never forget how stupid I felt in class that day.
I was fortunate to spend my junior year in college studying abroad at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. I’d had two years of intensive Japanese language study in my freshman and sophomore years in the US, but upon starting classes with a room full of international students from around the world, most of whom had had far MORE Japanese training than I’d had, I suddenly realized exactly how big the gap was.
The teacher went around the room and asked us to introduce ourselves – to give our “jikoshokai,” as it was known. This was something I’d gotten pretty good at so I wasn’t too worried. My first “elevator pitch,” so to speak.
One by one, students from France, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Germany and more introduced themselves, as the teacher nodded in approval to each… and then it was my turn.
I recited my canned intro, with my name, that I was from the USA, and my home university (American University in Washington, DC), pleased that I didn’t trip over my tongue along the way.
But instead of a perfunctory nod like he gave all the other students, the teacher actually responded to my intro.
He said something with a perfectly friendly smile on his face… but I had absolutely no idea what he said, so I did the only thing I could do: I returned the smile.
That is, until one of the other American students behind me quipped in a not-quite-soft-enough-to-be-a-whisper voice: “That’s it, smile and nod! Smile and nod!”
The class burst out laughing, but I felt like a total moron, outed from the start as the dumbest kid in class.
In the years since then, I’ve traveled for business to amazing places and events everywhere from Germany to China to Egypt – all places where I absolutely do NOT know the language. And while the experiences have been wonderfully life changing, I will tell you that there is nothing more humbling than when you don’t understand the language of your environment, and are at the mercy of whatever kind and bilingual soul is willing to offer their assistance.
In those situations, my ego always wants to walk around with a sign that said, “In my language I’m smart! No, really – I even have a PhD!” (Rest assured, I have never given in to that temptation.)
Fortunately, my experiences in these realms have only extended to restaurants and navigating subway systems, and for the most part, if you wait long enough, you’re bound to find SOMEONE who speaks English, no matter where you are.
But what if you have a health crisis, and there’s no one there to translate? Could you navigate the healthcare system? Insurance, providers, appointments, locations prescriptions… much less for your KIDS, or if you’re PREGNANT, or with a newborn?
This week on the Speaking to Influence podcast, Milena Lanz of Maternal Child Health Consortium (MCHC) addressed exactly this scenario – but for people living in the US who may not be fluent English speakers and still need to navigate the US health care system.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a US-born, highly-educated, native English speaker, with a husband who is an attorney, and I still can barely make heads or tails of my health insurance and how to navigate the system!
Any time I have to read through the policy, a bill or statement, or navigate the website, I feel like I’ve time-traveled right back to that first day in Japan: The dumbest kid in class, all over again.
But this is exactly why the MCHC exists. Milena described the challenges faced by her community health workers every day when they serve families, helping them navigate the healthcare system in a foreign language – particularly during the emotionally turbulent times of pregnancy and after childbirth.
And did I mention the added fun of having to do all this in the virtual environment in today's world?
Asking for help is not a bad thing, though many of us are reluctant to do it. Another area in which so many of us – particularly those who are entrepreneurs – need help is in asking for the sale.
We love what we do and we want to help the world with our products and services, but somehow feel guilty asking for money in exchange for our expertise.
Would we feel guilty expecting a salary if we worked for someone else? NO! Yet somehow this feels different.
If you’re a business owner and you need help in building up more confidence, my friend and fellow coach, Lydia Kathryn, put together this 25-Day transformative event for Coaches & Consultants called Convert With Confidence: Experts Reveal How to Create More Freedom By Closing High-Ticket Sales With Confidence Ease, for those who are ready to attract high-paying premium clients with confidence and want to create more freedom, income, and impact in their lives and business.
I have joined 24 other speakers in the areas of:
- High-Ticket Sales Strategy & Psychology
- Language Influence & Persuasion
- 6 & 7 Figure Leaps
- Building Unshakeable Confidence
- Overcoming Buyer Objections
- Projecting Yourself with Authority
- Winning Funnel & Digital Marketing Secrets
- Healing Self-Esteem & Childhood Wounds
And LOTS more.
You will learn everything you need to scale your business to massive heights and create more freedom for you, and results for your clients. This online series is still running, and you can watch the replay of any guest speakers you’ve missed.
There’s no need to feel like the dumbest kid in class again every time you stumble over trying to figure out how to share your fees and ask for the sale.
And guess what – I have a complimentary ticket for you here!