Beverly Ann Astley Speaker Sisterhood Truth

I run a business out of my home that I know could be much more successful, but I’m standing in my own way. To know me you would think I am a very take-charge person and, for the most part, I am. However, I’m afraid. I always knew it, but afraid of what? Not of failure, that’s a learning experience for me. I tell others “Go for it — what’s the worst that could happen?”

It’s difficult, sometimes impossible, for me to speak up or pick up the phone and make a cold call.  But after experiencing an unpleasant event I finally figured it out. I made an appointment with someone I did not really like or trust. I felt pressured into it, and my need to not disappoint overrode my sense of self.

I felt trapped and decided I needed to cancel the appointment. My hands shook, I started to sweat, and I said to myself, “What are you afraid of?” And then I knew.  I was afraid of being scolded like I’m a naughty little girl doing something I shouldn’t be doing.

The Speaker Sisterhood has given me confidence and the opportunity to practice being noticed. By finding my voice, I discovered I really do have something valuable to offer — and I really don’t have to please everyone.  And because of that, I was able to cancel the appointment.

It’s definitely a work in progress — old beliefs don’t die easy.

Why did you choose this topic?

It was a real epiphany for me when I realized why I was so afraid. I have to believe there are other women out there who are afraid.

Why do women in the community need to hear it?

I think it’s important to realize that how we’ere raised to perceive ourselves can have a damning effect on who we become, and that sometimes the best person to talk to about it is ourselves. Have an honest discussion with yourself. As I said, “Go for it, what do you have to lose?”

WHMP celebrates Women’s History Month in a series of women speaking their truth, produced by WHMP News Director Denise Vozella, who leads a speaking club for women in Northampton, as part of the Speaker Sisterhood. The Speaker Sisterhood provides a community to women who want to discover, awaken, and create their voice through the art of public speaking.