Because I did that thing where I was like that girl who just forgets all her friends as soon as she gets a boyfriend. And I think it was, I’ve gotta hold on, same as the radio job, and hold on to this because this is like my dream, and I don’t want it to be taken away from me.
Welcome to another episode of Secrets in the City. My name is Dr. Katherine Iscoe, and I’m your proud host for this episode. If you are hearing something in the background, that is what I call my dog’s porn show because it is now close to 06:00 p.m. And this is when they decide to be active. How awesome. Thanks. Nevertheless, I have a wonderful, wonderful guest for y’all today. So we were just talking about how we met, Carmen, and it was many years ago. You were MC’ing an event, and I was doing a talk. I don’t know if you remember, but my slides weren’t working and there was something wrong with the mic. And I just was in one of those kind of moods that I’m just, I’m gonna wing it, and I was just holding myself. And I remember there was someone in the audience saying, “I’ve never seen this side of you”. And I was looking at you, you were so professional, like, oh, I hope one day I can be just like her. Really? Nevertheless, welcome to Secrets in the City. I’m going to let you do the honours of the introducing yourself.
I would say if I were a six-year-old, tell me, what do you do?
Thanks, Dr. Kat. And first I’ll say that I remember that day when you were on stage and I was sitting there as the MC in the audience looking at you thinking, I’d like to be her when I grow up. So isn’t it funny how we kind of have no idea what’s going on inside someone’s head? So we’ll get to the bottom of that soon. To introduce myself, my name is Carmen. I’m a television and radio presenter with 20 years’ experience in the commercial media. These days, I’m a freelancer because I’ve leaned into modern media training. And I call it modern media training because I’m talking about not just TV and radio skills, I’m also talking about the skills we need for the digital media in this modern age. And how whether you’re in business or you’re a personal brand, you’re an entrepreneur, you need to be what I call a modern media performer. And included in that is things like confidence on camera, being able to front up and do a podcast just like this. Engage the lens of the camera if you’re being filmed at the same time. Or be ready for that big day when Oprah calls and puts you on a show.
Okay, so we’re going to talk about Oprah.
Oh my gosh you said the magic word.
Isn’t it funny though? 20 years ago, there was people in front of the camera were not that many, but nowadays it could literally be anyone. Because whether you’re a lawyer who wants to promote their company, literally anyone, even a schoolteacher, you know to show the world what they’re doing in the classroom, everyone needs those skills. So my question is, why do people not have confidence on camera? Because I love talking in front of the camera. Can you tell?
This doesn’t seem like a you problem. But you’re right. Like even, say, ten years ago when I met this chiropractor who said to me, hey, I see you do some TV presenting. Can you teach me to do that? I even said to him, why would you, a chiropractor, need to do that? You know? And he was the one who said to me, oh, but but I need to be able to educate my patients, and I want them to feel like I’m there with them, even if I’m not open, if I don’t have them in my treatment room. It wasn’t apparent to me, even from within the media then, that everybody else needed those skills. I soon figured that out. And I guess the answer to why we don’t feel confident on camera is a lot to do with us TV presenters, news presenters in particular. And if you’ve grown up watching people like us on TV and radio, where we bring a lot of perfection to it, and I’m not yeah, not the big noting kind of perfection. I’m talking about working from scripts and being very regimented in our production style. There’s a generation of us who maybe are north of 40 who are going, I grew up watching this very rigid style on camera, on TV shows, on the news, and I feel like I have to bring that perfection to it.
The reality is, in the digital media, we don’t want to see that. We want to actually see the real person shine through.
My mind is just blown. I’m a speechless right now because I’ve actually never made that connection. Because every time, yes, I’m confident on camera, but whenever I play back the videos, I’m like, oh, but that didn’t make sense, or I didn’t make the connection and I wasn’t looking the right way. And it’s funny, whenever I post videos that I only do one take Charlie and just all the screw-up, everyone likes it so much better.
Yeah. The same thing used to happen to me on radio. And I think this is why my Confidence on Camera coaching has worked for so many people, is I bring radio station or radio persona sensibilities to on camera presentation, right? Yes, I’ve worked on TV. Yes, I’ve worked in Newsrooms. But at radio, that was where we really do have to be our most authentic selves, right? I was on a breakfast radio show, always worked on breakfast radio shows. And typically there are three and a half hour shows five times a week. There is just no time to be perfect all the time. Right? And so what I noticed is when I got to the big Cap City job here in Perth, which isn’t really the big, big Cap City, but still, for me, it was, what I noticed is that they weren’t clipping up the bits that I used to clip up when I was producing myself right. Back in the country, I’d go, “oh, I nailed that line”. And my voice sounds really deep and authoritative there and I’m going to pull that bit out and I’m going to use that in the promo.
No. The promos for my show here in Perth on the radio were always the things that I kind of instinctively was embarrassed of. Like, oh, that’s not the me I want people to see. But it was the me that people actually loved and that engaged the audience and really was like lifting a curtain and saying, hey, this is the real Carmen. And slowly but surely, I got comfortable with that.
Would you say it’s because people don’t trust the people that don’t seem real?
Kind of like a slimy salesman kind of thing.
Would you say? Yeah, we’ve also got a really keen BS filter as consumers, as viewers now. You know, on TV, we didn’t need that BS filter because we’re like, all right, just tell me the story.
Give me the facts.
Right? If you’re talking news. But now with the digital media, we are seeing so many creators out there. Everyone’s got a platform, everyone’s walking around with a TV station in their pocket, right? And if someone’s bunging it on, we’re just not buying it. We’re not buying what they’re selling, are we? And so to build trust, you’ve really got to let us see the real thing. If you’re gonna…look at AI, look at Chat GPT. If you go and rely on AI, your audience will be able to tell. It can serve you to help inspire a few things. But as audience members, we’re very savvy these days and we will not believe it unless it really comes from a place of your most natural self.
We’re going to get back to all this. Perhaps selfishly, I want to hear all the tips of the trade because I’m just gonna use them myself, but this is about secrets. It’s about stories. So let’s dive into the secrets. But I’m sure it’s going to somehow dovetail into everything that you do today, because that’s what I notice a lot about these secrets, is that the secret that people reveal is generally something that has fuelled their purpose and drive, inevitably. Actually, I’ve never really connected one that hasn’t. So without further ado, Carmen, which secret did you choose?
I chose the secret that I really struggle to trust even my friends, even my partner. I feel really insecure around the closest people in my life.
Do you feel the same about strangers?
No. Sometimes I probably underestimate strangers and feel like I can pull the wool over their eyes. Maybe. Maybe I feel like I can put a confident front on because that’s worked for me in the past. But really around those people who know the deepest me, it’s a bit like, well, you know, can I really trust that they’re still going to like me because they’ve seen it all?
All right. How long have you got this way?
Well, probably forever, but I haven’t been aware of it until much more recently. Wow.
And what really made it, I guess, come alive for you?
I would say, looking back, it was after I got quite sick and also after the radio show that I was telling you about, the big Cap City one here in Perth, came to an abrupt end. So that show was axed, thus confirming my belief that I’d held the whole time I was there. I was there for seven years, and I was like, this show will not end on my terms. It will end when they say you’re gone. And that was because I just wanted it so badly, that radio job, you know, I’ve said, I’m sort of this radio person through and through. I went to radio school when I was 20 and just was working towards Cap City, Cap City Breakfast, Cap City, that’s what we want, and so on. And so once I got it, I was just clinging so hard and just really hard on myself and trying to ram myself into this kind of ideal of what I thought a brekky show host needed to be, that there’s no way I would have walked away from it, even when it did start to really drastically impact on my personal values. And I started to feel out of alignment with it when I was getting sick, you know, I was really getting run down and I ended up, shortly after the show came to an end, being diagnosed with a really rare autoimmune illness.
I already had a couple of autoimmune diagnoses. I have Hashimoto’s thyroid artist, which is pretty common. You might have a lot of people who go, yeah, I’ve got thyroid issues who are watching or listening right now. After that, I was lucky enough to experience premature ovarian failure, or what’s otherwise known as early menopause, probably sometime in my 20s. It was missed, and while I was so busy thrashing myself at work, I also had a misdiagnosed illness, which is called Addison’s disease. And Addison’s disease is adrenal insufficiency. So it’s another autoimmune response. And basically my adrenal glands had stopped providing me with the fight or flight things. Right, so your adrenals give you cortisone and they give you adrenaline. One to pump you up and one to calm you back down. And I can’t help but think some of this kind of really harsh way that I was treating myself physically and emotionally in order to succeed at work, and because I probably didn’t trust myself back then that I’d be good enough, and I just had to prove myself. I seem to have forgotten the question, yeah.
No, no, no, it was all relevant because we were talking about the secrets, and so forth, and when we were talking, I was just, whenever you’re listening, you can’t help but obviously put yourself in someone’s shoes. Can I ask, how old were you during this period when you started and when you were at the peak of the stress?
Yes. So 35 through to 37 and yeah, the diagnosis of Addison’s disease happened 38, and it had been missed about twelve months before. I doctor Googled it, walked into my GP and said, hey, there’s this thing called Addison’s disease. And that doctor at the time said, oh, it’s so rare, there’s very little chance you’ve got that. Didn’t even test for it. And so it wasn’t until I became quite acute, really, really sick, that it was diagnosed. And that led to a lot of distrust in everyone around me. And I kind of said, hey, F you to the medical fraternity. And probably what was a misguided attempt. Not probably, it was my attempt to get pregnant and get healthy. I kind of like, just went all full natural, ignored all my medical advice and wound up at Royal Perth ICU after having two seizures, one of which I fell off the hospital bed in ED, bumped my head, bit my tongue. My poor husband had to witness all of that happening. Yeah. And then yeah, it was yeah, it was pretty shit, Kat. It was pretty shit. I don’t remember that, thankfully. And I think for me, when I woke up, I kind of just went, yeah, great, let’s just get on with life.
I literally started a new radio show a week after coming out of hospital. I was in my hospital bed having been moved out of ICU where I took a phone from another radio station who wanted to me to do a new show. You were on that show only a few years later. But this is it, to me back then it was just unimaginable that I could say, I think I need a beat to a radio employer. I said, oh, okay, it’s funny, I’m, I am in hospital, but but I really want this job. So, yes, I’ll take it because my belief was that no one was going to want me if I didn’t take that job or they wouldn’t want me again if I didn’t take it now. And to be honest, when it comes to the broadcast media, I don’t know whether that belief is gone yet. I think that for a large part, the media is quite cutthroat, and you’ve always got that fear that it just won’t be there anymore. But the best thing is that my business and my product, my modern media training and the things that I can do as a conference speaker and as an educator and as a workshop presenter and working with corporates and an online course creator gives me so much more value. That feels so much more in alignment because it’s mine and it really helps me validate my words through the value that I can bring to other people. And I had no idea how rewarding it would be. It’s really great.
Isn’t it funny? How sometimes life throws you massive curve balls. I mean, that’s an understatement in your case. But, it actually provided you such a beautiful, I don’t wanna say ending, but direction for you. Yeah. But the trusting, it’s almost like you you were so passionate about being on radio. You obviously put in a lot of effort and dedication, and time and probably money as well to bring up that talent. Then you got the gig and it’s almost like you trusted in this whole radio world to protect you in a way. And hey, you put in all this effort and we trust you enough to hire you, so you’re going to receive that trust back from us.
Oh Kat, that’s so. Oh, my God. I hadn’t even thought about it that way. But you’re so right. Because everything I’ve ever been taught is that if you demonstrate that you’re keen and if you want to do it, and you show up and you work and I moved all over the country for radio. Like radio and I, I don’t know. Sometimes I’ve described my relationship with radio like this toxic partner, like a bad boyfriend. But then other times, I just am still so in love with it. I’m an avid listener and I love the audible medium because you can create so much more of an intimate connection. And this is one of the reasons why I didn’t really gel so much with news broadcasting. So I was a news reader on radio, and I was keen. I was like, oh, I think I want to be a TV news reporter, but there’s this kind of barrier put between the news reporter and even the news reader on the telly and the viewer because you need to maintain distance. The story is more important. But my radio connections that I’ve made with audience members, to me, are so valuable. There are people who’ve heard me on radio in country towns, in Victoria, the other side of the country for me now, who will still pop up on my Facebook and go like, wow, there you are Carmen.
I used to listen to you in Hamilton and how’s your dad going? Because I tell these random stories and they’re like, how’s naked Dave? That’s because I tell stories about dad taking off and having a swim naked in our backyard pool, like so many little things that people remember. And so, yeah, I still have great, great fondness for it. But the industry itself, it wasn’t a good place for a girl with the trust issues I have to hang out. And I really buried that down and just got on with it because I loved it so much and I wanted it so much.
You put on the armour. Yeah, because it sounds to me also that this was giving you all your self-esteem. Almost like your, it gave you your identity in a way. And then all of a sudden, that thing that gave you that feel-good identity got taken away, and then the illness came. And then you were meant to go to a medical doctor, medical profession that you were meant to trust not only with all your heart, like literally with your life and then that was a bit of a slap in the face as well. So no wonder. No wonder.
Yeah, it was like I was the good girl, like everyone was telling me to be for a really long time. And I still got fucked over, if I’m honest. Sorry to swear. Yeah. No.
Why do you think this. Like it’s almost, there’s this saying like good people who do bad and then there’s bad people that do good, like that kind of thing. It’s almost like you’re this great person that thought that great people get great things, but sometimes it’s like the nasty people that get ahead quicker? Maybe. Especially in media and so forth, which is. Yeah, that’s true.
There is an element of we’ll manage a difficult talent because we know them and we’ll put up with it because it’s sort of better the devil we know, so we’ll get on with it. That certainly, I think, existed in the media. And I worked on shows where I was a producer, where I saw that happening behind the scenes, for sure. But I also, I really do wholeheartedly believe now, after quite the journey, you know, this show came to an end back in 2017. I got sick in 2018. So here we are, sort of five years plus down the track, I think. I’ve come to a place now where I really wholeheartedly believe you get put where you meant to be to learn the thing you need to learn.
You don’t have to tell me that. Cause I’m living it right now. You’re 45. It took a while, but you get there.
So have you ever had, prior to this, any trust issues, like even before the radio and so forth? Or was it really just during that radio experience?
No, I think I was probably always a distrusting girlfriend. Yeah. Always. Just never believed that this gorgeous man in my eyes would like me. That’s probably where that came from. What’s he doing with me? He must be a liar and a phoney and a cheat.
When you say girlfriend, do you mean when you’re a teenager?
Or it would have definitely kicked in from like, 18. Yeah, for sure. I found it really hard to trust.
And who was your boyfriend at the time? Make up a name if you want, you can just say John. So you were dating for a while, and did you find out that you shouldn’t trust him? I never got the confirmation. But that’s the crappy thing is that I guess I was always kind of looking for it, and there were certainly things that happened that looking back make me think as an adult woman, that’s not cool. Like, Carmen in her 40s would not put up with the crap that Carmen in the 20s put up with. Okay.
So, definitely moulded your ability to trust people in relationships then? From 18?
Yeah, I would say so. Yeah.
All the research shows that our frontal brain isn’t developed until we’re 25, so we don’t have that logic to say, is this guy good for us or not? And then it moulds who you are.
I think so. And you know what? Even looking back, I know that now that I have a stepson who’s that age, and I know that we can look from the outside in on what he’s got going on, but I certainly know that you have to let the young people make their own decisions in that circumstance. And looking back, I know there were times with my dad and my mom, and they’d each sort of say, hey, you’re only 18/19. You’re sure you want to? He went off and worked. He went off and did his thing, left Perth. And I sort of sat there waiting for him a couple of times over, and I now look back at that and think, oh, they were some really important years. And I lost a lot of contact with some really close girlfriends through that time because I did that thing where I was like that girl who just forgets all her friends as soon as she gets a boyfriend. I think it was, I’ve gotta hold on, same as the radio job, hold on to this because this is like my dream, and I don’t want it to be taken away from me.
I think if I probably stood up for myself a little bit more in hindsight and said, hey, well, you’re going to go do your thing, I’m going to go do my mine. Because when I did go do my own thing and take my first radio job once we’ve been together, like, four years, I was 20, 21, 22. He didn’t like it and tried to talk me out of it.
So I think when it became something I wanted to do for myself, there was there probably became this belief that, well, if I’m going to go do things myself, my loved ones aren’t going to support me, you know?
Right. I think.
Ahh no, I mean the equations add up.
Can I ask you, do you trust yourself?
Now I do, but certainly after I woke up, a couple of years after I woke up in the ICU that time, like I said, I kind of woke up and just went for it. I didn’t quite register. Ryan, my husband, he had a period of depression afterwards because I said, babe, you’re probably in shock. Like, it sounds like what happened to me was pretty crazy and I reckon you’re probably in shock. And I now know that he was, and I know now that I didn’t deal with it until a couple of years later. And then it all came back to me and I went, whoa, I think I nearly died. I think I need to kind of think about this a bit more. I did go through a period of going, I don’t know who to trust. I don’t trust myself anymore because I made that decision to say, get stuff to the doctors. But now, finally, I’m learning to listen to my intuition and to go toward opportunities that feel genuinely aligned to me and that brings me so much security.
And if I have a feeling like something’s off now, I really do follow that and I meditate on it. I do all these things that I would never have talked about on a blokey breakfast radio show ten years ago. I do. I really spend time tapping into how I feel and how I feel about situations, and I give myself heaps of space to just lead life that’s a far more aligned one to what it used to be. Whereas before, I was probably like, I’ve got to do all the things. I’m going to say yes to everything. I’m going to really harshly judge anyone who doesn’t work as hard as me. And I thought that that meant I deserved all the success, but now I have far greater trust that if I do all the things that I need for me, I will show up better when I do show up and I get better results and I feel far more successful now than I was back then.
What does trust mean to you then? I mean, you touch on following your own instinct, but would you say it’s that, or?
A sense of security. Ok, interesting. I think there’s a certainty and a safety, and we’ll often talk about how things don’t feel safe to us. They’re out of alignment or if you have this kind of limiting belief, maybe. And I think in the past, I’ve probably viewed big success as something not feeling safe for me. But now I’m really getting back to a place of, no, I can do those things. This is so deep.
Well it’s interesting that you said safety, because how do you know whether you’re just saying it’s safety or if it’s just really uncomfortable? What’s the line between the two? Because I define confidence as confidere, to trust oneself. Right. But where I take a step further is you trust yourself along the way, even though it doesn’t work out, even though you might get hurt, you still say, you know what, but I trust myself and I back myself. Even though I got hurt, even though it didn’t work out. Bounce back, resilience, blah, blah, blah. We all know that stuff. But I guess I’m curious. Like, safety and trust are two intertwined words.
I’m just curious about your perspective.
I think that there was a younger version of myself that left Western Australia to pursue the radio career that always knew that if it didn’t work out, I would be fine and Mum and dad would be there and I could come home. So I felt this trust in my ability to survive. And even when the show overnight was axed back then, overnight, come to work on a Monday. We don’t need you guys tomorrow. Thanks for seven years at the radio station, but even then, I was filled with this bubbling kind of like, oh, this is exciting. Something cool’s gonna happen for me. I just had this faith that something good was coming. Self-trust.
But I think that illness once, that really kicked in a year later, by then, I was already wrestling with the fact that I wouldn’t become a bio mum. I had my early menopause diagnosis, but it was the Addisons thing that really knocked my sense of trust and my trust and my ability to dream big in a safe way that somewhere along the line disappeared. And it’s really only come back in the last couple of years.
It’s hard when your mind wants to do so much, but your body doesn’t let you. I mean, I struggle with that all the time. I worry about when I wake up in the morning, is this going to be a I need to stay in bed because I can’t go to the bed day? Or is it going to be a, I have energy to go? And the first thing that my partner asks me every morning when I wake up is: how do you feel today?
It’s every single morning. How do you feel today? Because he’s seen, not even in comparison to you, back then, when we were first dating, some interesting times that he I was I was basically unconscious and he had to pull me in the shower. Those kind of things that we were traveling in Melbourne for like a weekend. Well, that turned out to be an interesting weekend. But my point being is this health just takes all your dreams away from you.
And you can really resent that.
I did for a while, yeah. Same. I’m sure you did too.
And there are definitely still days where it’s easier than others. And I say this to my coaching clients, the people I work with, who I ask them to share elements of their story, not all of them. We don’t have to be public about everything, but in order to connect with people, we do need to share. Right? And when we’re asking you to share in a public way things that have happened to you, you will find that some days it’s easier to share that stuff than others. Some days the emotions will get the better of you and part of the skill is learning when it’s the day to share and when it’s not. To trust yourself.
To trust yourself. Can I ask you along that line is you mentioned that in regards to the motherhood that it’s something that likely you won’t be able to. That must be a bit hard?
Yeah, it was. And maybe still is. Yeah, same thing. I think it’s all been wrapped up in this journey to a. getting to a stage when I was like, yeah, I do really want to have my own children. I met my husband and his son when his son Joel was only eight and so I’ve been in their lives for twelve years now. So I’ve been really lucky to have had a step parenting experience and I’m really happy saying I’m a step mum and, and, and saying it’s a step parenting experience. I started out very young and, and probably a very naive 29-year-old in that arrangement and I didn’t even know back then if I wanted to have my own kids, but certainly seeing how great Ryan is with kids and he’s got like 17/18, I’ve lost count, nieces and nephews. We have a great nephew and another one on the way. This is this huge family of children and I definitely wanted to have kids with him and yes, when I found out that I had gone through the early menopause and it had been missed, I was immediately devastated. But there was still this sense of oh, but I can beat this, I can find a way around it.
And I just was just this crazy journo researching ways that I can beat it. I talk about on radio and you get a flood of phone calls from people in who want to help me. As soon as you mention infertility they’ll be just like oh, did you try this? And I looked into everything. You become kind of obsessed. But the time probably came in the last couple of years where I went okay, well, you know, you’re 40 now and it’s getting less and less likely that you’re going to find this. And we really looked at all the avenues and I just wasn’t comfortable. For me it would be like fly to another country, get a surrogate to carry the child that wasn’t even biologically mine. And I kind of went, well, I have actually done some raising of a child that’s not biologically mine and that was rad. But there’s been this feeling you talk about my lack of trust, my fears, and it’s a weird vibe when there’s two people in the house who are blood related and you’re not. And so there was never any. I just fell in the outer even of that little arrangement often enough and I thought, wow, if I go and bring in this baby. This alien. That, in my head still doesn’t feel like mine, what if I feel that way about them? We had to have some pretty big chats about that and in the end decided that that’s not what we’re going to do. So now I’m really accepting of the fact that I won’t be a biological mother and I love my life, I’ve got an incredible life and I do quite often have to remind myself when I see my girlfriends who have got small kids who, you know I’m involved in these kids’ lives, I love that. I can’t wait to be an auntie when my sister and her partner, have kids. I think that’s going to be awesome. I love. Like I mentioned, all my nieces and nephews and on the other side, on Ryan’s family side, so we’ve got it pretty good. And when I see my mates who are sort of getting to bed at the end of the night and just going, oh, my God, I forgot that I’m even a woman and I exist. I’m like well, pretty lucky. There are a lot of plus signs.
It almost sounds to me that all this has made you, I guess, gain perspective, not only in that, but in other areas of your life. Meaning that if the poop hits the fan in whatever aspect of your life, this has reminded you well, there’s another way to look at it. And I would say there’s more than one side of a horse. You can look at life from the nose end, or you can look at it from the ass end where all the poop comes out and it sounds to me that you’ve been thrown all this poop but you’ve made the effort to walk around the horse to see its beauty rather than just where all the stuff comes in.
I like that. Aww thanks. And I do view it that way. I think there is absolutely always and it’s not a case of all look at the sunny side, or there’s a silver lining. Like you do need to allow yourself space to say this is crap and I’m going to sit in that for a while. But there comes a time where if you open yourself up to it, the possibilities are going to come and for me it’s again just walking away from that holding on tight to things and being so rigid and just allowing a bit of flow. And maybe it is tapping back into my femininity and just being able to say, hey, let’s yield.
Let’s actually just lay. Let’s yield. I love that. It’s almost like a form of compassion, self-compassion, to just say, you know, I’m not strong enough to deal with this right now, I need to gain a little bit of energy. Kind of reminds me of the saying that either a Dementor or Super Mario when it comes to self-compassion exercises. So doing a Dementor kind of self-compassion exercise is like Netflix binging on ice cream, like sleeping not getting any light. And even after you’ve rested, you still feel like shit, right? Because you’re actually more punishing yourself rather than being, I guess, kind to yourself. Super Mario self-compassion is when you do the Netflix and you do have the ice cream, but after you do that, you feel recharged and rejuvenated because you have a completely different, similar to the horse, you’re looking at it in a different way. Right now, if I just wanna Netflix and I just wanna chill. Well, that’s part of your thing and eat the ice cream. But it’s really how you look at yielding. I think as a high achievers, you might look at yielding like, I can’t do this because all those opportunities might pass me by or I’m getting old, so lazy.
Look at all the hard workers. Everyone’s going to think that I’m complacent. But where does that get you?
And it leaves you in that place of feeling insecure because you push yourself through and things invariably don’t go well. The flip side has been by actually saying, hey, I’m going to take a beat, I’m going to rest, and I’m going to look after myself, then I’ve always and consistently found that I come back better and stronger.
So we started this out by you saying that you don’t trust people, but it sounds to me that this is in the past and you’ve actually found beautiful ways to get through it.
Yeah, absolutely. And that was certainly when I saw that secret, it was the hope in it that really spoke to me. It’s that that’s the person I know, I used to be. And I regressed certainly during that really difficult time. But what’s come through has been learning to listen to myself, understand myself, know what I need, put myself into places where I’m totally in alignment and really prioritizing that self compassion, like you say, that kindness to myself, just not being so rigid, not being so hard on myself, and really removing that negative language. And a lot of that has come through working with particularly women, but not always women in the Confidence on Camera space. When I sort of went out there with that idea, it became something that really surprised me. I was very nervous about going out there as a Confidence on Camera coach, because my work on TV had always been kind of freelance and on the side of radio, but still, probably picked up a lot of work on TV. Like, I sort of always underestimated it from within my industry, but anyone on the outside would go, well, you’ve been on TV for 20 years.
Yes, I have. I’ve worked on TV shows, but when I started talking to people, what kept coming up was this really negative self-talk. And when we see an image of ourselves on screen and just why do we attack ourselves? Why do we save, I say this on stage so I may as well say here, why don’t we save that level of fucked uppery already for ourselves? Like, you could see a friend on screen and go, you look gorgeous. See your mum. What are you talking about? You’re amazing. And then we see ourselves on screen, we’re like, oh, fat bitch. God, eat less would you? Go for a run?
Like, the stuff. It is amazing, the conversations that we have with ourselves.
It’s cruel. And what we miss is the incredible value that we bring with what’s coming out of our mouths, not the mouth. What’s coming out of it.
Yes, I would say, imagine if the whole world were blind. How much kinder of a place would we live? Not only in our own heads, but with a world around us? Can you give us a few? Or maybe even just me because this is all about me. A few tips. Obviously, I’m sure everyone listening here, whether you’re staring at a microphone, at a video, or even your boss, you always need more confidence when you’re pitching, when you’re talking. So where do you start? Like, if someone were to contact you? We’ll obviously put all the details and so forth. They say, I’m just about to do this pitch or I need to do some videos to promote my company. Where do you start?
Well, the first thing I’ll say is that 90% of the work that you do to be confident on camera starts before the camera even rolls.
A lot of us will go right, book in the shoot or book the podcast, appearance or book, whatever. I’m gonna do the pitch. And they’ll think, okay, that makes me accountable. I’ll get ready for it. But we never do get ready for it. And we just hope that it’s all going to kick in the minute you get there. Right? But to feel good about yourself, we’ve got to start doing some stuff beforehand. Right? So first of all, acknowledge that you will need a bit of prep time for the confidence on camera, and then it comes down to value. And I’m talking about not necessarily knowing your values, but what is valuable about you? What is the value that you bring?
How do you determine that? Well, what do people tell you? About me?
Yes. Start believing your own press. A boss of mine once said to me, gosh, it’s taken me a long time to listen to him. If people continually tell you that you’re smart, funny, attractive, hilarious, know so many things about these things that help me, why do we always go, oh, that mustn’t be true. If people are giving you compliments, maybe you should start actually listening to them and embodying them, believing them.
What does value mean to you? This is where I’m struggling. Like, when you say you’re offering value, I guess I put myself into my old academic head like, okay, I’m going to tell you about this study, but what is value?
Well, the value Dr. Kat brings is helping me understand the study in a language that I speak. Right. And no one else can do that better than you, see? Right. So there’s always something that we have within us that is a superpower and a lot of us will try and homogenize that. We’ll try and kind of be like everyone else. Go, I’m an academic so I have to look and sound a certain way.
Yeah, that I do very badly.
I did a rubbish job of it going off and being a newsreader on the Gold Coast. I get over there and I’m like, I want to be a newsreader. So I’m just going to remove all the things that make Carmen Carmen. But then sure as anything, every time the Breakfast Show wanted a quick opinion on something, they’d bring my mic up and bugger outcomes real Carmen. And that made all the promos and that got me my big job on the radio show back here in Perth. The real you is the value. That is the thing that no one else can do. Remember you said that right at the start of this chat? I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t see myself in you. That’s what being human does. It makes another human go, that’s just like me. I have connect with you. I relate to you. There’s a reason why you and I saw each other on stages and went, well, I like that chick. There’s a connectedness.
When you’re talking about this authenticity and so forth. For the past couple of years, and I’ll just summarize this quickly, for the past couple of years I sort of went down a completely different rabbit hole, like more corporate, more rigid, more academic. For me it was very sterile. And now that I’m sort of back to me. I’ve had so many people say, we’re so glad you’re back.
And we knew that you were in there somewhere but we didn’t know where you went. And all this is clicking now. It’s exactly that. It’s exactly like you say. We spend many, many years trying to be someone else when the most beautiful thing is actually just inside of us.
You’ve been there the whole time and the trust to let that person out and accept that some people are going to love you and some people aren’t. And the people who love you will be enough is a big leap but you can get there. The other thing I really recommend, if you want a hack like this is a hack to that, okay. Get a recording of yourself, not of yourself talking into the camera. We need a recording of you doing your thing. So yourself. You’ve got your podcast, right? So you can listen back to an episode of your podcast and you will hear the Dr Kat magic, all right? But if you’re listening right now and you don’t have a podcast, maybe you service clients in some way. Maybe you’re a parent. Record yourself surreptitiously doing something in your genius zone and you’ll hear it. You will hear it come through. You’ll hear the way other people hear you and the way they see you, as long as it’s just something that you’re good at. And I just remember personally being blown away when I first started watching back the coaching calls I was doing with people thinking, wow, I know a lot more about this stuff than I realised.
We really vastly underestimate ourselves every single day.
Why do people overthink as soon as the button presses record? Why is that?
It’s a connection to perfection, I believe.
Which I’m very good at.
Yeah. Course it is. High-achievers love perfection. We want ducks in a row. We want order. And that’s how I feel about life. I’ve always feel better if my house is tidy and my washing is being done. Totally. Yeah. We like a bit of order, but the best stuff happens in the chaos.
It’s so true. Beauty and chaos.
So is it we’re overthinking because we’re telling ourselves that we need to get this right.
Yeah. We don’t trust ourselves. Back to trust. So true.
So what would happen? I mean, I guess in our heads we’re saying, if we don’t get it perfect, then it’s not perfect. And then we’re not perfect. And if we’re not perfect. People won’t like us.
If people don’t like us we’re gonna feel horrible and we’ll be alone. Yeah.
Or I’ll be laughed at, I’ll be ridiculed or, you know, there’ll be this recording of me out there forever. That’s just embarrassing and awkward. Yes. Look, maybe there will be. But there’s a cool impermanence to this content as well. And that existed with television as well. Back. We’re turning over heaps and heaps of content. Right? So there are so many things that I wish I didn’t say that are up there in the ether. You used to have a little saying in the radio station, my mate Fitzy to say it. Mics would go off and you might do the old, oh, God, I didn’t quite nail that. Because it’s up the stick, it’s gone. That’s the broadcasting tower. It’s up the stick and it’s gone now. I love that. Yeah. You can’t change it. It’s done. And you know what? For the most part, people were driving along in their car, maybe shouting at their kid, looking at the traffic waiting for the red light to change. They weren’t actually listening so closely that they noticed that you fluffed that word. And the same applies to this digital media. If you’re making a reel and it’s 30 seconds long and you’re watching it over and over and over again, thinking, oh, my gosh, I’ll put that out of there.
I can’t do it. Just do it, do it. Just get it out there.
You got to start somewhere.
You gotta start.
There’s a great thing if you’re not embarrassed by something that you’ve done last year, you’re not really challenging yourself to do anything important. Brené Brown, I’m sure you know her, she says FFTs, which is Friggin’ First Time, and likely more often than not, the reason why you’re cringing is because you probably only talked about that for the very first time, or you both pitched that for the very first time. Hence why you screwed up, but the second time. It gets easier and easier.
It does. And it’s a really cool place to stay. To play, when you’re getting comfortable with being so uncomfortable. So that’s the fun thing. That is definitely part of my attraction to the media, it has been the opportunity is very regularly to put myself out of that comfort zone and try something new and get a bit stretchy. And now I get that same thrill from speaking on stages and creating new course content, working with different kinds of clients. So you’ll find it no matter where you go. It depends how, I suppose.
All right, one more question. When it comes to your coaching, does everyone hate the sound of their own voice or is it just me?
Why is that?
Okay, I’ve decided it’s a physiological thing, right? I don’t think I’ve decided I’m sure there’s some boffin out there who did actual research, right? But there’s the physical thing. So our ears are located so close to our voice box, we have never actually heard our voice outside of it. Then there’s the other thing. There’s the recording devices, right? So most of us will hear our phone message and go, oh, God, hate my voice. It’s again, it’s so foreign. We’re not used to hearing our voice that way.
Even though it’s us.
Even though it’s us, right. So we’re walking through life hearing it. That little bit different. So there’s that. But you get used to it. So I have spent now 21 years, 22 years listening to my voice. I know my voice. It’s fine to me now. So the more you actually give yourself that shock therapy of listening back to yourself on audio or on camera, you will get used to it. Same as your mannerisms on camera. You’re going to get used to them. And there’s also the fact that the camera or whatever’s recording you throws you off a bit. And so you are a little bit of a different version of yourself when that happens.
Yeah. So we all. And I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who heard their voice for the first time and loved it. Loved it, yeah.
Yeah. I remember speaking with Tracy Vo on Driven Women, and she was saying that she was going to a voice box with the decibels or whatever you call it, and they would try to lower your voice as a news reader. Why is that? Just because it’s more, I guess, comfortable to listen to a lower voice?
Yeah. So I was told when I was 18, and when I told my acting agent that I was getting into radio, I’d auditioned for radio school and got in. And she said, look, if you’re going to pursue a radio career, you’ll have to lower your voice. So I spent about ten years looking around, trying to deepen my voice every time, everything I did, everything where I had a bit of an ounce of control, I used that control to deepen my voice as much as I could. And once I got to those shows where you’re spending three and a half hours a day, five days a week speaking, you can’t do it anymore. Yes, in newsrooms. News directors are still directing young women to lower their voice, but that is probably more to do with the fact that, sadly, news jobs aren’t paying what they used to, and women with maturity can’t work in those jobs anymore because they can’t keep living on that wage. And if there’s no, there is a glass ceiling in that industry, because there’s one news anchor job and it might be given to a woman, but all those other women, where do they go?
Right? Because I was once told, this is random fact, but I really want to have an agent to me out there and so forth. And he said, Listen, you’re just too old.
No, you’re not.
It’s interesting, but when you look at it that way, when you see all this rising talent, and they’re fresh and they’re willing to do things for nothing.
Yes. It kind of makes sense in one way. Exactly. They’re so hungry. That’s the thing that there’s always been this fresh, hungry crop of young women and men who want to work in the media, even to this day. And the media is definitely not the big, bright industry it used to be, but there’s always been someone younger and keener who was, and hotter, who was willing to come through and do the thing. So it does mean yeah, there are just so many young women in the broadcast media right now that they are being told to lower their voice. And to my ear, I can hear it. You can hear them putting on the deep voice that I used to put on, and now I just don’t anymore. And look, the television that I work on is a travel television show, and my role is to be as natural and authentic as I possibly can. I’m forever looking for opportunities and so are my producers to throw me off so that I’m not too rehearsed and memorised. We want to see those natural, off the cuff moments. And slowly but surely, I believe women are being accepted for those more than they used to.
I think there was a viewing audience, a listening audience who couldn’t stand the shrill sound of a woman’s voice. But they are realising that when you bring value, I’m talking to an audience of people, 50 plus, who are in their caravans traveling around Western Australia and watching from around Australia with places they should bring their caravan here in WA. If I can tell them something that they care about, it doesn’t matter what was the sound of the voice that delivered it.
Well, that’s given me a lot to think about and I’m sure the audience as well. And some of my favourite parts were up the stick, which sounds to me like something else, but I love that. I love that. It just means that I’ve said something and it’s now up the stick. It’s gone.
Forget about it. You can’t change it now. Focus on the next bit. And also preparedness.
Sometimes I just think, oh God, why did I get that right? And sometimes you forget that even though you might have said it in different ways, sometimes you still have to take a beat. Yeah. Of that word is take a beat, think about it. Start to think about the value that you’re bringing. That’s the other thing is thinking about your own value and a different perspective. Listening to others and saying like, oh wow, I didn’t think of it that way.
What were you going to say? Yeah, well, that’s an audience centric way to think. That’s what I like to say about that. You know, when if you view yourself with the eye of the audience, the person who you’re targeting, you’ll start to appreciate yourself more. That certainly was my experience. I was viewing myself from within the media industry and comparing myself to every other woman on radio in the city or every other woman on radio in the country and going, well I don’t match up for this, this and this reason. But when I viewed myself from the point of view of a woman in business or a professional who’s working out what to do with this digital media and their background is engineering or accounting, and they’re going, my God, my boss wants me to go on podcasts and talk about myself on video. Suddenly my experience and value was through the roof. So when you think about who your audience are and what you can bring to them, it’s a lot easier to see the value.
And no matter what, would you say if even if you’re not in business, even if you’re mum or you’re a partner and you’re talking to your husband or partner, you can see it from their point of view?
It’s such a good point. Yeah, flip it around.
Because really, no matter what and the last thing is trust. I think we spoke about some interesting things and regrets of safety versus safety, trust and so forth, which was really interesting. And I think for the people listening to think, are you trying to protect yourself? Are you trying to keep yourself safe? Or yes, there’s a lot of interesting things there.
There’s a risk, isn’t there, that if you lean too much towards safety, you might hold back too much and you won’t try anything, you won’t put yourself out there. That’s really not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about feeling safe even when you are leaning into something that’s a little bit risky. Frightening and risky, and trust that you’re going to be okay at the end.
Two more questions. First, one is: what is a risky thing that you’re just about to do?
I am launching a new thought leadership space for me and tell more of the story that you’ve just heard. And I’d like to speak on stages about compassionate self-leadership, which is a little bit different to compassionate leadership and different to self-leadership. And so that’s something I’m researching, which, you know, so that’s been a really big thing for me to do. And I, for some reason, have had this real fear of marketing a keynote around my little old story, and that’s been broken through. So that’s definitely something a little bit risky that I’m trying. That’s new.
All right, and last thing. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
Oh, my God. Best piece of advice I’ve ever heard. That’s a very big question Kat. I got to throw you off.
I know, right? You’ve done it. You’ve done really well. Okay, hang on. Best piece of advice, because it’s going to say something like, time is the new reach, because that really resonated with me for a while there. So I got a little waylaid by thinking about money too much. I was like, well, time is good. Time is a great thing. It really motivated me to spend the 14 weeks traveling around West Australia that my husband and I did the year before last. That was pretty cool. That’s a beautiful one. Yeah.
Very unexpected because I think a lot of people don’t think about that time is the one thing you can never buy.
And it’s just going to keep on clocking by unless you actually slow down and appreciate it.
Yeah. You know, and that really did come from a. the terrible thing that happened in 2018, but also the pandemic and just realising how lucky we are to have our health and we were healing from not becoming bio parents together and yeah, to just go off and do that thing together with the thought in mind that this time is just as good as any great riches that you could possibly make. Staying home and working, it was a really great, it changed things for us.
That is the best answer ever that you didn’t even really think about.
Well, that was what popped into my head, but for some reason I self-judged it. I should have trusted myself.
So where can people find you?
You can find me on Instagram @oncamerawithcarmen, or at my website, carmenbraidwood.com.au. And there are lots of self-paced online courses and things there that you can dive into if you want to learn how to be more confident on camera, or if you want to talk about some modern media training, then give me a buzz. Get in touch. Perfect, we’ll put all those links there. Thank you so much again. For sure we’re going to press, like, stop record and I’m still gonna ask you questions, as always. But thank you so much and thank you all for listening and never forget that every day is your chance to shine. Thanks again for listening.