Why I’m an expert in what I do…

Happy Friday!
I just wanted to jump into your mailbox to share my WHY with you.
WHY I am an expert when it comes to confidence in communication and WHY I designed my Rock That Mouth program.

I designed this fun, innovatie, and effective program for 2 reasons:

  1. To help you feel confident and comfortable speaking English, like I’ve helped my private coaching clients over the past 30 years. I know what works, and I keep it fun and simple. Service with a smile, that’s what I’m all about!
  2. To never have anyone feel the shame and embarrassment of making a pronunciation mistake or doubting what you say in English.

I am all too familiar with this feeling. This is WHY I’m an expert. I’ve been on the other side so many times. Here’s one of those times:

When I was learning Dutch in 1991, after months of going to the bakery with my boyfriend and watching him order the bread, I took a brave and bold decision – I decided to go to the bakery ALONE, without my Dutch boyfriend, for the very first time. I felt brave and confident. I was just ordering a loaf of bread. What could possibly go wrong?

It was so busy in the tiny artisan bakery. I had to take a number. There were 5 people waiting in front of me. As the numbers got higher, so did my temperature.

I started getting really nervous.
3 people ahead of me.

Wait, what was I going to order again?
I kept saying it to myself over and over again. I felt so confident when I left the house that I didn’t even write down what I wanted. I just repeated the phrase in my head over and over again. Hoping for the best. Really, really hoping.

2 people ahead of me.
Was I saying the name right? Maybe I misunderstood the name? Maybe I changed the ending? Wait…did it start with that letter? Was it ‘de’ or ‘het’? I wasn’t so sure anymore. Actually, I kind of remembered about 12% of what I wanted to say. At least, that’s what it felt like.

1 person ahead of me.
I started sweating. Looking around to see if anyone in there looked friendly enough to order FOR me. I didn’t dare to do it on my own. It was so hot, and so crowded, and you had to shout to get your order in, and I really wanted to go home. And never come back.

My turn.
It was my turn.
I hesitated. Looked around. Took a deep breath, said ‘It’s now or never!’ and, with a shaky voice, ordered the damn loaf of bread.

They asked me to repeat the order.
I wanted to go home.
I said it again but this time, not so loudly, my lips shaking.

By the reactions of the people around me, I knew I had made a mistake.

I stood there so alone, in that tiny, crowded bakery, and so deeply ashamed. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I felt my cheeks burn brightly.
Apparently, I had ordered circumcised bread, instead of sliced bread. In Dutch, you change 1 letter, and the bread goes from sliced….to another kind of….slicing. Circumsised, to be precise.

I felt so stupid and small that day.
I wanted to tell everyone that I was a highly intelligent, articulate woman.
I also wanted to run away and never come back.

The people in the bakery were very kind about my horrible situation, though. They explained my mistake, and after my initial mortification, we all kind of giggled about it. I am Jewish, after all. So it kind of all makes sense (after you have had like 4 gin and tonics, I guess).

But I did go home that day with tiny, hidden tears.
I wanted to throw that bread away.

I know what it’s like to feel small and stupid in another language.
I’ve made horrible mistakes in Hebrew, in Japanese, in French, in Spanish, and in Czech.

And I don’t want you to EVER feel ashamed.

I designed Rock That Mouth with love. With encouragement. With motivation. With jokes, expertise, tons of tips, and yes, I’ve even kept in my bloopers to show you that I mess up too, sometimes.
But it is magic.
For you and your mouth.

The doors to Rock That Mouth close on Sunday night.
They will never open again.
I hope to welcome you on a learning journey.



PS: I went back to that bakery 3 months later, doubled my order, and even made a joke in Dutch! The baker remembered me and gave me a compliment on how far I had come. If I can do it, so can you!

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