#19 Vulnerability Equals Strength

Today's Guest: Caterina Rando

Today, I interview Caterina Rando who looks back to her childhood in a noisy, overly lively household and not having the courage to speak up in the face of it. She also struggled with feeling a little bit held back due to being a plus-sized female her whole life.

Interestingly, she enjoyed public speaking because she had been given permission to speak; her real fear crept in when she was among people with opportunities to chime in with casual conversation.

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Caterina is a business mentor, sales trainer, and creator of the Expand Your Fempire App and host of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. Her books include: Learn to Think Differently, from Watkins Publishing, released in over thirteen countries and several languages, A Women’s Guide To Starting a Giving Circle, and her latest book, The ABCs of Public Speaking which quickly hit #1 in four Amazon best-seller categories.

Caterina leads The Thrive at Sales Program, The Bliss Retreat for Women Leaders on a Mission, The Sought-After-Speaker Retreat, and more. She is also, the founder of The Thriving Women in Business Center in San Francisco, a place for women to gather and host workshops. Plus she also started the Thriving Women in Business Giving.

Watch the episode:

Connect with Caterina Rando

Transcript of Interview

Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast

Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode #19 “Caterina Rando”

“Vulnerability Equals Strength”

Dr. Doreen Downing 

Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m with the ‘Find Your Voice, Change Your Life’ podcast. And here I invite guests who at some point in their life realized that they were having a struggle with speaking in public. And it could be the fact that perhaps they had some family situation that prevented them from speaking up or learning how to be fully expressed early in life or it could be school teachers. Life brings circumstances and it’s hard for us as little kids to find our voice and be confident from early on. The people that I interview had some kind of wake up, some kind of journey, some kind of discovery where they went ‘Yes’ to themselves and yes to life and now can share their gifts with this wonderful world that we’ve got to offer our expertise.

Today I have my friend from a long time ago, through the years have been watching each other grow our expertise and our authentic selves in the world. This is Caterina Rando and I’m going to read a little bit of her bio so you get to be familiar with all the things that she’s done so far in her life. Catarina is a business mentor, sales trainer and creator of the ‘Expand your Fempire’ app and host of the ‘Expand your Fempire’ podcast. Her books include ‘Learn to think differently’ released in over 13 countries and several languages, ‘A Woman’s Guide to starting a giving circle’ and her latest book, ‘The ABCs of public speaking’ which quickly hit number one in four Amazon bestseller categories. Catarina leads the thrive and sales program, ‘The bliss retreat for women leaders on a mission’ and ‘The sought-after speaker retreat’ and more. She is also the founder of the ‘Thriving Women in Business Center’ in San Francisco, a place for women to gather and hosts workshops. She also started the thriving women in business giving.

Catarina, I’m so happy to give you a platform today to tell your story.

Caterina Rando

Thanks, Doreen. So happy to be with you.

 

Dr. Doreen Downing 

How did you feel early on whenever it occurred to you that you didn’t have a voice?

Caterina Rando

I grew up in a house where my mother had a lot of energy and she ran the roost and there sometimes was more screaming than I would want. So, I didn’t always necessarily speak up because I could ask an innocuous question, like ‘what’s for dinner and get a nice answer or get screamed at. So, I think that’s part of where I got quieter than was natural for me. And also, I went to Catholic schools and the nuns did not necessarily promote free expression. And I grew up as a plus-size child and I was told from pretty early on that I wasn’t okay. Not necessarily anybody said you’re not okay. But they had a lot of other ways of saying you’re not okay. And I found myself always being very shy and quiet and often afraid to speak and when I got to high school, there was an option to do a written presentation or an oral presentation. And I seemed to take rather easily to the oral presentations and seemed to do very well. So, I wasn’t afraid of public speaking. I think public speaking was what I was not afraid of it because somebody was permitting me to talk as opposed to regular speaking where I felt more fear of speaking up. I think that I started public speaking because I had permission to speak, which is maybe the opposite of some people, but it’s the small group, speaking in front of people when I didn’t feel that, that it was okay to speak up. That was the problem.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

Caterina, it makes so much sense. I’m so glad you’re sharing your story today. Because you’re right, it’s not something typically that people come into the world and then feel like they found a platform, which is public speaking. But my goodness, I see the more intimate expression of yourself having been hindered and blocked, it seems like first with a mother who is quite expressive and maybe critical. And then, of course, what we typically think of Catholic schools as being oppressive. So that just makes total sense that the more personal environments where you didn’t get to grow your voice. But when you had a platform where you can give a speech, it was Hello! And I love the word that you use about yourself ‘natural’, you probably have been natural since a baby girl.

Caterina Rando

I remember when I was in high school, I ran to be a student body officer. And most people didn’t know me because I wasn’t very talkative. But I gave a great speech at the assembly. And I got elected. So that probably made me cry because I think that was maybe the first time I thought, wow, this is something that I’m good at and that I can be acknowledged for. I worked at Planned Parenthood and I was their youth media spokesperson. It was a volunteer position but sometimes I didn’t make money. But then I did a TV appearance, talking about Planned Parenthood and their teen clinic. And one of the nuns from my school saw it. And then they told me, I had to pick between being a media spokesperson for Planned Parenthood or being a student body officer. So, I got my voice silenced in that way because I picked being a student body officer over Planned Parenthood. That was a hard decision and I’m not sure if it was the right decision. But at the time, that’s the decision I made. So, then I pursued other ways to speak and have been speaking for many years and I’m so grateful for the platform to speak.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

You are so real. The strength of vulnerability is what makes you so compelling. And that here we are talking about something that brought up emotion for you, memory, and it’s real. You’re not shying away from it. Hello, world. This is what’s real for me right here, right now. And I’m going to let it out and I’m not afraid to let myself out and that’s what I respect so much about you. You mentioned plus size and is that something that was also happening during high school?

Caterina Rando

I’ve always been plus size since I was a kid and I got a lot of pressure from my family. I was sent to fat camp at 10 and sent to fat camp at 12. Because I wanted to please my parents, particularly my father. He’s the one who pressured me. He was so worried that I wouldn’t have a good life and I felt that pressure. And because I was a little kid and I didn’t have all the skills that we have as adults, I was just being myself and I found other ways because I didn’t know how to slim down. I found other ways to be high achieving and daddy pleasing but the underlying message was, you’re not okay. Nobody said you’re not beautiful, just the way you are. But that was the message. And I remember having a lot of self-loathing and self-feeling like I’m not okay. And now when I look at a picture of myself, I think, wow, what a beautiful child and what a beautiful teenager and what a beautiful young woman and I do feel beautiful today but it took a long time.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

That first high school experience where you went, yay, people like me. After all, it was the beginning. And what that says is that it does matter what people say to us and what they think about us and what we get back from society, but we have to risk being ourselves. And I feel like that speech you made for the student body was coming from you. And then they went, ‘yay you’ back. So, what I hear is that it’s mostly the platforms that you’ve found, where speaking began to be comfortable and natural. And that’s where you found your voice. What else on your journey to find your voice would say made a big difference?

Caterina Rando

One thing that was very positive during my upbringing was my father was an engineer for the city. And he was a Toastmaster because he was an introverted person, he was a techno person and he was introverted. So as a manager, he had to learn how to speak in public and go to the city hall and talk to the Commissions on different things. So, because he was a Toastmaster, he got into motivational tapes. And at night, I would go to his home office and I would sit and we would listen to Earl Nightingale. And all old-time, audio masters and I got inspired, I learned a lot, I started to see the power of self-development and personal development, which is also something that is not really when I went to school, it wasn’t taught. And not in high school. And with my undergraduate degree wasn’t taught. Probably when I got my masters, we did have some of that. But as a young person, it was beautiful. So that turned me on to the whole idea of women empowerment which is what I’ve dedicated my life to, although my focus is entrepreneurial that’s where it comes from.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

That’s sweet and what a wonderful image, at first have a father that you feel like you have to please and then a father, you’re sharing of all things.

Caterina Rando

My dad’s a great guy and I know that my parents did the best they can, and I love them. And I’m grateful for it. But I think that maybe when I grew up, there was a ton of pressure for my parents to feel like they were being good parents and maybe because of our Italian culture but they had their pressures too. I have an older sister. She was the troublemaker but I was the good kid. So, we had our roles too.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

The joining with your father to begin the journey of discovery. It felt like it helped you go inward to see that’s where your power is and you’re talking about women empowerment. Tell us more about that?

Caterina Rando

I was born on International Women’s Day, which is March 8, I take that as a divine appointment to dedicate my life to uplifting women because when you uplift a woman, you uplift her kids, her family, her community, that’s really what the studies show and that women have been acculturated and are still acculturated in many societies, that they’re not strong, amazing and awesome and I believe that they are and I want everyone woman to know that she matters that she has massive value to bring and that she can uplift the lives of others with her voice and with her massive value. And that’s what my work is all about.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

Using value is a very positive image of each person that would ever think less of themselves. I love that phrase, massive value, which is also massive power. And that’s what empowering means. Well, anything else you’d like to say about the discovery of voice for yourself.

Caterina Rando

It’s so funny today, Doreen, I do feel beautiful, strong, powerful, confident, command a room, no problem, even a social situation. When I started, I remember I was in a room once at a conference, a round table and everyone was saying, what did they want to do? What were they going to be doing? And I said I want to be a speaker. This guy that was running the table, he leans to my table, he says to me, well, honey, if you want to be a speaker, you better learn how to speak up. And it was very funny, I can laugh now. But it was very stinging at the time. Because it is a journey to go from shy to loud and proud. From, I’m not sure if I’m okay too I’m awesome. It’s a journey. And it’s been my privilege to be on this journey. I’ve been doing my thing since my late 20s. And it’s so wonderful to watch the years go by and every year feel more confident, stronger with more massive value. I did a clubhouse room last night and I was talking about ladies who were asking me about a topic I was talking about getting booked for speaking but they were asking me about a topic that I don’t usually talk much about. And I had so much to say and then I said to them, I’m like Jesus with the loaves and the fishes. And I do feel that way. I have an endless supply of value to bring and that comes with experience. It comes with really working your craft and doing your thing over and over again. And that’s why I want everyone to know that it’s not about getting started. It’s about getting to mastery because when we start, part of what I teach is sales and ladies will say, oh my god, I don’t want to pick up the phone. But how do you think you’re ever going to get good? If you’re not willing to talk to people? How do you think you get good at speaking if you’re trying to wait till you’re perfect before you get on stage? So, the journey is wonderful and I have enjoyed mine.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

The journey you’re talking about encouraging people to step into the journey and do not see it as focus only on the goal but to just be engaged with the first step. And the first step leads to the next step. And then all you have to do is take the next step and it’s not so much about having to plan each step that you’re going to take although there are a lot of programs that talk about that this is unfolding and the discovery of what is who you are and what’s possible.

Caterina Rando

Doreen, you’re making me think, I have a client, she lives in Florida. And this last week, she did her first zoom workshop, which is something I teach all my ladies to do because especially during the pandemic, you got to generate some revenue and zoom workshops are a great way to do it. She stutters but she still did her first zoom worked. She loved it and she’s got her second schedule. It is about progress, it’s not about perfection. And especially for all of us, people are not necessarily paying attention, how many ‘ums’ you have or anything like that. They’re looking at you, really connecting with us and being authentic with us, us being authentic through our speaking. And also, they’re looking at what’s in it for them. So, perfection is not required to public speak or to have a platform. It’s important to get the journey going and get yourself going because it isn’t that we move towards mastery not in getting ready to get ready.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

I could say that’s the last line but I’m not going to because I want to give people how to get hold of you because you offer and have programs and can guide people either to take that first step and once, they have, you guide them on their journey. So how do they find you?

Caterina Rando

Caterinarando.com is my website. I love to get Facebook messages. I’m very into a clubhouse. I have LinkedIn too. I’m checking it out more and more. I do want to let people know that I have a get booked for speaking masterclass series ‘all about getting booked’ that people can come to and in September, we have our Shiro speaker summit, which is about using your voice for good and how to be loud and proud with your massive value. And it’s about monetizing your speaking and all the different ways to do that. There’s a lot of different ways to monetize your speaking, not just one.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

Caterinarando.com, I think that’s a good way to reach you plus social media. And before we sign off here, I want two things. First, I just want to say from my heart, give you a big hug, a virtual hug. If people could see it, for people who are on the podcast listening, I have to tell you, this woman is brilliant, just shining. And if you get a chance go to YouTube because you want to see her because she’s so beautiful.

Caterina Rando

That’s sweet, my friend. Thank you.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

So, one final word around your voice?

Caterina Rando

I have something because you were so kind to acknowledge my authenticity. I want to encourage everyone to wear their CAPE. Cape stands for certainty, authenticity, positivity and enthusiasm. Wear your cape when you speak and that means Be yourself. And believe that you have massive value. That’s the certainty. Your authenticity is whatever you’re feeling however you’re being, that’s okay, that people love authenticity. They’re looking for authenticity. You don’t have to be a razzle-dazzle speaker, you’d be yourself. And that is what connects with people. It’s not just about the words, it’s about our ability to create a connection that has people get value from our speaking. And then, of course, positivity, do your best to be uplifting. You want people to be more uplifted, you don’t want to be making people depressed or  you’re doing something wrong. If that’s what’s happening and then enthusiasm is bringing a little extra energy when you present so that you can command the room with more ease.

Dr. Doreen Downing 

Well, you’ve affected me and you certainly have worn your cape today. Especially the I feel I’m leaving with is the uplift, which is the positive shine. Thank you, Caterina. Thank you.

Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakinghttps://www.doreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakinghttps://www.doreen7steps.com.