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A space for women entrepreneurs seeking to expand their influence while staying true to their values.

welcome to the
Bright Voices in Business Podcast WITH CHLOE DECHOW

Get ready to build your business on your terms

Join your host Chloe Dechow as she interviews industry thought leaders, shares her expertise as a thought leadership strategist and consultant, and pushes you toward sharing your opinion on a global scale. 





“Your voice is your power, and it’s time to take up space with it!”

– Samara Bay

That’s one of the many gems Samara Bay, bestselling author of Permission to Speak, dropped in this episode of Bright Voices in Business. 

During my conversation with Samara, we explored the nuances of finding and using our authentic voices. Samara shared her insights on the importance of vocal presence, especially for women in business, and how we can cultivate it to stand out and be heard. We discussed the societal expectations that often dictate how we should sound and the courage it takes to break free from those constraints. Samara’s approach to vocal empowerment is not just about speaking louder; it’s about speaking truer.

Join us to be inspired to speak powerfully, and hear more about:

  • Samara’s origin story of losing and regaining her voice – literally and figuratively – and how that’s influenced her work.
  • The historical struggle for women’s equality and its influence on present-day assertiveness.
  • Overcoming gender stereotypes and the scrutiny of women’s speech patterns in public speaking.
  • Strategies for overcoming the fear of speaking up, taking up space, and sharing our own thoughts and perspectives. 
  • The role of authenticity in effective communication, and how we can cultivate our authentic conviction.
  • Practical exercises to improve vocal presence and confidence.

Remember, your voice is not just a tool for communication; it’s a reflection of your inner self. It’s time to embrace it, nurture it, and let it resonate with the world. Keep shining and sharing your unique voice, because it truly matters!


FREE GUIDE: Steps to Building Your Authentic Authority

Substack: HOW TO SHOW UP with Samara Bay


West Haven Website: www.westhavencoaching.com

West Haven Instagram: @westhavencoaching

Chloe Dechow LinkedIn: @chloedechow


Website: www.samarabay.com

Instagram: @samarabay

LinkedIn: @samarabay


Samara Bay (00:00:00) – This issue of speaking, speaking up advocacy. I’m particularly interested in those moments that each of us have to speak about an idea that maybe came from inside of us, that maybe we care a lot about. I’m really interested in those moments when we’re speaking up on behalf of our own ideas, because I do think that that’s when the many thousand year old history of who is allowed to do such things really plays on each of us.

Chloe Dechow (00:00:35) – Hi, I’m Chloe Dechow and with more than a decade of experience working with thought leaders, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of conviction combined with purpose driven entrepreneurship. This podcast shows you how to authentically bring together leadership, equity, and marketing to build your authority so that you can grow your impact and scale your business. This is a space for elevating women’s voices and redefining what it means to be a thought leader. Together, we’ll unlock the potential of our bright voices and create a ripple effect of change that resonates far beyond the realms of business. This is the Bright Voices in Business podcast.

Chloe Dechow (00:01:14) – Now let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to the Bright Voices and Business Podcast. Today I am joined with Samara Bay, who is a keynote speaker and the bestselling author of Permission to Speak. She has consulted for Hollywood actors, politicians and rising leaders in all areas. Through her work, Samara is changing what power sounds like. Hi tomorrow, thanks so much for joining me.

Samara Bay (00:01:44) – My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Hi. Hi, everybody. Hi.

Chloe Dechow (00:01:47) – I’m so excited for this conversation because I think when we talk about our voices, that can be a huge can of worms. Really. And that’s why it’s so wonderful to have a book like yours that we can talk more about as we go. But there’s a lot of insecurity, I think, that can prevent women from pursuing thought leadership, speaking up in a room, challenging opinions, maybe saying the hard things, or taking a keynote stage. There can be a lot there. And so your book was this beautiful dichotomy, almost like, yes, all those things can be true, and we can both challenge the systems of which have created what this voice of power sounds like.

Chloe Dechow (00:02:35) – And there are ways for us to work within that system as it is today. And I know for me, that’s been an ongoing battle of trying to figure out what does authority actually sound like when we think about thought leadership or leadership in general. And then also how do you do that, but also be authentic all at the same time? So thank you so much for joining me and just opening up this dialogue. I really appreciate.

Samara Bay (00:03:01) – It. Yeah, I mean, those are the big questions. And you know, coach to coach I think it’s important to acknowledge that these are not just theoretical questions. I mean we can I’m like totally into getting philosophical here. And the reason I wrote the book is because I actually want us to solve this for each of us in, you know, not only our own lifetime, but like on a day to day basis, and especially this issue of speaking, speaking up advocacy, I’m particularly interested in those moments that each of us have to speak about an idea that maybe came from inside of us, that maybe we care a lot about.

Samara Bay (00:03:45) – And it’s not just speaking up on behalf of others. That is incredibly important, and I am not here to undervalue that at all. But I’m really interested in those moments when we’re speaking up on behalf of our own ideas, because I do think that that’s when the many thousand year old history of who is allowed to do such things really plays on each of us. And it doesn’t obviously, it doesn’t always obviously show up as like big cultural stories. It shows up in our own head as, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I hack it? Why can’t I show up? Why am I freaking out? Me me me me me right. And that’s the part where I just like to hold all of our hands, myself included, and be like, we’re actually doing something really big right here that’s speaking up on behalf of our own ideas thing, that feeling the nerves and doing it anyway thing that bringing our own sense of mischief or delight or joy just a little bit more into that process thing is really radical.

Chloe Dechow (00:04:46) – I can see how much this lights you up too, which is such a beautiful thing to see. Yes. I want to talk a little bit about your story with this, because it’s deeply personal, and I know it’s deeply personal for everybody, but kind of how you got into this work is a symptom, really, of the bigger problem that we’re talking about and how that showed up in your day to day life. So do you mind sharing a little bit about kind of your origin story?

Samara Bay (00:05:09) – Yes. Well, I have two. So I have an origin story that is totally I think it’s what you’re what you’re suggesting and I’m going to tell that. But also I do have the story of how I figured out that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, because at first I was just sort of somebody who was experiencing how crappy stories about my own voice were playing out in my own life, and then I was somebody was coaching it in this completely fresh way. And. Whoa, I had a whoa, whoa whoa.

Samara Bay (00:05:35) – So, yeah, the first story is that when I was in my 20s, I was in the middle of an acting program, a graduate school program at Brown in Providence, Rhode Island. And in the very middle of this three year conservatory experience, I lost my voice. And it happened over many months, and I was not sick. I didn’t have any other symptoms, but my throat was hurting so badly that I would like, like gently experiment with talking in the mornings and by midday it’d be gone. And by night I would be, you know, huddled with tea and a blanket in this little guest house I was renting, feeling this like real weight of existential crisis of like, I mean, you can tell already, those of you who are listening, I’m chatty. Right. And and and I lost, I lost it, I lost my ability to communicate. And I was still going to class. Because when you’re not sick, you still go to class. But no one paid any attention to me.

Samara Bay (00:06:27) – I was like a ghost. And that whole era was just so confusing. And, you know, like the physical feeling of disempowering. And I finally got myself to an ear, nose and throat doctor who stuck a camera up my nose and down the back of my throat, this little tiny thing called scope. And I got a picture of my vocal cords. And from that it was clear that there was a matching blister on each side of the v shaped vocal cords. And that is, as it turns out, a telltale sign of vocal nodules. And I got back to class the day that I got that diagnosis, and I’d missed the morning session. And the guy who ran the whole program in front of all my classmates, he stopped everything and he said, so, Samara, what’s the diagnosis? I was like, way.

Chloe Dechow (00:07:15) – To call you out. Totally.

Samara Bay (00:07:17) – And like, I don’t know, I feel like he violated like three HIPAA rules. But anyway.

Chloe Dechow (00:07:21) – Absolutely.

Samara Bay (00:07:22) – It was the early 2000.

Samara Bay (00:07:24) – What did I know? And in the doorway I stopped and I said as loudly as I possibly could through these like inflamed vocal cords, vocal nodules, I have to go on vocal rustic, true vocalist. And he said, I’ll never forget, Just as I thought. Bad usage, right? It’s like such a weird phrase. It’s not like it means anything, but I felt it. I still feel it every time I tell this story. It was like this ball of shame he was throwing at me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. You got injured. Bummer. You did it to yourself.

Chloe Dechow (00:08:00) – Yes. I think the shame is so. Really? This is what it comes down to. There’s all this shame that we carry. And I know you’re going to get into this, but, like, around things that we don’t have any control over or didn’t realize you know, was happening. And that really prevents a lot of this.

Samara Bay (00:08:18) – Right. And this is why I tell the story.

Samara Bay (00:08:20) – Because it’s not like that was like trauma with a capital T. But I’ll say this, that little shame ball stuck with me much longer than the actual vocalist you did. I went to a speech pathologist over Christmas break. She was awesome. I circled back and interviewed her for my book. 20 years later, she’s delightful and I solved the problem. But that shame situation actually took way longer to process, and I didn’t have the tools. And in fact, when I was finishing writing this book, I wrote the intro at the end and only then did it hit me that this is literally what I needed. This is the book I needed in my 20s when I was like. Why would I self-sabotage myself to this extreme? But you know, I tell the story because I think many of us have versions of the story. Somebody told us that we talked too loud, that our voice is annoying, that our laugh is annoying, that we sound ditzy, that we sound like a man, that we sound like a child, and we don’t just hear that feedback and like, you know, instantly metabolize it like, oh, interesting.

Samara Bay (00:09:23) – I wonder what other options I have at my disposal. No. We go, what’s wrong with me? Why would I have picked up a habit that is undermining my own credibility or my own authority? And the answer? Fortunately, we have many of them. The answers have to do with the ways we have picked up the lessons of our culture, and specifically the lessons of certain rooms. We are all brilliant at making micro adjustments to get by, and some of that means that when we were two, we noticed what made the people who were, you know, caretaking us turned toward us instead of away from us, or when we were eight, what made the kids in class laugh at us or not laugh at us? You know, we make adjustments accordingly, and they’re usually for risk management or self protection, or maybe to stand out, to be liked, to be approved, to be seen as charming. Right? We experiment. We’re like all just little mad scientists being like, ooh, that one tends to work.

Samara Bay (00:10:23) – When I talk like that, I seem tough. Well, that’s fun. I think that’s why my, you know, own stuff happened. Or when I talk this other way, I seem really intimidating or I seem really smart. So fortunately, there’s this huge gift from linguistics. Sociolinguistics will tell us that every habit, vocally, any of us have picked up, we have picked up for a reason. It has served us. So then we get to use that as a very, very, very loving launchpad to go. In what ways is it still serving us? In what ways is it not? How much variety do I have? This isn’t like throw all your habits out the window. This is. Notice the ways you are with your best friends. Notice how you seem when you feel free and you have nothing to prove. What is in there that we might be able to bring into those higher stakes moments when we are talking about what’s close to our heart and the stakes behind.

Chloe Dechow (00:11:18) – Yeah. I want to talk a little bit about where this conditioning comes from.

Chloe Dechow (00:11:23) – I know in your book you talk about how we’re raised and the areas of the country we live in, our friend groups. There’s a lot of.

Samara Bay (00:11:33) – Like literally everything. Yes. Literally everything.

Chloe Dechow (00:11:35) – Gender stereotyping happening, a lot of this. And there’s this reality that that’s part of it. And there’s also the fact that we have to work within the reality right now. You know, I want to give an example of why this feels so prevalent to me right now. So one of the companies I worked with, there was a co-worker of mine who was a lot more timid in the way that she spoke and the feedback as her manager that I would get from other leaders in the organization was that she did not speak with enough authority to be taken seriously as somebody who would be in a leadership position, and so I had to figure out, how do I share this information with her in this feedback, with her in a way that is like kind and tender and loving and helps her grow. And what I realized through the process, it wasn’t until actually after I had left the organization, but what I realized in the process was this kind of prevalence towards maybe the way I spoke versus the way that she spoke in those situations.

Chloe Dechow (00:12:35) – And yet I also started to internalize the feedback for her, for myself. And so it prevented me from doing things like starting a podcast until I could work through that belief or fear. But it wasn’t until after I left the organization that I realized or had learned. I think it was through Colleen Bordo, actually, that criticizing of vocal fry and up speak and all these different kinds of you’ll use bright terms better than me. But linguistic ways of speaking are really a form of policing women’s voices or voices in general. And so curious if you could shed, just like a little bit of light on. I know, I know, this can be a can of worms, but a little bit of light on where that really comes from, this policing. And then how can somebody knowing that this is part of the world we live in, how can somebody navigate this in a way that can be successful for them?

Samara Bay (00:13:25) – Yeah. So, so much in there. And there is also a tendency, I think we all have to make it more black and white than it really is.

Samara Bay (00:13:34) – So there is this, as I called the old sound of power. I do not mean it in a bad way. It’s just a chance for all of us to just talk about standards. So there’s there sort of sub standards in any of our industries, right? There’s like a standard when we sit down in an airplane and the pilot comes over the speaker, we kind of expect what that pilot is going to sound like. And if they sound different, not only are they a woman, but let’s say they just don’t use the cadence that we’re used to hearing. When there’s turbulence, we actually freak out because the norm is a norm. The standard is set in place for a reason, and we’re all used to it. Not to say you shouldn’t do it the other way, I’m just going. I’m just saying that our ears are going to pick up if there is a disruption in the norm, a turbulence, if you will, in the norm. So that happens, right? Yoga teachers, there’s a whole norm there.

Samara Bay (00:14:25) – Journalists there’s a whole norm there. And for any of you who are thinking about, you know, your office, you know, you know, and you know what office culture sounds like, you know what meeting culture sounds like. You know what meeting culture where that person leads versus that person leads. So just naming standards so that we know that when we are experimenting with deviations from the standard, you know, stuff’s going to come up, we’re going to feel things. We’re feeling a disruption, a turbulence in the norm. Oh my God, I’m such a nerd. So gray area because it’s not always if I experiment with new ways of speaking that aren’t what that standard is, I will be penalized. No one will take me seriously. That is the fear. And in some rooms and with some ears that will be the case. And we can’t control everyone and we can’t control everything. And it’s frustrating. And and there is just this huge, beautiful, messy gray area of if I begin to speak on my own convictions with a little bit more fire, a little bit more of my own spirit, not someone else’s.

Samara Bay (00:15:28) – If I take a breath from a lower place and it activates me in a way that takes up more space than I did yesterday. Am I going to be penalized? The answer may very well be no. It may very well be that no one even totally sees the difference, except that they’re like, wow, you were really honored today. Or when you talked about that thing, I really cared about it. I’m like, I’m like, now. Now I’m like invested. I want your idea to become office policy. People’s reaction may very well be now I care about your thing to not while you’re showing up in a different way, but maybe you were showing up in a different way. So I think it’s helpful to notice when the voices in our own head are basically saying there’s one standard of how people are supposed to show up in public, and I’m not doing it, so I’m doing it wrong and then start to, you know, lovingly consider if that story is serving you and is building the kind of world that you would like to live in, and just to name the standard.

Samara Bay (00:16:24) – Right? Like, yes, we can totally just say it’s like the straight white man, like rich, landowning, stoic man vibe. But it’s even more specific than that. If you Google, how do I sound more authoritative? Which we can imagine many, many people have because as soon as you Google it, five little bullet points pop up and they pop up in half a second, as you do with the Google, they’re really granular. The first one is look confident. So ha ha ha ha, whatever. Right. Like there’s some sort of like.

Chloe Dechow (00:16:53) – Whatever that looks sort of.

Samara Bay (00:16:54) – Like width or puffing up like it’s a I don’t know, I asked rooms of people when I’m doing workshops, what is this? And everyone does the same body language. It’s like suddenly you’re like taller and your spine and your shoulders are like twice as wide. Okay? So look confident, but all the other ones are vocal. There’s make sure that you speak with your voice going down at the end. So this is obviously a conversation about up speak, which would be the alternative.

Samara Bay (00:17:19) – Right? So for any of you who have been given feedback that you go up at the end of your sentences or make statements sound like questions, this is why you’re getting that feedback, because obviously Google is not just independently coming up with this list. It is an amalgamation of the, what do we call it, common wisdom, like the conventional wisdom, like, I don’t know if that’s actually wise, but it is conventional wisdom killed down at the end of your sentences. The other thing about going down at the end of your sentences is that you’re making sure that nothing is open for debate, right? Because questions are also openings and statements that go down at the end are closings just energetically. Another one is, oh, speak with a lot of emphasis. So I’m guessing this means that, like, you should just randomly punch a bunch of things that you’re saying as you say that, right? I already sound more like bro culture. Voila. There you go. Another one is speak with a lower pitch.

Samara Bay (00:18:13) – So just naming that vocal cords are like string instruments. The shorter the string, the higher the pitch. And women by and large, just have shorter vocal cords. It’s anatomical. Why is an interesting question. I mean, I get into like evolutionary what the fuck of that? But nonetheless science higher vocal chords, higher pitch, others shorter vocal cords, higher pitch. So if anybody’s ever told you that your pitch is too high and no one will take you seriously, well, that’s what happens when the standard is set to man. Right? And then and then it’s obviously. Messy inside of that too. And I’m, as you can tell, very gray areas. So like maybe those of you who are listening to me saying this are also like a tiny bit aware that you maybe talk a little bit higher than you even need to, or than might be your body’s natural pitch, because I like to call it Starbucks voice. We all know the benefit of being able to say, I’m so sorry the splendors out.

Samara Bay (00:19:13) – So I was just wondering if you could refill it right? Like that voice is useful. It’s very unintimidating and it often gets us what we want to a point to a point when there isn’t a power exchange that needs to happen. Right? So this stuff is just so deliciously messy. And then, you know, the Google, what did I leave out? There’s like 1 or 2 other ones that Google will tell us, but these are the things that when somebody breaks them, I either get the message from management or we get really lit up. I mean, I don’t mind when somebody uses like and, and it often is a sign that they talk like their friends. It’s often a sign that they are thinking fresh thoughts in the moment, and thus using linguistic markers of fragmented thought to say, not quite done with that thought, trying to figure out what I really mean. Right. It’s to me it’s a sign of not just authenticity, but trustworthiness, emotional availability. Right? We’re all terrified of seeming to angry or to cheery or to optimistic.

Samara Bay (00:20:18) – Hopeful, these big shows of emotion. That’s what vulnerability means, right? We show someone we care and now they know. And yet, if we think about who we love listening to, right, which speeches go viral, they’re doing all that. They’re really emotionally available. So now the old Sound of Power story begins to kind of fall away. And it’s not like there’s that way to sound authoritative in every other way is like a good fucking mark. It’s like, well, actually, the story’s already changing. The question is, do we want to grab onto the new diversity of standards and allow that to give us permission to show up in fresh ways when we have the chance to talk?

Chloe Dechow (00:21:02) – Yes. I love the kind of depiction of this being a gray area, because there is so much involved in all of this and what creates our individual voice story, which I would love to talk about. Yeah.

Samara Bay (00:21:13) – Well, and even like to get back to the exact story that you shared. Right. And I would be very curious to hear more.

Samara Bay (00:21:18) – I think we probably all would like how you actually navigated giving her that advice. But you know, what we’re talking about in that context is executive presence, this concept that is meant to capture the spirit of people who just seem like leaders. And I think inside of that is more interesting questions than just, should we sound like a boring man or not? There’s interesting questions in there about like, well, what kind of leadership do we want to see more of in the world? What kind of leaders do we like? What kind of leaders are already, you know, breaking the mold? The Obamas in the Oprahs of the world, right. Esther Perel like, who do we listen to? And we just go, I just wish everyone who was in charge of the world was as unique and free and powerful in your way as you. So then also there’s this question of power, right? Like, of course, we know that there are all kinds of cultural stories about the misuse of power. And then we also are like, okay, cool, but I want more power.

Samara Bay (00:22:15) – What does that mean when I say, I want more power? Does it mean I want more decision making power? Probably, yeah. But also I want the power to, I don’t know, set the tone. I want tone setting power. Like. That’s right. It’s not like my me having more of that is at a disadvantage to anyone else. Right? This is we’re out of the zero sum version of power. Now we’re in the like vibe rise version. How do I rise the raise the vibe for everyone. This is really I mean, I’m sort of deliberately making this as messy as possible. Like, and it’s this and it’s this and it’s this because I really do think that this is what’s at stake when we start to think about it’s not just, I have to go pitch this idea to that room, and they have money and I don’t. It’s what is the thing I’m pitching? How big can I make it’s value to the people of the world at large? Or you know, what is the ripple effect? How much can I believe in that value? To the extent that when I go into that room, I know those folks are going to also benefit? And how can I go in? And even though I have the least amount of power in the room because they have all the money and I need the money, I nonetheless enter that room like I have the most amount of power.

Samara Bay (00:23:24) – Vibrate is kind, and I’m going to take such good care of them, and I’m going to bring them in on this extremely valuable idea of mine in such a like, real and playful and powerful way that they’re going to want to, of course, invest in it. And I you know, obviously I coach people on this kind of pitching. It’s just like it’s like if the entire world has told us that public speaking of all kinds. If you’re on a stage pitching your ideas, being on a podcast is fear based, right? I hope I don’t fuck it up. I’m lovingly offering the alternative. We know the opposite of Fear is Love. So what is a love based approach? Well, obviously it feels more fun, but also it’s like putting how much we care at the center of public speaking. And if we don’t care, that’s interesting. Right. That that’s complicated. But if we do and we’re hiding it, that’s just socialized stuff. And it does stuff to our voices and we get to inquire, get curious, how’s it doing? How’s it? How’s it working out for me?

Chloe Dechow (00:24:25) – Yeah, it sounds like really, there’s a lot of heart and love at the center of all of this.

Chloe Dechow (00:24:31) – And I know in your book you also mentioned conviction and conviction as a word that I think is really important in thought leadership, like really believing in what you have to say and share with the world. And yet we don’t want to force conviction. We want to have authentic conviction. So how can somebody figure out really how they’re showing up authentically in this space, you know, making sure that they actually give a shit about what they’re talking about? And in their pitch and in their presentation and all those kind of avenues where they can share their.

Samara Bay (00:25:02) – Message, well, there is something to finding it. Right? So I think when I try out a new thought, I write a weekly Substack. So I’m sort of forcing myself in a way to enter the public arena with new thoughts when I try a new thought out, like, I think that this is how things work, or I think that working on this in private will actually help in public. Your conviction does not have to be I don’t. I no longer think I know for sure this is not an obligation we have.

Samara Bay (00:25:28) – If we feel that we have that responsibility, it may be somebody else’s voice in our head. Right? But we do get to have to have an obligation to really do the inquiry on, do we care about this? If we don’t care about it, don’t talk about it. Unless, of course, we’re in some sort of a corporate context or we’re speaking on behalf of someone else and there is an obligation. Right? Okay, fine. But otherwise figure out what we care about. What do you what are you fighting for? What are you fighting for? What is worth fighting for inside of this thought? What do you believe this was such like, you know, they’re juicy and they’re sometimes painful questions because we, especially as women, have this socialized disconnect sometimes between our desires and our self. Right. If you ask a roomful of tired moms, what do you want? A few of them would say the obvious. You know, I need my spouse to step up, right? These kinds of like, real fiery, short term like like survival wants.

Samara Bay (00:26:27) – But what do you want? Like, if you had a week, what would you do with it that kind of want? We tend to go kind of blank. And this is, you know, welcome to being a woman. Like there are all kinds of reasons that we’re told that our desires are dangerous. So what I’m really suggesting, if we’re talking about the care game, if we’re talking about how to prep for a pitch or how to prep for something, is to really figure out what is the big swing here. Would really like in the body, not just my mind. Feel like a like a huge. Yes. What would feel like a hell yes. And if it doesn’t come right away, keep searching right as friends. Get in conversation, get messy.

Chloe Dechow (00:27:06) – Yeah, it’s definitely experimenting and testing and trying out words and phrases to figure out. You know, for me, I find it when I start to almost go on, like a rant or some sort of thing, like I feel like this fire in my belly and I’m like, oh, wait, hold on, I care about this.

Samara Bay (00:27:23) – You’re so useful, right? Trying to catch ourselves in those moments is hard because when we’re the least self-conscious. But oh, it’s so useful. I do believe that’s where this book came from. I do think, yes, exactly what you said, that I was like, this is every time I talk about this and fires me up.

Chloe Dechow (00:27:38) – Yes. Or surround yourself with people who will point that out to you. Yes. You’re having a hard time doing that for yourself. So I know my husband will be like, you sound really passionate about this. Oh wait, you’re right.

Samara Bay (00:27:52) – I am interesting, right? And there is some digging there too, because sometimes we get, you know, one of my favorite quotes, Rebecca Traister, who wrote this great book called Good and Mad. She said, I went and heard her speak live when she was on the book tour for that. And she said, women’s anger diagnoses social injustice. So of course we can apply this instantly to like, you know, marches and things.

Samara Bay (00:28:11) – But I think there’s something else really, really provocative and useful there, which is that when we get really pissy about something tiny, we can perhaps dismiss ourselves, oh, can’t you just get over it? And there is an invitation, I think, inside of what Rebecca Traister said, which is that if we’re finding ourselves feeling really pissy about something that seems tiny, maybe just explore that. Is there an injustice in there? Is there something that actually feels like it ties in to some unfairness? And is it a type of unfairness that someone else in your life might be feeling to that might actually be happening at scale elsewhere?

Chloe Dechow (00:28:49) – Yes, I remember when I went through coaching education, they talked a lot about how values can show up in the ways that you feel fulfilled. But they also, when we get pissed about something, even if it’s something small, it’s usually because of a value of ours as being stepped on or not honored by either ourselves or other people. And so usually if you get if you’re cut off in traffic or you know, somebody doesn’t pick up their laundry, whatever it might be, it’s usually a symptom of some sort of value of ours, which is bigger and grander than the actual act itself that is not being honored.

Samara Bay (00:29:27) – It’s such a good reminder to like, look for that. If we just jump straight to, why are you letting us get to you? Right? We are missing the opportunity to learn something about our self and our values.

Chloe Dechow (00:29:37) – Yeah, absolutely. So one of the questions I wanted to ask you, because I think those who read your book, which they absolutely should, but if they don’t, I do want them to understand the connection between our voices and the space we take up. And there’s almost to me like what I was hearing through your book was also, our voices are one of the ways in which we can be seen. Not just heard. And so and being seen includes what we look like and taking up space. And I know you mentioned Sonya Renee Taylor’s book a couple of times in your book, Permission to Speak. And I feel the connection is so obvious now that I’ve read both books.

Samara Bay (00:30:19) – But your body is not an apology and your voice is not an apology is, like, so real.

Chloe Dechow (00:30:25) – Yeah. Yes. Can you share a little bit around like, as I was reading your book, I was like, oh, you know, I should probably not be wearing pants that are so tight around my waist so that I could actually breathe, and then I can sound better. The breathing.

Samara Bay (00:30:39) – Thing. Yes. Yeah. I mean, look, first of all, I’ll say this. What you’ve already said for any of you listening, right? What Chloe’s already said, right? It’s already. You get it right? There’s our voices. And our bodies are two different ways that we are taking up space in the world, and they’re connected. But I specifically want to name that. As I was thinking about why was I writing a book on public speaking? It’s like kind of old timey phrase public speaking. I thought, you know, hiding inside of that is this word public. And the reality is that it wasn’t that long ago that women leaving their house unchaperoned was basically illegal. You know, 120 years ago in New York City, you couldn’t enter a bar as a woman alone.

Samara Bay (00:31:24) – You couldn’t walk around if you walked around alone. In broad daylight, people either assumed that you were merely moving from one house of employee to another, or that you were a prostitute, which was, by the way, called a public woman. So the public wandering freely in the public was the realm of men. And this seems, on the one hand, obvious, but on the other hand I think for me, but also for like every client I’ve ever worked with, it helps to acknowledge that, you know, 100 years ago might be a long time ago for us, but it wasn’t for a grandmothers who raised our mothers who raised us, and that when we began to have a bit more freedom hard, hard, hard earned freedom to leave our houses unaccompanied like a person who just does what they want. We were not instantly also given a generous ear audience who was happy to hear what we had to say, and we still might not. And that is the reality. Like, you know what finally got women out of the house in this, like, socially acceptable way was department stores.

Samara Bay (00:32:41) – It was a grab for our wallets. It worked. Suddenly there were outdoor, indoor public private spaces, right? The gray areas began. Cool, cool, cool. But, you know, buying a new dress for yourself or buying whatever. Like some beautiful decor for your house, discovering that you had buying power and thus, you know, capitalism wanted you is not the same thing as standing on your own conviction in front of a room and trusting they won’t do so. When we talk about taking up space, it’s literally the physical spaces that we enter in order to give, say, a formal speech at a conference or to speak to that boardroom, that building was not built with us in mind. It just wasn’t. It just wasn’t. And so here we are. And if we find that we are not breathing deeply, it’s a combination of just socialized stuff. All of us are pretty bad at breathing deeply. It’s ridiculous. Like we breathe just enough to get by. But, you know, there’s this amazing interview from a study from a woman who discovered this concept of email apnea that we hold our breath when we read an email as though we’re bracing for bad news, and then we forget to let it go.

Samara Bay (00:33:51) – And so we all just are like holding in some stale, crappy, you know, CO2 breath and just breathing enough to literally not die. But not more than that. Okay, so there’s that going on. There’s also, especially for women, a lot of stuff around our middles. Right. And like what I call sucking culture. But this idea that we can actually control how thin we seem in that one part of our body. So why not mixed in with the fact that that area is also a really juicy place to hold in trauma and various like, you know, stressful things that muscles know how to hold on to. And then there is this thing of, I’m walking into a room that was not made for me with a bunch of people who are not expecting me to show up whole. And I’m bracing for what might happen. And the best way to brace is to tighten our metals, hold our breath, and kind of be in armored ready mode as though nothing can faze us.

Chloe Dechow (00:34:48) – That’s survival.

Chloe Dechow (00:34:49) – Yeah. In your book, you talked about removing the armor and taking off the masks, and you did this beautiful meditation around that, and. Allowing that to have you show up in your day to day. Can you talk a little bit about love and why that’s that’s important and all of this?

Samara Bay (00:35:10) – Yeah. I mean, the disclaimer is that it’s really not my job to tell people to take off their mask if they know that they’re not safe. Right. Like, I’m just not in the room that you’re in, and I, I just part of this work is for everybody to feel as empowered as you can to trust your own instincts. This is not me trying to override your instincts. And and sometimes we are holding on to more armor than we need to, and it’s getting in the way of our destiny. And that’s the part where I’m like, what is that gray area? Where is the that part where we’re actually telling the story longer than the story needs to be told? That is a meditation that I got from a woman named Lori Snyder who does yoga stuff and especially runs meditations and yoga for writers.

Samara Bay (00:35:55) – So part of what she’s interested in and why I asked her permission to use it, is that before we do something creative, it is useful to notice what armor we’re holding on to. That and maybe armor isn’t the word for you, but that sense of rigidity, that sense of here’s how it’s going to be. Maybe it’s perfectionism is often counter to our creative, free spirited. Who knows what this, that, who knows? Wetness, the surprise element, the spontaneity, the, you know, just like that creative hit of like, oh, that. Oh, whoa, oh, that’s a thought which like, now that I’m doing the Substack, you know, it’s a different pace than the book. I had a year and a half on the book, so, you know, that that could sort of like slowly massage itself out. But now it’s like weekly. So I have a little note to myself on my computer here that says, pay attention to my life and write things. So like pay attention to your life part, right.

Samara Bay (00:36:49) – This is creative hits. This is actually like not just being in your life, but allowing it to also like have this other second life happen inside your own head and trusting that that’s right, that my thoughts are good, that they’re enough, that they’re useful to other people. You know, I I’m an entrepreneur, but I’m also an artist. And like these terms are just things that people play with that I play with. It’s not like they need to be one or the other, but I do notice when I have my entrepreneur hat on, sometimes I’m thinking, what do I need to do? What are the rules? How does this work? How does this work? How does this work? How do I figure out the puzzle? The puzzle is a puzzle, and as soon as I put my artist hat on, I’m like, oh, I am the rule. The rules are me. The rules are whatever that I. I’m a breaker of rules. Like it’s a totally different vibe. So I guess that’s a very long way.

Samara Bay (00:37:36) – Or like a teasing out of this idea of taking the armor off and seeing what’s behind the mask and behind that mask and behind that mask as an invitation not to do something that does not feel safe or responsible, but rather for something that gets you to connect with that. The rules were not meant for me version of yourself. You talk a lot about mischief, and I think this is where that comes in. Like the idea of being a troublemaker, not in these huge ways that are going to like burn all the bridges, but just in this, you know, sort of whisper, get in trouble. What? That might open up inside your own mind.

Chloe Dechow (00:38:17) – I love that example because it helps us not get into the problem solving mode of like how, how, how, how am I going to make this work, but really lean into more of like a playful, mischievous world in which there might be better answers?

Samara Bay (00:38:34) – Yes. Yeah. It’s so annoying, right? Because we want to control everything.

Samara Bay (00:38:38) – If I just solve the problem, it won’t be a problem. And instead, the way to solve the problem is usually to be like the solution is flow. The solution is love. The solution is friendship. It’s like, oh, right, I just have to actually like, live and, you know, be open instead of closed.

Chloe Dechow (00:38:56) – So instead of throwing spaghetti, we should be throwing paint is what I want to do.

Samara Bay (00:38:59) – Oh, I like that.

Chloe Dechow (00:39:02) – Awesome. So with all of this and I appreciate you getting messy with me here, because it is a messy topic and there’s so much involved in it. I’m curious if you have a couple of like, takeaways that someone listening could just implement, you know, today or tomorrow as they’re thinking about this topic that maybe they haven’t created space to really think about before. Yeah. What could they implement?

Samara Bay (00:39:24) – Okay. If two thoughts. So I’m going to pull at things I think I’ve sort of slightly already mentioned but get more you know one practical one is make a list for yourself.

Samara Bay (00:39:34) – And it could just be like an ongoing, you know, thing on your desk or whatever that you just jot down or on your phone. But make a list for yourself as you think about people you just love, the way they show up. You just love it. Like there’s something that just makes you lean in. So maybe it’s your favorite podcasts. Maybe it’s, you know, your favorite, like random speeches. Not the official formalized ones that happen at award ceremonies, but like, somebody stood up at a town hall and something happened that just felt really fresh. Maybe it is the more formalized one. Maybe it’s Ted talks, right? Maybe it’s somebody in in activism or politics, but maybe not at all. Maybe it’s the artists in your life. Maybe it’s someone in your life that the rest of us wouldn’t know. And I don’t, you know, if you’re like, yeah, but they don’t talk in public, right? That you can be looser about that, right? The rules don’t apply to us.

Samara Bay (00:40:19) – But really do start to think are who is not just like who society is spoon fed me. I’m supposed to like, but what? When I hear somebody who’s the one that, like, make something happen in my body, right? The body doesn’t lie. What is that like? Visceral response and allow that list of people to grow and grow and start to notice trends. Right. So it’s not like I’m suggesting you should now sound like any of those individuals. But there are things, there are new stories that start to emerge around, for example, emotional openness or an accent that tells us where someone’s from instead of our general accent that doesn’t. There are stories that start to emerge and let them, and you can talk about it with friends and collect with each other. Right. And there’s this sort of like collective reshaping of quote unquote, conventional wisdom. So that’s one. And two is take seriously in like a playful way, take seriously what, like a two minute warm up would be that would feel good in your body and your spirit before you have the chance to do any kind of anything, right? A podcast interview or a run, a training or, you know, whatever.

Samara Bay (00:41:27) – Like define this broadly enough that you actually do it. What would be a two minute warm up? So for me, it requires one, a reminder that I’m breaking some rules here. You know, that it’s helpful to be like the history of public spaces reminds me that, showing up is a radical act. Okay, so that’s one, two something physical, right? For me. I’ve done yoga for 20 years. It’s really helpful to just do some, you know, downward dogs to notice the parts of body that are stiff or crunchy and to just, you know, loosen them up. I think it’s helpful for everybody to do like spine twists of some sort, even if you just do it for 10s, you know, standing up and moving your torso to the right and to the left and letting your body show you what feels good. So the body part, they used to say, do jumping jacks and get out of breath. Yeah, sure. Yeah, right. Like whatever works. Three something more mouthy.

Samara Bay (00:42:19) – More like, how are my lips doing? Your lips and your tongue tend to hold a lot of tension. Your tongue connects down to your throat. I mean, actually, I don’t know if throat’s the right word, but on the outside, it connects down to your neck. That’s a huge muscle, and it holds a lot. It just, like, tenses up when we’re driving, when we’re, you know, I live in LA when we’re like, maybe texting and driving, like, you know, stuff tends to happen. And then we and then we need to actually let ourselves loosen it with some silliness. And the final thing is bring to mind a memory. Of a time that somebody really saw you. This, to me, is the most important thing. If you can’t do the other ones, if you don’t have the time, just do the work of bringing to mind a kind memory instead of an unkind memory. Right before you go on the mic or press play or walk on the stage.

Samara Bay (00:43:08) – And usually the juicy kind memories that just have quick hits tend to be moments when someone really saw us to use your praise, right? When we just really felt like what we contributed mattered. Maybe it came in the form of a hug, or an email or text or a voice note. Maybe it didn’t at all. Maybe it was just you heard it through the grapevine. But bringing to mind that memory and breathing it in as low as you can, letting your body reveal what you first felt. Is the most powerful thing we can do to prime ourselves for the moment we’re about to step into.

Chloe Dechow (00:43:43) – What is the memory that you think of?

Samara Bay (00:43:45) – I scroll through a few of them. I also want to honor that some that used to work don’t work as well anymore. And I think that like acknowledging that what used to be juicy now feels like sad is okay, but maybe don’t use that one anymore. I love this one from a recent workshop I did where this woman that I really admired was in the back of the room.

Samara Bay (00:44:03) – Told me afterwards that she said that you she said you tomorrow. You held my heart in your hands. I was like, that’s that stance, you know, and people talk about having like a, you know, a smile jar or a like a file that we keep on our computer desktop of nice things people have said to us. Right. I actually don’t have that because I’m a chaos monster, but I should, and.

Chloe Dechow (00:44:29) – It’s the artist.

Samara Bay (00:44:30) – And that’s it, right? Thank you, thank you. Correct. But I do do keep a bunch of them. I do write them down sometimes, but I also just keep them in my mind. And I and I commit some of them to memory. Like this woman just said something to me this week and it was a different thing. But I was like, don’t forget that one. Because, listen, we all know this, but I’m going to remind you, brains are going to brain. We all are better at remembering what berries kill us than what berries taste.

Samara Bay (00:44:56) – Juicy because one has death on the line. That was my strong voice. So our negativity bias means you can’t outsmart it. It’s great. It keeps us alive. But what do we do with biases? We notice them. We do. We have a second, wiser thought. So the second, wiser thought in this case is not just here’s all of the billion things that could go wrong. Don’t do that thing that went wrong at one time. But now a new thought. The positivity bias thought, which is don’t forget, you also just move people there every week.

Chloe Dechow (00:45:25) – And to me, that’s what power sounds like.

Samara Bay (00:45:28) – There’s something really there though, right? I mean, you know, to the point that you made earlier about that impossible moment where you had to get the feedback. Here’s why this is so sticky. We can tell people, stop saying and or and vocal fry, or we can say, how can I help create the conditions for you to really show up and follow through and follow through and follow through.

Samara Bay (00:45:48) – And you know what happens? They stop saying I’m an unused vocal fry. This is just an inside out game. It’s a spiritual game, and it’s just so much bigger than police women’s voices or don’t please women’s voices. It’s weird placing our own voices because of millennia of messaging that we have received. We have received. And then what we do next. What’s our second wise report?

Chloe Dechow (00:46:11) – Thank you so much, Samara. Thank you. I wish everyone could see the video. Just seeing how lit up you are about the feedback that you’ve gotten and things like that. It just shows, shows how powerful the work that you’re doing is.

Samara Bay (00:46:25) – Thank you. Well, and I’m really I also really try to model this stuff, you know, like it is a value of mine.

Chloe Dechow (00:46:31) – Yeah. Leading by example. For sure. As we wrap up, where can someone find you if they want to learn more about you and what you do?

Samara Bay (00:46:39) – My website. So maybe. But also, you know, I’ve mentioned the Substack a few times.

Samara Bay (00:46:43) – I’m really proud of it. It also has been named a 2024 featured Substack on the featured publication on Substack. It’s called How to Show Up. So it is the book because I am a book plus, like sort of an evolution of thought on this subject.

Chloe Dechow (00:47:00) – Awesome. We will include your website and your Substack in the show notes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing up for doing this important work, and I’m excited to follow along on your journey.

Samara Bay (00:47:12) – Thank you. Thanks, Chloe. Thank you all.

Chloe Dechow (00:47:20) – Thank you for joining me today. If you enjoyed this episode, invite your entrepreneur friends to tune in. Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram at West Haven Coaching. I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on today’s episode and continue the conversation with you there. And before you go, be sure to download my free guide, Five Steps to Building Your Authentic Authority, which will walk you through how to grow your thought leadership in a way that’s true to who you are and what you stand for.

Chloe Dechow (00:47:49) – You can find the guide at westhavencoaching.com/steps or follow the link in the show notes. Thanks again for tuning in. Together we are changing the faces and voices of thought leadership. Until next time, keep leading with authenticity and impact.

Changing What Power Sounds Like with Samara Bay

May 9, 2024

vocal authority, societal standards, authentic voices, navigating feedback, vocal habits, gender stereotyping, vocal standards, embracing authenticity, vulnerability, emotional availability, self-awareness, self-compassion, playful mindset, mischievous mindset, emotional openness, physical warm-ups, impactful communication, thought leadership, embracing authentic voices, physical and vocal warm-ups, self-discovery, empowerment, How to Show Up, West Haven Coaching, thought leadership, authentic authority.


Leadership, Mindset

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