Overcoming The Fear of Being Fabulous
With Judith & Jim

Jim’s Personal Fear of Being Fabulous Struggle After a Stroke in 2016

Sometimes the Fear of Being Fabulous can have tangible, physical roots. For example, Jim’s stroke in October 2016 mostly hit the muscles in his mouth and therefore his speech. Even though most people now think he sounds “normal,” never having heard him before, Jim needed to explain his own Fear of Being Fabulous to you so you understand that it’s been caused by not trusting how he sounds when he speaks. Notice how Jim responds when Judith points out how he finds it difficult to give himself credit for Being Fabulous at speaking on their podcasts and doing executive coaching. Can you relate to that?


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Ep. 131 ~ Jim’s Personal Fear After His Stroke ~ TRANSCRIPT

Hi, I’m Judith Sherven and I’m Jim Sniechowski

We’re better known as Judith and Jim and we’re a married PhD psychology team.


Today we’re doing a very special podcast, in fact, about me.

Two years ago in October, 2016 I had a stroke. The stroke impacted mostly my speech. It was very difficult for me to speak after the stroke. I have slowly been improving … you can hear right there, and coming back where I can speak clearly and succinctly.


The problem of course is that the stroke hit the muscles in Jim’s mouth and as the muscles get stronger and stronger Jim’s speech gets clearer. But what is important for everyone to understand and see how you can relate to it in your own life is that Jim finds it difficult to understand how fabulous he is being that he is podcasting with me and he’s executive coaching with me.

He is talking for his professional making, his living professionally talking. So we have a case study right here of Jim having trouble overcoming the fear of being fabulous, owning how terrific it is that he is speaking this well after his stroke.


As we have been saying through previous podcasts we center, we locate the fear of being fabulous in the unconscious where it resides and comes up unannounced and forbidden to punch you in your confidence.

Well, in my case with regard to the stroke, it is not in the unconscious, it is definitely very conscious. My mouth will not form the shapes. I need to make the sounds clearly. I tend to cut off the end sounds. …

But I will persevere here. Part of my task will be to deliver to you the best knowledge of, about the fear of being fabulous that I present, as well as overcoming the battle I’m having with my own inability.


We see this, ah, over and over with people who are doing very well in their professional career at a variety of tech companies around the world. We have clients in Australia and London and New York and a variety of places besides the work we do in San Francisco. And what we see is people comparing themselves to some idea of perfection that they’re holding their imagination and then downplaying how well they’re in their everyday life.

So I ask you, please take a look in your life.

Are there ways you are doing quite well? Whatever it might be in terms of your social life, your professional life, your physical health, friendships, your marriage, whatever it might be.  And yet that voice in your head niggles at you about you could do it better, you could be better at it. You don’t think that you’re being perfect yet.

It wants to keep downplaying who you are. And as we’ve said, that voice is coming from the unconscious fear of being fabulous.


I’d like to add one more detail. One of the effects of my stroke, is it is difficult for me to breathe smoothly? I’m breathing; you can hear that.  But not smoothly. So my voice rests in my chest instead of in my diaphragm like it used to. And as a result I feel, I feel like I sound like I’m straining. Well, I may sound like I’m straining because I am straining. Is it difficult for me to get out a flow words right on one breath.

Sometimes it will … sound like … an end that is abrupt and not smooth. And that is also part of the problem.


Now you can hear that Jim is deeply focused on what’s not going right. But it’s difficult for Jim. I live with Jim. I see this every day. It’s difficult for Jim to see what is going beautifully given how hard the stroke punched him in the mouth. He is doing remarkably well. People who’ve never heard him speak before say, I would never have known. I would just think this is how you typically speak. But for Jim that’s hard for him to take in.


Impossible for me to take in. Because what’s going on inside my own head is so bizarre. Like nothing my entire life. I had the stroke when I would 75. For 75 years I did not have a stroke. I had my voice and my mouth and my diction and my speech. That suddenly went away in a flash. One moment it’s gone. It’s just not easy to go on. I shouldn’t have said … I’m going on. I’m definitely going on. I know a great deal about the fear of being fabulous and I’m involved with it right now to make it clear that it can have and you’re listening to it right now. …


So again, take a look at how you may be downplaying what you’ve accomplished in your life; just as Jim is accomplishing, speaking better and better. How have you downplayed? How are you right now downplaying things that you do well, things that you’ve overcome in your life that you tend to poo poo. You sort of say, Oh, I just make light of it. You laugh it off. Why? Please examine why, what would you need to change about your own self-image if you owned, how fabulous it is that you have overcome whatever kinds of obstacles, whatever kinds of holdbacks that you have struggled with.


And the reason we have done this …is completely for my sake because we’re going to do many, many more and I want to feel relaxed with the audience that is going to listen. That my difficulty doesn’t get in the way of the information I have to offer you.

I know a great deal. I’m very, very wise when it comes to this stuff and so is Judith. We have the great deal bring to you. I just need to get past my self-consciousness about my speech.


So take a look at this as an example of what Jim has done. He’s put it forward. He’s made it clear to you and everyone that will continue to listen to this podcast. He’s been as visible as he can be with his struggle. How might you need to be more available with your struggle to the people around you—to the people that you’re married to; the people you date; the people that you’re being friends with.

I’m speaking in the plural because I know we have many, many listeners to our podcast. How might you need to take more pride in what you’ve accomplished, that you’ve overcome in your life, than you give yourself credit for right now?

That’s the challenge we present to you now. That’s the homework assignment that we’re giving you to help you move past your fear of being fabulous.

We look forward to you being with us the next time and do take it seriously. You can overcome your fear of being fabulous.