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Interview: Ryan Spence, From Big Law to Speaker & Author
Episode 69th August 2022 • Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking • Kirsten Rourke
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In Episode 6 of Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, Kirsten talks with Ryan Spence, author of The Triple C Method: Gain Clarity, Boost Confidence & Build Courage So You Can Live Life Lit!. Ryan shares his journey from Big Law to taking boxing classes to becoming a yoga instructor and life coach.

Ryan shares the inspiration of providing people with actionable steps for growth that led him to write his book. He also comments on the connection between evidence and mindset, his advice for new speakers, and getting your body ready to speak.

Key take-aways:

  • What is the connection between evidence and mindset?
  • What is Ryan’s advice for new speakers?
  • What do yoga and boxing have to do with being a speaker?

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Read a transcript of this episode: https://share.descript.com/view/dltWmw6wAO5

  • The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Transcripts

Kirsten:

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking.

Kirsten:

It's a podcast and a community.

Kirsten:

I'm Kirsten Rourke, speaker, presenter, and founder of Rourke Training.

Kirsten:

And this is Kellie.

Kellie:

Hey there, I'm Kellie, producer, writer, and herder of cats.

Kirsten:

Oh, so many cats.

Kirsten:

After over 20 years as speaker and presenter, I've seen it all

Kirsten:

and I'm sharing it with you.

Kirsten:

Ongoing mastery is about continual improvement of your craft.

Kirsten:

You'll learn tips and hear from industry leaders.

Kirsten:

I'll tell you straight up what works and what doesn't, so you can thrive.

Kirsten:

Let's get started.

Kirsten:

Welcome to episode number six.

Kirsten:

We are doing an interview with Ryan Spence today.

Kellie:

I am excited about this interview.

Kellie:

He has got such a varied background you wouldn't expect.

Kirsten:

I don't know.

Kirsten:

I think how often the intersection between yoga and Big Law, I

Kirsten:

mean, that's common, right?

Kellie:

Sure.

Kellie:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Kellie:

I wanted to be a lawyer as a kid, and I've worked for one of the

Kellie:

white glove law firms on K Street in Washington, DC while I was in college, so

Kellie:

I always feel kind of close to lawyers.

Kellie:

Maybe alternate career fantasy, go back in time and start over and be a lawyer.

Kirsten:

Well, Ryan definitely has ended up in a really interesting spot.

Kirsten:

He's a dynamic speaker.

Kirsten:

He's an interesting, engaging author.

Kirsten:

So, let's get to it.

Kirsten:

Hi Ryan, how are you?

Ryan:

Kirsten, how you doing?

Ryan:

I'm doing very well.

Ryan:

Thank you, very well.

Kirsten:

So tell everybody a little bit about your background, and about your

Kirsten:

book, and all of, all the things Ryan.

Ryan:

All the things, there are many things.

Ryan:

I'll try not to keep you too long.

Ryan:

But yeah, I used to be a lawyer, a Big Law lawyer.

Ryan:

So this basically means I used to work in one of the big international law firms,

Ryan:

first in London, and then in Singapore.

Ryan:

And, then about halfway through, I thought, "This isn't really, for me,

Ryan:

this isn't really what I want to do."

Ryan:

I'd always been quite creative.

Ryan:

And I mean, my dream I was, was going to be a pop star.

Ryan:

That was, that was my thing, so to go from being a pop star to

Ryan:

being a lawyer in one of these big international firms is quite a leap, but

Kirsten:

It is a bit of a leap.

Ryan:

A little bit.

Kirsten:

The Singing Lawyer?

Ryan:

Yeah, I guess you could do that, but that sounds a lot

Ryan:

more fun than what I was doing.

Ryan:

I definitely wasn't singing, singing every day.

Ryan:

And I just didn't think I could do anything else.

Ryan:

Limiting beliefs were keeping me in this space where I felt that I'd spent

Ryan:

so much time and energy getting to this point, everyone saw me as successful,

Ryan:

my identity was tied to being a lawyer, the status, the salary, and all that,

Ryan:

I just didn't really see a way out.

Ryan:

And I just felt I had to suck it up.

Ryan:

And then, through the process of just getting to the end of my tether, going

Ryan:

to Bali for Christmas, having to work on a holiday, was the final straw.

Ryan:

I just decided I needed to change, and that change came, it came

Ryan:

through boxing, which is probably not what you would expect.

Ryan:

And it came through just giving myself a challenge to actually do something

Ryan:

that would sort of shock, shock me out of the funk that I was in.

Ryan:

And so, yeah, I ended up doing 12 weeks training as a fighter and getting in the

Ryan:

ring, which, if no one's ever done it before, trust me, it will really shake

Ryan:

you out of whatever stupor that you're in.

Ryan:

And that just sent me on this personal development journey.

Ryan:

And so what I do now is I help people in the position that I was in, so the

Ryan:

lawyer, professionals, just find the way out, just really connect with who

Ryan:

they are, and what it is that they want to do, and to really kind of

Ryan:

build a career suit to go after that.

Ryan:

So I do that through coaching and speaking, and also through writing,

Ryan:

as you mentioned, through my book.

Kirsten:

Yes, your book, The Triple C Method, which I have right here.

Kirsten:

So what, what inspired you to write and publish a book?

Ryan:

So, like many people, I always said I'd like to write a book one

Ryan:

day, one day I'll write a book.

Ryan:

You know, everyone thinks they have a book in them.

Ryan:

But it something that was always going to be done in the future, which basically

Ryan:

meant it was, it just never happened.

Ryan:

And I think that once I started to coach, I started to coach people and I started

Ryan:

to get clear on my vision and what helped me get from where I was to where I am now.

Ryan:

And I started to kind of really get that down.

Ryan:

I felt that writing a book was going to be, it had a purpose.

Ryan:

It was a way that I was going to get all of that information in one place that

Ryan:

wasn't going to just disappear after a few hours, like a social media caption.

Ryan:

It was something that was going to stand and it meant that people could

Ryan:

pick up the book, they could read it, they could get the information, sure.

Ryan:

They could be inspired by it, but more importantly, they could then

Ryan:

have actionable steps that they could take to sort of start to

Ryan:

make the changes in their own life.

Ryan:

Because I've been through the process of reading lots of books and never

Ryan:

really doing anything with the information, so I wanted to make it

Ryan:

easy for people to actually do stuff.

Ryan:

So that was really the impetus.

Ryan:

And I think it was a conversation I had with somebody who, I think it was a coach

Ryan:

of mine, who, I was going through this whole thing, and she said, "Okay, well,

Ryan:

how many words can you write in a day?"

Ryan:

And I didn't, did not see where this was going.

Ryan:

I was, "I don't know.

Ryan:

I can probably write 300 hundred words a day."

Ryan:

She was like, "And how many days a week can you write?"

Ryan:

"Maybe Monday to Friday."

Ryan:

And we kind of went, yeah ask me these little questions, and then

Ryan:

she kind of got to the stage where, "So basically you could have a first

Ryan:

draft of a book finished by X date, which is like two months' time."

Ryan:

And when she put it like that, I realized that actually there

Ryan:

wasn't really an excuse anymore.

Ryan:

I could do that.

Ryan:

So I just started writing and I just

Kirsten:

OK

Ryan:

schedule and started writing.

Kirsten:

Fantastic.

Kirsten:

And so, obviously, the podcast is called Ongoing Mastery, so ongoing mastery is

Kirsten:

clearly affecting your life, and it's, it's how, how does that show up for your

Kirsten:

family and your friends and everyone else?

Kirsten:

How does that impact, kind of, your, your larger world?

Ryan:

I think that, I think that I known for, when I decide to do

Ryan:

something, I go ahead and do it.

Ryan:

And I'm very able to learn new things.

Ryan:

And I think that that then inspires other people to want to do the same.

Ryan:

So for example, I learned to box.

Ryan:

I learned to teach yoga, I did my yoga teacher training.

Ryan:

I've done lots of diverse things, but when I get into it, I really throw myself

Ryan:

into it, and I really want to understand.

Ryan:

I'm not really one for just dipping my toes into something.

Ryan:

I kind of really want to understand the process, understand how that

Ryan:

matters to me, and understand how I can then best deliver that to other

Ryan:

people if it's something that I'm delivering to, to the outside world.

Kirsten:

So, in public speaking, you, did you have a fear of public speaking?

Kirsten:

I mean, you were a lawyer, so you were obviously pretty articulate and able

Kirsten:

to speak, but at what point would you say that you had to get over that?

Ryan:

Oh, I had a fear of public speaking, yeah, definitely.

Kirsten:

OK

Ryan:

And I did speak, and you know, I spoke because I felt that I needed to

Ryan:

speak to benefit my career, the career bit, so I actually didn't want that,

Ryan:

but yeah, but I think that that was the difference is that I, I didn't really

Ryan:

have a deep seated reason for speaking.

Ryan:

And so I think that therefore, I always saw speaking as something

Ryan:

that I was fearful of doing.

Ryan:

And I, it wasn't necessarily that I didn't want to get over the fear.

Ryan:

It's that I didn't really have a strong enough purpose for getting over that fear.

Kirsten:

OK

Ryan:

So whenever a thing came up, I would see either, do it if I had to, but

Ryan:

I would also try to avoid it if I could.

Kirsten:

And what made you conquer it?

Ryan:

Getting purpose.

Ryan:

I think once I became a coach, once I decided I wanted to help people,

Ryan:

I knew that there was certain fears I had to conquer because I had to,

Ryan:

I had a message I wanted to share and I have to get that message out.

Ryan:

And no one was going to hear my message and hear what I'm about, and I wasn't able

Ryan:

to help people by hiding in the shadows and by, effectively, giving myself this

Ryan:

title of somebody who is scared to speak.

Ryan:

So I had to decide to become a speaker.

Ryan:

So that was the first thing, is I decided I was going to be a speaker.

Ryan:

Then I had to figure out what was I going to speak about

Ryan:

and how was I going to speak?

Ryan:

So I had to go through different processes.

Ryan:

I had to start writing, which then I had to start speaking on podcasts.

Ryan:

I then had to start, do you know what I mean, speaking on,

Ryan:

on social media, speaking live.

Ryan:

So it was all a process.

Ryan:

It definitely didn't happen overnight.

Ryan:

But the overriding factor was that I knew who I was speaking to,

Ryan:

and why I was speaking to them, and the impact I wanted to have.

Kirsten:

So what's next on your speaking goal list?

Kirsten:

What's your next bucket list item?

Ryan:

So the big goal next is to give a TED talk, so that's,

Kirsten:

That's pretty much the Mecca for everybody, right?

Kirsten:

That's it?

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Ryan:

That's the, that's the trajectory, right?

Ryan:

The thing is, I've always wanted to give a TED talk, but, when I was back

Ryan:

in law, a TED talk was just too big.

Ryan:

There was no way that that was going to happen.

Ryan:

It was just kind of this big dream, but having gone through all of these

Ryan:

steps through the years to kind of do all these other things and push the

Ryan:

boundaries and step out of that comfort zone, now the book's out and now I've

Ryan:

recorded the audiobook, it's kind of like, okay, next step, TED talk.

Ryan:

I've now got a body of work to talk about, so get out there and

Kirsten:

Nice

Ryan:

talk about it.

Kirsten:

So, when you went to get over the fear of public speaking, I mean, you

Kirsten:

are a focused person, so you drive ahead, but how did you build the confidence?

Kirsten:

What did you do to attain that?

Ryan:

So, there's a process that I use.

Ryan:

It's, it's basically, obviously I'm a lawyer, called "Where's the evidence?"

Ryan:

And I think that what happens, and what definitely happens to me, is

Ryan:

we tell ourselves stories, negative stories, but there's never any

Ryan:

evidence to support those stories.

Ryan:

We say, "I can't do this."

Ryan:

So I would say, "I can't speak.

Ryan:

I mean, I'm fearful to speak in, it's never going to happen.

Ryan:

I can't get up on stage and do X."

Ryan:

But actually, when you ask yourself, "Where's the evidence?",

Ryan:

you start to realize that there's nothing to support that.

Ryan:

And if you start to then look back at what brought you to where you are now

Ryan:

in this moment, you realize there was so many things that you had to overcome,

Ryan:

so many obstacles, so many roadblocks.

Ryan:

So you actually, there's actually greater evidence that you can conquer

Ryan:

your fears, that you can do hard things.

Ryan:

And there is evidence to say that you can't say, that, that's what I do.

Ryan:

And I kind of work myself through that process and look back and

Ryan:

realize what I've done in the past to help get me to my future.

Kirsten:

Excellent.

Kirsten:

So then what advice would you give to people who are looking at, basically,

Kirsten:

looking down at public speaking, you know, as in the future and going, "I

Kirsten:

need to do this, or I feel like I should be doing this, but, uh, I don't know."

Kirsten:

What, how would you suggest they start?

Ryan:

I think the very first thing is connecting with why you're doing it.

Ryan:

So I know that lots of us in our jobs, I mean there are opportunities to just be.

Ryan:

But even in those situations, you have to connect with why you're doing it.

Ryan:

You, initially, you might be doing it because you're told you have to do it

Ryan:

as part of your job, but can you find something deeper that will allow you to

Ryan:

develop the skill and learn how to do it.

Ryan:

And that might just be that, one day in the future, I'd like to be a speaker

Ryan:

of my own, speak about my own things.

Ryan:

So by doing this, I'm going to build those skills.

Ryan:

It might be just that there's a deeper message in all of the works

Ryan:

that I'm talking about that I would like to get out or there's a

Ryan:

different way of looking at things.

Ryan:

So it's trying to connect with why you're doing it.

Ryan:

Because it is hard and you will be scared, but that's what's going to

Ryan:

help you push through and keep going and actually get up and deliver the

Ryan:

speech that you want to deliver.

Kirsten:

So tying your current work back to your yoga work, how do you get

Kirsten:

your body ready to be doing speaking?

Kirsten:

Because the fear, the physical fear, is very hard for people to, to deal

Kirsten:

with, especially when their body is basically going, "You're in danger,"

Kirsten:

and your brain is going, "Well, if I'm in danger, I should not move forward."

Kirsten:

So how, as, as a yoga instructor, how would you coach people through that?

Ryan:

Yeah, that's the big, big connection that people don't make, that sort of,

Ryan:

the sort of the mental and the physical.

Ryan:

There is that real connection there.

Ryan:

And I think the first, the very first thing you've got to do is,

Ryan:

is take control of your breath.

Ryan:

And, because you'll notice that fear comes in and the breath gets short,

Ryan:

you get sweaty, and, and then you'll, you'll notice ithat your posture changes.

Ryan:

Your shoulders cave in.

Ryan:

You start to hunch over.

Ryan:

Your posture changes.

Ryan:

And when you're like that, you can't, your voice can't come out

Ryan:

the way you want it to come out.

Ryan:

So first you just need to get the breath and the breath will relax you.

Ryan:

It allows your body to realize that you're safe, no harm's going

Ryan:

to come to you, and you can relax.

Ryan:

So once you get the breathing on the control, then you can start to notice

Ryan:

where you are and become aware of your posture, start to roll the shoulders back

Ryan:

Because obviously in yoga, we, we're all about sort of strengthening

Ryan:

and lengthening in flexibility.

Ryan:

So it's about standing straight and really, really just kind of grounding

Ryan:

yourself in the place where you're at.

Ryan:

Feeling that presence.

Ryan:

But yeah, you can't, you can't get up and give a speech if you don't take the

Ryan:

time to breathe, and to kind of focus on that breath for however long you need to.

Ryan:

And just bring yourself to the space that you're in.

Ryan:

Focus on the moment.

Kirsten:

That's fantastic.

Kirsten:

So, in the larger scope of what we do, it really helps to have

Kirsten:

people who understand the work.

Kirsten:

So what do you think the benefit is for people coming into the

Kirsten:

field, of finding what we, speaker friends, like-minded peers?

Kirsten:

What's the, what do you think the value is?

Kirsten:

How do they, how would you recommend people go about that?

Ryan:

The value of peers can't be underestimated.

Ryan:

I know I found towards the end of last year, I was doing a lot of work, but on

Ryan:

my own, and I didn't have people around me who were doing what I was doing.

Ryan:

When I found those people, I realized that was the missing piece, because

Ryan:

you have people who understand the pressures you're going through.

Ryan:

You understand the wins that you have, who will celebrate with you, and will help you

Ryan:

to kind of navigate some of the pitfalls.

Ryan:

So, I, I always, I'm a big advocate of building your squad, building

Ryan:

the people around you who are going to support you and want you to win.

Ryan:

And then, in terms of where you found them, find them,

Ryan:

I mean, it really depends.

Ryan:

I mean, you can find them in your, around you locally, but it

Ryan:

really depends on where you live.

Ryan:

If you're stuck in your job and you're stuck on the commute,

Ryan:

that may not be possible.

Ryan:

But I mean, online is a great place.

Ryan:

I mean, I've, I've made so many great connections online in either communities

Ryan:

that I've joined who are sort of related to things that I'm interested in or

Ryan:

the work that I do, I mean, with other entrepreneurs, with other coaches.

Ryan:

And just find, just find your people.

Ryan:

I mean, you've got to put yourself out there and you've got to participate.

Ryan:

I was often a lurker on social media for many years before I

Ryan:

sort of got into where I am now.

Ryan:

But you find that when you put yourself out there, when you say

Ryan:

things, when you say things from the heart and you're actively around,

Ryan:

in service of people, other people will want to be of service to you.

Ryan:

And then you'll find the ones where you connect some way, you click.

Ryan:

And so that's where you start to build the squad that you

Ryan:

need to help you move forward.

Kirsten:

So in your goal to get your TED talk, your first of many TED talks, what

Kirsten:

are you doing to mentally get yourself into the, the space to do that work?

Kirsten:

How are you on that, where are you on that journey?

Ryan:

Yeah.

Ryan:

So where I'mat in my journey is, actually funny enough, I literally spoke to a

Ryan:

coach today, and I spoke to, it's someone who I know, but that's kinda what she

Ryan:

does, and I just said, "I want to do it."

Ryan:

I think the first thing for me is always deciding I'm going to do it.

Ryan:

So saying, "I'm going to give a TED talk."

Ryan:

So that was the first thing, Okay, I'm going to do it.

Ryan:

Okay.

Ryan:

What do I want to talk about?

Ryan:

So now it's a case of being around the ideas, and fortunately, with the book

Ryan:

and with people reviewing the book, there are themes coming through in terms of

Ryan:

what people are connecting with, which is helping me to kind of decide the route

Ryan:

I want to go down in terms of the talk.

Ryan:

And then I'm watching lots of TED talks.

Ryan:

I mean, I have a YouTube channel open on my, on my laptop and I'll

Ryan:

try and watch it maybe a couple a day just to kind of get into the

Ryan:

rhythm and see what people are doing.

Ryan:

See what I like, what I don't like, what works, how I want to be.

Ryan:

I'm just trying to talk as much as possible.

Ryan:

I mean, whether it's podcast interviews, whether it's delivering masterclasses,

Ryan:

whether it's being live on social media, I just kind of, really just

Ryan:

building that habit of talking.

Ryan:

Because what I found with writing is that I've been writing pretty

Ryan:

much every day now for two years in some way, shape, or form.

Ryan:

So the book that I've written now, I couldn't have written two years ago.

Ryan:

I can only write it now because I built up that practice of writing

Kirsten:

OK

Ryan:

and writing.

Ryan:

And so it's the same as speaking.

Ryan:

The more that you speak and the more that you're aware of speaking

Ryan:

and you, you watch other speakers, the better you'll get as a speaker

Ryan:

because we get better by doing things.

Ryan:

And we get more confident by doing things as well.

Kirsten:

So you're building up the muscles and the skills.

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

So where, other than obviously finding your book of The Triple C

Kirsten:

Method, where do people find you?

Ryan:

So, I'm actually on social media, Instagram and LinkedIn are

Ryan:

the main places you'll find me.

Ryan:

So on Instagram, I'm @Iam_ryanspence, and you can also head to my website,

Ryan:

iamryan spence.com, where you can, yeah, find out more about me, how to work

Ryan:

with me, about the book, about podcast.

Ryan:

And, for the listeners of your podcast, if they head to, iamryan spence.com/mastery,

Ryan:

talking about confidence, they can also get a free copy of my confidence journal.

Ryan:

So that kind of helps you to start working through the six prompts in there.

Ryan:

So you start asking yourself the questions to help to negate those negative stories

Ryan:

you're telling yourself, and start to focus on the positive experiences

Ryan:

and the skills that you have to kind of help you boost that confidence to

Ryan:

get you in the right zone to give that speech, if that's what you want to do.

Kirsten:

And do you have any masterclasses?

Kirsten:

I mean, we're recording this now and the episode will drop later in the

Kirsten:

season, but do you have any masterclasses planned, for example, in the fall?

Ryan:

So I did deliver a masterclass earlier this year called "Cultivating

Ryan:

Courage," which I'm planning to, it was first a small select group

Ryan:

and I'm planning to make that widely available later this year.

Ryan:

So

Kirsten:

Great.

Ryan:

Fear is something that people struggle with, particularly

Ryan:

in regards to speaking.

Ryan:

So,

Kirsten:

Yes.

Ryan:

Yeah, if you go to the website, get on the mailing

Ryan:

list, you'll hear about that.

Ryan:

So yeah.

Kirsten:

Fantastic.

Kirsten:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

That was great.

Kirsten:

I, I love, obviously, as you know, I love the energy you bring to things.

Kirsten:

I love the perspective you bring, but I like the story of your journey, and

Kirsten:

I like how all of the pieces together connect to bring you to the next place.

Kirsten:

So I think that's wonderful.

Kirsten:

Thank you so much for making the time.

Kirsten:

I really, really appreciate it.

Ryan:

Thank you.

Ryan:

Thanks for having me.

Ryan:

I really love being here.

Ryan:

Thanks for the conversation.

Kirsten:

That was a hell of a lot of fun.

Kellie:

It was.

Kellie:

And for someone who I've come to know him all over social media,

Kellie:

to think that there was a point in time when he wasn't, blows my mind.

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

Ryan is one of those people who is so naturally charismatic that it

Kirsten:

kind of shocks me that the world, there was a time when the world

Kirsten:

didn't know he existed in this way.

Kirsten:

I mean, obviously Big Law is not a small thing, but now he's he's surpassed that.

Kellie:

I think so.

Kellie:

And we'll of course have a link to his book in the show notes.

Kirsten:

Of course.

Kellie:

You should check out The Triple C.

Kirsten:

Yes.

Kirsten:

Because we've read it.

Kirsten:

It's an awesome book.

Kirsten:

We've reviewed it and strongly recommend that you do, too.

Kirsten:

So we'll see you next time.

Kirsten:

Thank you for joining us for Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, the

Kirsten:

podcast for everyone who wants to work on their own skills and lift up others.

Kirsten:

If you enjoyed this episode, continue the conversation on our

Kirsten:

Ongoing Mastery LinkedIn group.

Kirsten:

The link is in the shownotes.

Kirsten:

Share the love on social media and tell your friends about the podcast.

Kirsten:

Be sure to catch our next episode

Kellie:

and hit the subscribe button.

Kirsten:

Until next time.

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