” … Your words become your actions.  Your actions become your habits.

Your habits become your values.  Your values become your destiny.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi’s words and wisdom have brought me to this conclusion … Your words become your destiny”.   

I’ve experienced this firsthand, and I’ve observed it over and over again with the women I work closely with.  I care deeply about the Sport of Speaking, and believe it is a key component to move women forward as leaders.

Commitment and Specificity

When an athlete decides to compete in his or her sport (for the purposes of this conversation, I’ll use ‘her’), she commits to a specific event on a specific date with specific parameters and expectations.  That is, the athlete knows exactly where she is headed and what needs to be accomplished on competition day to ensure a win.  Before all else, she knows that her ultimate success and personal best begins with an incredible level of commitment and specificity.

Strategy – Outlining your Gameplan

Once the commitment has been made (then and only then; don’t waste your time and energy, or anyone else’s, without first securing absolute commitment), a strategy is set.  It is based on a timeline (deadline), the strengths and weakness of the athlete, and what habits will be committed to and for how long (duration) and includes components such as training, nutrition, mindset and rest.

Building Out Your Team

With the strategy clarified, the athlete builds the team she needs in place to ensure her strategy is carried out to its optimal potential – a coach, nutritionist, training partner(s) or team-mates, massage therapist, mindset guru, and a manager to take care of all of the details.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Once the team is in place and the strategy has been agreed upon, the athlete begins to take consistent, deliberate, habitual action.  Day by day, week by week, month by month – slow, methodical, habitual action. Nothing earth-shaking and to most, almost boring.  Almost.  There is not one single piece of action that yields the golden ticket. Rather, it is the culmination and replication of consistent, daily habits, known as The Practice that reaps results.  The Practice takes discipline, persistence, perseverance, courage and tenacity.

I walk you through these steps not as a couch-quarterback or armchair-athlete, but as a former competitive athlete and performance coach for competitive athletes.  I’ve walked through this path of principles time and time again, and I decided to then also take them into my business,, a national mobilizer of strong women who lead with a specific focus on the sport of speaking.

Sport of Speaking | Speak! Canada

Here is what this journey has looked like thus far.

Commitment and specificity

What is the goal with the Sport of Speaking?  I measure go-for-the-gold in IMPACT.  If we can help a woman look at her words and her ability to communicate in a whole new light, together we can change her destiny.  

Help enough women, and can change the trajectory of our country.  I have given this goal a specific deadline:

PowHERhouse is deeply committed to increasing the number of Canadian women in key leadership positions by 10% by 2025.

Goal set, what is our strategy to achieve that goal?  

My strategy has always been to start with what you  know and surround myself with the most powHERful people possible to fill in the rest.

Strategy, Phase 1:

In 2000 when I started my business, I was deeply intrigued by a personal belief, and I wanted to prove that it in fact was true.  “The stronger a woman feels in her body, the stronger she is in her life.”  I knew this to be true for myself and set out over the next decade to prove it true with hundreds of female clients from competitive athletes to new mothers to aging seniors who wanted to preserve their mobility and balance.  

I committed a decade of my career to living the foundational groundwork necessary to prove to myself first-hand that my belief is true:  The stronger a woman feels in her body, the more confident and powHERful she shows up in her life.  

And so began the core foundation for my company, PowHERhouse.

We build strong women who lead.

Sport of Speaking | Speak! Canada

Strategy, Phase 2:

I then took this knowing to the stage, so to speak.  Since the Fall of 2013, we have put 150+ women on-stage through a national speaker series called PowHERtalks and a PowHERlunch series that combines inspirational local role models, high-calibre connections, and purpose-driving conversations.  Little did these women know, they were the next phase of my exploration and learning around the Sport of Speaking.

Sport of Speaking | Speak! Canada

After observing and listening for close to two decades dedicated to strategy, here’s what I have learned about women as it relates to this sport:

  1.    Women have something to say and  want to be heard.
  2.    Stories of our past provide a direct bridge to our ultimate potential and fulfillment in the future.  We must pull the thread through to our current stage of self-awareness as leaders to move forward for the win.
  3.   When a woman publicly declares what she is committed to and ready for, she signals to the Universe what she is ready for, and It conspires to meet her there.
  4.   The Universe delivers what we are truly ready for!
  5.   Preparation builds confidence.  Be prepared to be confident. Put the practice in.

Why do I feel most women are not being heard at this time?

  •    Women talk in circles!  Okay, most women.  We have a hard time getting to the point, to say only what needs to be said with no wasted words.  Our message lacks impact unless it is completely concise and distilled down to bare bones.  No fluff.
  •    Women lack confidence when speaking about themselves.  We can deliver a decent information-based powerpoint presentation, but I’m talking about putting ourselves out there and forward – as leaders – communicating who we are and how we want to be known in the world, the impact we are looking to make and what we are ready for next.  
  •    Speaking is a sport that requires commitment, preparation and practice to be mastered.  You can’t expect to win the gold if you haven’t put in the time.  The same goes for speaking. Our delivery lacks lustre. Preparation breeds confidence.  Pitch, tone, pacing, expression, enunciation, volume. These winning components must be fully integrated and powHERfully delivered.

Connect the dots:

  •    IF our words become our destiny…..
  •    IF the Universe delivers what we are truly ready for……..
  •    IF the public declaration of what we are committed to and ready for speeds up the process……..
  •    IF preparation breeds confidence………
  •    IF a clear and concise distilled message delivers the greatest impact…….

Would it not make sense that the Sport of Speaking is the most important sport for women of our time – the game to master.  This is the conclusion I came to and why I set out to create SPEAK! Canada, dedicated to preparation and performance in the sport of speaking:

  • Observation:  Much like my preparation as a competitive athlete, I began to break apart all the components that I observed and was most attracted to in effective communicators.  How did I measure this? Who inspired me most to take action?
  • Preparation:  From there, I reviewed my end game, set my strategy and built a simple yet effective framework to help women progress from A to B with the Sport of Speaking.  Because we have spoken since the time we were young, we take its importance for granted. We assume we are effective at it and have forgotten how very powerful this sport is when well-played.
  • Practice:  The more intentional we are with our words, the more powerful our results.  Preparation breeds confidence, and that boils down to practice. Make no mistake, if you want to be an impactful speaker, if you are looking to create the life you most desire, you must master the sport of speaking.  It will serve you well.
  • Delivery:  Ah, game day.  What if I was to tell you this:  Every day is game day.  Bring it!  Crisp, concise, energetic, memorable, and actionable delivery!

It’s funny how we can get so fixated on a presentation or public speaking event when every single day presents us with the opportunity to solidly and steadily move forward.  I always say, “Magic happens at the periphery.”  That magic lies in our daily conversations and how we are speaking about ourselves as leaders and what we’re ready for next.

Speaking is one of the first things we learn to do as children because it is the most important thing we’ll ever learn.  Our words become our destiny. Mastering the Sport of Speaking is one of the most important things we can do as leaders, for ourselves, our communities and our country.

Sport of Speaking | Speak! CanadaTo learn more about our SPEAK! Canada program, please visit

More about Charlene.

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives.


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