January 23, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight
Spotlight On: Dr. Shimi Kang, Award-Winning Harvard-Trained Physician
Boasting over 15 years of clinical experience and extensive training in the science that lies behind motivation and mental wellness, Dr. Shimi Kang–an award-winning Harvard-trained Physician–shows people of all ages how to cultivate the skills we need to flourish both professionally and personally. We’re delighted to feature her in today’s “Spotlight On”:
What inspired you to want to be a speaker?
My speaking career started because I passionately wanted to reduce the stigma of mental illness. I saw so many people suffering in silence because of shame and lack of awareness. There are so many harmful myths about mental illness that need to be dispelled, and speaking allows me to play a small part. It is ironic because I was extremely shy growing up and would rarely even speak in public! It just shows you what can happen when you believe in something beyond yourself.
Any advice for aspiring speakers?
Identify your audience’s WIFM (the What’s In It For Me)–that is why they are there. Preparation is important but practice is even more important. Speak whereever and whenever you can! Also, be genuine, humble, and don’t over-think your mistakes. People are inherently kind and generous and want to find a way to like you even if you are not a perfect speaker (and no one is…).
What do you like to leave audiences with?
I don’t want to tell people what to, I want to inspire them to act on what they already know. I want to leave my audience with a greater understanding and belief in their own intuition–that is the knowledge gifted to us by nature and it is the most powerful guide we have.
How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?
No time for rituals! A few deep, slow breaths before getting on stage always does wonders.
Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?
I try to create a memorable moment in each talk I give–when you scan the audience and see the faces of those you know you have connected with. Some of the best moments come after the talk, when audience members come up to the stage and share their personal stories.
Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?
So many! I have been raising three children while developing my speaking career (which means three pregnancies). One time I gave an entire lecture with a huge clump of jam in my hair!
Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?
I created the Youth, Culture, and Mental Health Fund as I believe the best way to positively influence a young person is to “meet them” where they are at, within their own cultural context. Youth are our collective future and we have to help the one in four young people who suffer from mental health illness.
If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?
It would definitely involve more speaking–perhaps a talk show host discussing important issues in our society or who wouldn’t want to be a rock star?!
Desert island album?
Snatam Kaur’s Celebrate Peace.
Best subject in school?
I was a math nerd but I loved creative writing.
Last book you read?
Working on Dan Brown’s Inferno–a real page turner!
Last film you saw?
I saw Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine on a plane. The topics of corporate greed, family dynamics, and bipolar disorder were all so vividly depicted.
Robert Downey Junior as Sherlock Holmes.