Leadership is to know who you are, what you stand for, and have the ability to enable others to join you in your vision. It sounds simple, but it surprising how many leaders are not introspective and aware of their own values. Leadership requires self-esteem, not only to lead, but to let others challenge you, and lead the way, as well. One must need to have healthy self-esteem to accept challenges and criticism as opportunities to grow within the team. It requires vulnerability and courage in being able to share one’s experiences, as a leader, and to encourage others to learn from them, and be open to learning from others.
I facilitate workshops for educators and I teach high school and college level students. Public speaking is one of my favorite things to do! However, I feel tremendous stress in timed interviews or timed workshops, which I facilitate. I practice timing myself, while presenting a trial run, out loud. I am an auditory learner, so I usually record myself and then I play the recording over and over, until I have it memorized it like a poem or song. I find interruptions or questions from the audience very distracting and time consuming, but sometimes unavoidable, therefore I practice my presentations from multiple start and stop points. That way I don’t feel completely derailed when I am sidetracked. These techniques make me feel at ease.
Prior to a high stakes meeting, or talk, I try to do something completely different with my brain, like cleaning, or listening to music, or going for a walk. I try to play out the presentation or meeting and envision it going well. This helps me feel the excitement and relief; in a way, I trick my brain in feeling like it is over and now I am looking back on it and reflecting. This is called metacognition and, in a way, it engages me in a process of being grateful for having the opportunity to be part of something, rather than getting caught up in the anxiety around it.