Smart and Witty. Not Brilliant. But Brilliant Enough.
This summer, I conducted a few workshops on team communications at a startup in San Francisco. (Can you still call yourself a startup when you have grown exponentially with 200 employees?!) Aside from the amazing snack room which was bigger than my pantry (with floor to ceiling organic and delicious snacks), I was blown away by the diversity of the teams. Their thinking, their experience, and their nationalities.
I landed in San Francisco after a 40-hour pit stop in Denver, post-vacation. Although this was last minute planning, I was excited about the opportunity (and not just for the great San Francisco food!) I met my co-facilitator who was sporting a new Mantra Band that read “I am enough.” I have heard this so many times before. And yet it didn’t sink in until we were on the plane heading back to Denver that I realized I needed to have absorbed that phrase a few times over the last 3 days.
Full vulnerability: I traveled to San Francisco after 10 days of vacation with my family. I had not conducted this workshop in 7 months – although I have done it about many times before. I was jet lagging.
I got up in front of 40 millennial geniuses and stumbled on my words. I couldn’t remember common phrases. I know this content inside and out. I could have performed better.
And yet, my lizard brain took hold and didn’t completely release until two days later. Yes, I coach and train people about dealing with that inner critic in our heads, and yet I experienced it full-on in San Francisco. I knew the truth behind his comments (my inner critic is most definitely a male), and as I sat on the plane ride home the veil lifted on the BS of his comments.
Find the Truth in the Inner Critic. I knew I was not as prepared as I typically am. I have been told I over prepare. That’s what gives me confidence. I had practiced the workshop out loud (my dog always falls asleep) twice. I like the magic number of three times.
Find the Lies/BS. I offered great content. I trained the people to see themselves and their teammates in a more effective and productive manner. They left the conference room with tools and tips to communicate to be heard. They don’t know what I forgot to say.
Use your Sage Powers. As Shirzad Chamine describes in his book, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential, and How you can Achieve Yours. I needed to focus on my sage powers. For me, I needed to use my power of Innovating and Navigating:
Innovate – This power is used when the obvious or existing ideas don’t suffice. I need to think outside the box. Complete the sentence, Yes….and…
Yes, this is true you were not as prepared as you would have liked. And people raved about the workshop. (Still working on this And piece…)
Navigate – This power is used to find alignment with deeper values, purpose or meaning. Flash forward 6,12,18 or 5 years, retirement, deathbed, and look at the situation from to find different options.
What is the boldest path I can take? Say no to commitments to be at my best. I could have said no to going to the beach one morning to prepare as I normally do. Spend more time learning so this workshop comes to me even easier when I don’t have a vast amount of time to prepare.
I’ve taken myself off the hook. Being confident in how I deliver content in the front of the room matters more than if I forgot to tell my audience 5 of the 15 points I meant to. Stand tall, be sure of my strengths, I AM ENOUGH.
And I encourage all you over-prepares out there to do the same.