I swear, for me, becoming a leader of my team of freelancers was like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded with my feet. I started my own company thinking I’d stick to graphic design, but after a year, one of my freelancers said, “Yo, take charge, or we’ll be stuck in limbo forever.” And I was like, “Me? A leader? Ha, that’s a good one.” But I soon realised I had to put on my big girl pants and become a project coordinator. Who needs an excuse when you’re already in too deep? Oh boy, talking to clients was always a hoot! Even though I was a hot mess of stress and anxiety, I still pretended like I had my life together. It was like playing a game of make-believe, except the stakes were real, and my paycheck was on the line. Good times!
Back in the day, I was more scared to speak up than a turtle in a room full of rabbits. But if I kept silencing myself, I might as well be a mime at a rock concert. Nobody would know the real me – the person I am today. In all seriousness, if you want to unlock the power of being a great leader, it all starts with embracing and cherishing who you are.
I had the pleasure of participating in today’s webinar delivered by Emma Jäntti, a renowned actress and hostess here in Finland. Emma shared her personal experiences with stage fright, offering insightful perspectives and practical solutions. Her uplifting and informative presentation provided a valuable resource for individuals facing similar obstacles. Her webinar got me inspired to write this blog post.
My words are not merely a recitation of facts but rather the culmination of my own journey towards becoming a leader and a coach. Each lesson I share is rooted in my personal experiences, and I am honoured to impart the wisdom gleaned from my growth process. Perhaps, my revelations ignite a spark within you, propelling you towards an odyssey of self-discovery and evolution as a remarkable leader.
I must confess, dear reader, that some of these traits may not par with the diamond standard of top-tier corporate leadership. One can’t help but wonder, what are the exact qualities that make a truly exceptional leader? Could it be their irresistible charm, a razor-sharp wit, or their vast array of experience? So, what it takes to lead a band? What comes first?
- You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. The phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is an apt metaphor for the importance of taking regular time for self-care. It is essential to remember that the most influential leaders, the ones who are equipped to make the world a better place, are the ones who are healthy and happy. Unless you’ve got a personal butler or a doting significant other, you’re on your own, buddy. So go ahead, treat yourself! Whether this means enjoying a cup of coffee, taking a long walk, meditation, practising yoga or some other activity, before you go all superhero and try to save the world, you must take care of yourself first.
“And when a leader embraces their responsibility to care for people instead of caring for numbers, then people will follow, solve problems and see to it that that leader’s vision comes to life the right way, a stable way and not the expedient way.”
- Lead with an open heart and curiosity. Have you ever heard of the longest journey you’ll ever take in life? Yup, I’m talking about the one from your head to your heart. It’s that never-ending road trip with no GPS, no snacks, and no bathroom breaks. Just you and your emotions, cruising through the ups and downs of life. But hey, at least there’s no traffic.
“You have the capability to correctly steer their respective ships in times of great turmoil—whether short storms, or choppy seas, because you lead with an open heart, embrace change and lean into the discomfort or surrender into knowing and trusting that the season of life shall pass.”
As individuals in positions of leadership, it is important that we maintain a sense of childlike innocence. By this, I do not refer to the literal sense of being guilty or innocent but rather the ability to approach situations with an open mind and an imaginative outlook. It is important that we cultivate a willingness to view problems from different perspectives and embrace unconventional or even seemingly irrational ideas. This approach can lead to innovation, creativity, and, ultimately, success. Therefore, it is fundamental for leaders to foster an environment that encourages the exploration of alternative solutions and the pursuit of nontraditional approaches.
- Expertise and experience come second. Effective leadership goes beyond mere expertise and experience; it involves a conscious choice to cultivate the qualities of a great leader. One must recognize that leadership is not merely a title but a responsibility to inspire and empower others to achieve their goals. To be a true leader is to earn the respect and trust of those around you and to foster an environment that inspires positivity and growth. In business, it is sometimes essential to make difficult choices, including letting go of individuals, in order to propel to keep the company alive. Making these kinds of decisions can be tough, but it’s easier to do when you lead with kindness and sincerity towards your employees. It’s important to have a good understanding of the necessary steps to take, and taking the time to connect with your team can help you make the right choices.
Overcoming stage fright
Experiencing stage fright is a common occurrence that everyone has encountered, including the most renowned performers who appear to exude confidence. As individuals, we often feel compelled to conform to societal norms and expectations, questioning what is considered appropriate or unacceptable. So who restricts you from unleashing your full potential? That’s right; it’s you. So how do we crush those jitters and free our inner show ponies? I know it may prove to be a challenging task.
Try to learn to embrace your inner child, for it is what makes you uniquely you. Your personality is a beautiful tapestry of quirks and traits that sets you apart from everyone else. Celebrate your individuality and let your light shine bright. Remember, the world needs your unique perspective and your one-of-a-kind spirit. So don’t be afraid to be yourself!
So, you’re feeling sweaty palms, racing heartbeats, and shaky knees before your big show, huh? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered with some expert tips to make it through without embarrassing yourself (too much). Check it out:
- The audience is not there to see you; you’re on the stage to see them.
- Are you familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? One of the fundamental needs of humans is the desire to feel accepted and have a sense of belonging. Are you afraid of being judged? Let me tell you something – everyone’s got their own opinions, and they’re as varied as a box of chocolates. So please don’t get your knickers in a twist about what others might think, ’cause their opinions are more about themselves than you. And hey, they can always go eat a pickle if they don’t like what you’re doing.
- To acquire a skill, one must approach it systematically and gradually, similar to how one would begin writing a book or training for a marathon. Starting with a blog or practising speeches through small presentations is recommended. It is unrealistic to expect to become a proficient keynote speaker overnight, and it is important to remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Remember, step by step!
- Listen to music. Music is like my personal hype squad for writing, giving presentations, and even running a solid 5k. Seriously, it’s like my own personal DJ pumping me up and making me feel like a total boss. It’s like music gets me, you know? It’s like, “Hey there, friend, you got this! You can do anything!” And I’m like, “Yeah, you’re right, music! Let’s do this!“
- To what extent have you explored your own thoughts and emotions? Well, the deeper you go, the deeper you can go with your fellow divers. So, grab your goggles and explore the wonderful world within you! Who knows, you might even discover some hidden treasures along the way.
- According to Marisa Peer, she is a well-known therapist and professional in personal development, how you think about yourself is super important. How you talk to yourself affects what you do and how you see yourself. If you’re all about positivity and believing in yourself, you can do better and be more successful. This applies to presenting, too.
- Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most confident of them all? Choose wisely. Surround yourself with those who lift you up and believe in your dreams. Seek out mentors who can guide you and learn from people of all ages and cultures. You’re not meant to walk this journey alone, so find your tribe.
- You won’t become a pro overnight, so don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. It happens to the best of us.
I’m just like you, on a journey to conquer my wildest dreams. That’s why I decided to start this blog, hoping to become an accomplished author one day. Don’t be afraid to open up and talk about your own aspirations, it’s totally cool to get deep with others. I’m still figuring out who I am, but I’ve already stumbled upon a few epic human mirrors that don’t make me look like a troll. I see life as a game of hide and seek where you have to find your true self before your squad can tag along.
Be kind and don’t go changing,
x Heidi & Lulu