Leadership Presence Part 2

Leadership Presence cont.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein

What holds you back from showing others your true value? As a child growing up and through my young adulthood, I shied away from showing my true worth. The reason – I stuttered. I wouldn’t raise my hand in school to answer a question, nor would I participate in any outside school activities. My world of friends was small. Then, it happened. My senior English Literature teacher in high school announced our first day that 75% of our grade was going to be based on class participation.  I panicked. Can you imagine the questions bombarding my mind? I felt paralyzed with fear. Every day, I dreaded walking into that class. The choice was always there; which road do I take? I decided to take the road I traveled least; feel the fear and raise my hand despite how I felt others would perceive me.

I got an A in the class in spite of my stuttering. I learned how to work around it. The syllables and words that did not easily roll off my tongue; I substituted for others. Years had passed, and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) just came into law. I was an HR professional at the time and just completed working on our organization’s ADA policy and procedures. My boss, who at the time was President of the Photo Marketing Association, asked me to deliver a presentation for the Photo Marketing Association’s school division on the ADA at its’ yearly convention in Las Vegas. I dared say no.

The day came for the presentation. I took a deep breath and addressed the audience with nervousness.

“Welcome to today’s presentation on the ADA.” I paused. “I have a disability; I stutter.”

The audience just looked at me with no comment. Saying it out loud and owning it, gave me courage. A feeling of acceptance swept over me and I continued. Susan Jeffers, in her book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” writes, “…Visualize what all positive things can happen if you face your fear and take small risks.” I’m grateful that my boss saw my potential.

Once I focused less on my stuttering and more on my potential, I grew in self-confidence and increased my value.

Today, I coach managers toward their potential. I see them as whole people, body, mind, heart and spirit. Through the development of leadership presence, we grow others to be who they are meant to be. Leadership is not a position. It is seeing the capability for leadership in others. After all, isn’t this what leaders are supposed to do?

Contact me at sls@gracious-space.com for more information on coaching managers toward leadership.

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