These two words were written on a piece of paper to one of my Emerging Leaders as I took notes on their group practice time for their capstone presentation the next day.
She was nervous. I could see her lizard brain on full display because it was actually speaking on her behalf to us. “Oh I am sorry.” “Oops did I forget that part?” “I don’t remember this,” and with nervous laughter, “I hope I’m not this bad tomorrow!”
This capstone project is jam packed with a lineup of groups waiting their turn to practice with me so I don’t get to give a lot of verbal notes. I write my notes. I wrote to her “Trust Yourself” and nothing else.
Just two words.
The next day in their final rehearsal she was better, but still struggling. Then came their turn to present. She stood up and commanded the room. I was beaming with pride like a mom on an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras from the back row. She was on, and she knew it.
Being “on” for her is not loud or gregarious. She has a quiet but commanding presence.
Later when our panel of judges gave comments, one of them turned full round to find her in the audience. He pointed straight at her. I winced. What was coming?
“You,” he said. “What’s your name?”
She answered him.
“I could listen to you all day. You are an amazing speaker.”
Waterworks. Her. Me. Her. Me.
We were both crying because we knew how hard this had been for her. Her group was swimming in pride for their group member that they were so worried about. The support and encouragement they had given her supported “Trust Yourself.”
Afterward, she came to me and we smiled and laughed and shed a few more tears together because she had faced her fear and not only lived through it, but she excelled.
It was our last time together as a group. They graduated later that day and would go back to their lives. Our paths may or may not cross again. But I got witness someone who transformed because she was willing to show up, be uncomfortable, and do the work.
That’s pretty stinkin’ cool.
What moments have defined your and your professional breakthroughs? What did you learn about yourself? Share your ideas with me!