I was at a conference a few years ago. Mid-morning on the second day, a presenter walked onto the stage and asked us to close our eyes and imagine we were standing on the moon and looking down at the timeline of our lives.
I’m not great at visualization, but I could definitely see the line and the bright points of success and joy…as well as the dark spots of fear and failure.
The presenter was Victoria Labalme and she went on to talk about presentation skills and the confidence that comes from speaking from who we are rather than focusing on just the material.
For me, that years ago session was transformative. During the next break I hurried to the back of the ballroom and signed up for Victoria’s Rock the Room® training.
Since taking that course, I’ve had incredible success with executive presentations, kick-off meetings, and team updates. Her lessons helped me understand how to plan and run each meeting so they are not just an exchange of data, but so worthwhile that attendees have spontaneously applauded at the end, and sent me apologetic notes if they need to miss a meeting.
This morning I clicked open one of my favorite Sunday morning video posts from Jeff Walker and – bonus! – he was interviewing Victoria about a new book she has coming out called Risk Forward.
Listening to them talk about the premise of the book made me wonder: what if I hadn’t taken that risk to sign up for her course? What if I held back with my usual “wait and see” attitude? What if I hadn’t stepped up and gone to the conference in the first place?
It’s so easy these days to sit in our homes and not push ourselves – not risk criticism, overwhelm, or disappointment. We have a nice & safe, aesthetic distance between us and our teams (aka Zoom, Teams, and WebEx). So while the world feels “paused” we may be putting our growth on hold, too.
Are we still thinking forward to the next 5 years – the next 2 years – 1 year – to the end of the project?
The reality is, when we stop moving and growing, everything else around us stagnates, too. And that includes our projects and our teams.
Humans are social creatures – yes, even the introverts among us. This past year has been a challenge in many ways. It’s tough to feel that connection when you can’t be in the same room without blocking half your face. Many of us are now permanently “work from home”, cutting off impromptu conversations at the coffee machine or grabbing a minute of someone’s time to ask a question after a meeting.
We must be more mindful than ever of our own inertia. And take extra steps to make sure we’re intentional in our growth.
This past year may have tossed our plans and dreams out the window. But that shouldn’t stop us from making new plans and having new dreams.
I am working hard to find new ways to grow and evolve. I’m setting new goals. I have new dreams. Will something else happen to knock them over? Possibly. Will I have days where I’m glad I can hide behind a computer screen? Yup. But if I don’t keep moving towards those goals and dreams, I’ll never achieve them, will I?
I hope you’ll join me in risking forward – hey, if you fall…it will still be forward, right?