You probably have to speak about the unspeakable events in the coming days. In team meetings – even company meetings – you’ll be asked to say something, to help bring meaning to a very complex situation. The bright lights will be on.
I’m not going to tell you what to say. You’ll figure that out. You know tobe human. You know to show your strength by showing your gentleness. You know that, while words are important, it’s your heart that people want to experience.
That’s why it’s so important to do the off-the-spot work of managing yourself before you’re on the spot, before you speak.
You can turn this into a simple preparatory practice:
- Take a deep breath.
- Notice your emotional response to the moment and to the responsibility of speaking.
- Quickly trace those feelings to thestory you’re telling yourself. If that story is unhelpful, remind yourself that you’re here to serve. That your focus is on others, not yourself. That you’ll be imperfect, and that’s OK.
- Remember that your crew has your back, that they’re cheering you on as you do your part for the common good. See their smiling faces in your mind’s eye.
Then, speak. Listen. Serve. Connect. Act.
That’s what bright leaders can do when they’ve done the hard work before they speak.