I heard a story last week that was a great illustration of what can occur when we fully step up into a moment. Those of you in the arts field may know this story.
This is excerpted from an article on ClassicalSinger.com by Gretchen Farrar
“Soprano Aprile Millo addressed the audience from the stage after performing her aria, apologizing that she was ill and unable to continue that evening. She was scheduled to sing in the triumphal march from Aida as the concert’s finale.
At that moment of crisis, an executive remembered that soprano Lisa Daltirus was in the audience, and after a quick conversation, Lisa was invited to take the stage in Ms. Millo’s absence. After catching her breath at the prospect, Lisa agreed.
As I sat in the audience, I was struck by how terrific Lisa looked on stage, considering she left home that evening planning to attend a concert, not perform in one. She was the epitome of dressing for success. In a stunning gold wrap top and black skirt, Lisa gracefully took her place alongside Kim Josephson, Salvatore Licitra, Elena Bocharova, and Christian Van Horn. When conductor Joseph Colaneri announced that Lisa had literally been plucked from the audience and asked to perform, there was a collective gasp.
There was a palpable sense of support in the hall as Lisa took command of her part, and before the final notes sounded, the audience was on its feet with thunderous applause. Lisa earned positive critical acclaim for her performance, and when asked a few months later if the evening had an effect on her career, she said, “people know who I am now.”
Now imagine yourself in a similar scenario in your professional life.
What would YOU do?
Would you step up and go for it, even though you hadn’t prepared for that performance? Or would you cite all the (practical) reasons why it wasn’t possible and resist or avoid the opportunity?
It’s human to feel resistance, frustration or fear in moments of stepping up into vulnerability. In fact, you may find yourself thinking things like:
- “Why didn’t they tell me they wanted this two weeks ago when we were mapping out the plan?! They don’t respect the time that goes into preparing.”
- “I don’t want to do this!”
- “I’m not going to do as good a job as xx would do. I’m not qualified.”
- “Now I’m going to have to cancel my family plans, skip exercising, etc.”
When feelings like this arise, it’s important to notice, observe and ask ourselves WHY.
I recommend taking a minute and gather some intel:
- What am I feeling, and why am I (really) feeling this way? Am I being triggered and re-acting out of fear of failing or lack of confidence?
- Does this tangible, visceral feeling in my body remind me of a time in the past when I felt that exact same physical feeling? What and when was that, and does it really have anything to do with the situation I am facing in the present?
- Do I encounter these situations frequently?
- Do these thoughts support me or undermine me on my journey and my goals?
- Who am I wanting to help and impact? If/WHEN I do step forward and take on the new action, with confidence and grace, will it be helpful to someone? Who? In what ways?
One of my very wise mentors told me – and I now have it posted on my screen: “When you feel resistance, it is a sign you are thinking more about yourself than the people you want to help/are meant to serve.” Yikes.
It’s a funny thing – the more I observe myself and my successful clients, I see evidence that the more we are clear on our purpose, and what’s possible when we show up as our imperfectly perfect selves – we are able to connect with those we are meant to connect with, and often find ourselves exactly where we need to BE.
This has certainly proven to be true in my own business.
My most effective video message – one where I connected with new contacts from around the country who turned into my ideal clients – was almost not posted.
I ran out of time as I was recording, and saw multiple mistakes (not in content, but in my delivery). I take my work very seriously, and the voices in my head were saying “it’s not professional enough.” Instead of pressing delete, I took a big breath and pressed post, because I knew that the message had the possibility of helping someone who needed to hear it.
I have been told over and over that it was those “mistakes” that translated as me being real and approachable. It made them feel connected and comfortable to set up a call with me.
So let me ask you…
Where can YOU step up today and show the world your potentially perfectly imperfect self? What can you say YES to, “even if” it puts you out of your comfort zone and you might “fail?”
The results and momentum you can create with this kind of leadership can be life and career changing.
To your success,