“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel
People often say to me; I don’t know how you do it and I wish I could speak on stage. To me when I am on stage I feel like I am in heaven, as I love it so much. It hasn’t always been like this and took a lot of courage, practice and stuff up’s.
It was a long time ago and I can’t really remember the year however I remember it was the month of April and I had just arrived in Sydney to be a keynote speaker. It was one of my first gigs. Sh*t I was nervous. I remember thinking what am I doing here and am I crazy? Have you ever felt like this when you are about to do something that takes courage?
“People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.”- Rob Siltanen
I felt a mixture of excitement and fear where fear was definitely the most prevalent emotion. As Mark Twain once said
“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.”
So I introduced myself to the conference organisers and was ready to rock the stage. Then it happened. I asked them for my lapel, flipchart, and sound for the video. They all looked at me blankly and said what do you mean? I replied I emailed you last week to ask for these things. They didn’t get the email and I didn’t follow up. My face went white as they raced around Luna Park trying to find IT to help. It was too late as I was about to go on stage. My fear turned into flight mode and I wanted to run as far away as I could as I saw over 120 people coming into the room. What was I going to do? I felt like I couldn’t move, as my whole keynote and presentation needed these items.
It’s Not Whether You Get Knocked Down, It’s Whether You Get Up.” — Vince Lombardi
I stood there and said to everyone; thank you for coming to see me speak today and just so you know we are going to have so much fun as I have no lapel, flipchart or sound so let’s get this party started. Everyone burst out laughing and no-one left thank goodness.
I shared my story, talked about leadership, attitude and mindset and why. I discussed the research, gave them 3 key take-away’s, shared the stories behind the videos they couldn’t listen to and asked them to share their insights with each other. I got them moving around the room without my energising music, showed a few motivational quotes, asked them to think about how they can apply the learning’s and closed it off with a bang. And a bang it was. I got a standing ovation and so many people came up to me afterward and said we really felt for you however you nailed it. Now, this is a story of success and learning’s as I was determined to have a voice and make a difference. Believe me, there have been times where I have not nailed it. I don’t even remember those ones. I kept practicing, speaking and putting myself out there. I was determined to keep going and being the best keynote speaker I could be.
One of my favourite keynotes was my last one this year in front of 500 people who worked in schools and education at the Royal Convention Centre. The music was pumping, the stories and inspiration were empowering, the change and learning’s were transformational and there were so many tears and hugs – as well as lollipops. They left the room empowered as great leaders. This is my absolute why. Do I still get scared – SH*T yes! However, I know it is bravery and courage that changes the world. I put myself out there and told my real stories about my journey and my daughter and wanted them to rock it! They left the room feeling like they could do and conquer anything; they are all leaders in that room.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
When people say to me – I don’t know how you do it; I reply I say it would be remiss of me not too. This is my absolute passion and purpose and the world needs to hear more messages around Leadership, Compassion, Kindness and Gratitude – and how we all need to embrace who we are, love who we are, just rock it and help others rock it. I don’t stand there thinking to myself hey look at me, I stand on stage to share my message to say hey look at you and the world needs you and needs you to make a difference.
This is my why when I have the courage to act and speak on stage (or any type of media or channel to have a voice and share a message)
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ― John Quincy Adams
Don’t let fear stop you from being who you are meant to be. Don’t let the voices of others or the thoughts you tell yourself stop you from putting yourself out there and having a voice. It doesn’t have to be a stage or even a blog. It could be that today or tomorrow you decide to embrace your inner leader and self to be courageous. Find that inner light….
Marianne Williamson once said
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We only have one life and it must be lead with the courage to act.
You Got this…
Author – Sonia McDonald, Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach and CEO of LeadershipHQ
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ, and through this, she empowers people to discover their own innate talent and strengths.
Named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world, Sonia is shaking up the traditional view of leadership, and along the way she has uncovered some outstanding leadership talent which had previously gone unnoticed.
Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development, workplace diversity and the neuroscience of leadership.
Sonia has also coached people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential. She has helped hundreds of people build their brands, grow their leadership and business strategies, increase their confidence, build awareness, increase their business revenue, connect to the right people, build exceptional skills and achieve brilliant businesses and careers.
Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock IT! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia.