Tag Archive: courage


Lead by Example

I recently experienced what it means to lead by example in a powerful way.  Two leaders and I were in front of a group of 90 international students explaining small group Bible studies.  The situation was set up in such a way that we were asking the people in the audience to volunteer to join.  We explained the ideas behind Bible study, and told them where on campus each group would be meeting.  Then we called for anyone who lived in a certain part of town to please stand up and go with a leader….

Silence.  Motionless.  Blank stares.

I probably started showing signs of uneasiness and started sweating and my face turned red.   I seriously began to question what we were doing, why wouldn’t anyone get up?  Worry, frustration, doubt, until a single girl meekly rose out of her chair and half raised her hand.  “I would like to join”, she managed to say.  Not three seconds later five other hands shot into the air.  All it took was one person to break the ice.  She had blazed the trail for other people to follow and made it OK to volunteer.  The ensuing meetings saw record numbers signing up for Bible studies because one person was brave enough to say, “I will go.”

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Another popular story crafted by Fran Kick which teaches about leading by example goes like this:

The best definition of leadership I can share is by way of an example. At a leadership conference before it began, one person saw that the room was kind of a mess. There were papers on the floor, a Coke® can in the corner, and other miscellaneous remnants indicating that an entire day of classes had occurred in this lecture hall. Before we started the session, one person got up out of his chair, picked up a piece of paper and the Coke® can, threw them out and sat back down. Not less than maybe 30-60 seconds later, two other people got up, went around and picked up trash near their chairs, threw it out and sat back down. That first person was leading by the most effective form of leadership possible, leading by example.

For the rest of the story click here!

As leaders we wield an immense power with the example that we set.  Take a moment and think about each of your leadership roles and how people perceive you.  What example are you setting?

Have you experienced an example of someone leading by example?  Share in the comments below!

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Glossophobia? (Part 4)

Throughout my years in school, I have experienced numerous interesting anxiety/stage fright stories. Looking back to my junior year in high school, I was chosen to be a drum major for the band. A drum major, in a nut shell, is responsible for conducting the band during performances. One day during rehearsal, my band director had to leave class for a few minutes and asked me to conduct the Star Spangled Banner. This was my time to shine. For my first time conducting the band, I wanted to make a spectacular first impression. As I made my way toward the podium, I could feel my heart beat begin to thump in my chest. The butterflies were taking flight in my stomach as I stepped up to the wooden podium. My arms felt like they weighed 50lbs each as I lifted them up to start the song.  During these few moments, I was experiencing the phenomenon known as “stage fright” or anxiety.

Merriam Webster defines anxiety as, “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” See, the definition of anxiety is anxiety’s problem. Our mind becomes uneasy because it senses an impending or anticipated ill. The fact is, that impending or anticipated ill has the potential to be an AMAZING experience. The problem is that our brain tends to seek out the worst possibilities that could happen, which in return cause us to feel apprehension. While in my communications class over the summer, my professor explained to us the process of stage fright and how we can cope with stage fright. I listed his advice below:

The process of stage fright:

  1. It starts with a mental thought known as fight VS flight.
  2. Adrenaline is pumped into the blood stream.
  3. Our heart rate increases and then because of that, we need more oxygen so our respirations increases.
  4. Digestive system is suspended so that…our blood concentrates in the large muscles in arms and legs. Our arms and legs may shake and we may feel butterflies in our stomach.
  5. Finally, our temperature increases so we may sweat a bit as well as feel cold, sweaty palms.

How do we cope with stage fright?

  1. Self-fulfilling prophecy (Positive Thinking) – If the mind can make you feel anxious, it also has the ability to put our thoughts and bodies at ease.
  2. Animate arms and legs. This encourages blood flow throughout the body.
  3. Great posture (chest out, shoulders back, chin up). Be confident in yourself.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! “Winners practice until they get it right; champions practice until they cannot get it wrong.” – Anonymous

In the end, the most important piece of advice for you to overcome glossophobia is to have courage in yourself. Believe in yourself! As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or
think you can’t – you are right.” I always say, you are what you think, and if your mind can cause you to feel uneasy about public speaking, it can also give you the confidence to prevail
over glossophobia. To wrap up my Glossophobia Series, I want to leave you with a Simple Truth’s video about courage entitled, “Courage doesn’t always roar.”

LINK: http://www.movieofcourage.com/

In the comments below, share a story or experience where you had to find the courage to overcome a fear such as public speaking or stage fright.

<< Glossophobia? (Part 3)

Expression – The Reversal

In an essay in her book, Sister Outsider, poet and activist Audre Lorde pondered the question of expression and entitlement shortly after she learned she had breast cancer:

I have come to believe. . . . that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. . . .

In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. . . . I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself.  My silences had not protected me.  Your silence will not protect you. . . .

We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired.  For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.

Taken from the book Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen.