When did you first realize your talents? Deep breaths if you haven’t yet: discovering diamonds takes time.
In 4th grade, I swept Fur Elise off her feet in front of 200 strangers. My teacher sent me to all-expense paid music camp. I don’t reminisce about prom, but that week of American-food-my-mom-never-made was life changing. I burped hot dogs for a month.
In high school, my drugs of choice were slow-release pesticide capsules. It’s every nerd’s wet dream to finish first at the science finals. My parents prayed harder for Harvard.
13 years later, this BU grad and struggling pescetarian had to present for Teachers Teaching Teachers. Mouthful, much?
When imagining everyone’s naked doesn’t work, here are 6 steps that do.
Step 1 Talk To Yourself
Whether you’re preparing for an interview or TED talk, talking to yourself “relieves loneliness, helps you clarify your thoughts, and tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”
I tend to pace in my room while yelling AHA! at my world map. Practice what you’ll say while walking your dog or hugging your body pillow. Adding gestures give oomph! to your key points. Muscle memory will help if you freeze up.
Science agrees. Repeat after me: I’m not crazy. I’m GENIUS.
Step 2 Spin The Bottle and K.I.S.S
Remember that game spin the bottle and how quickly you learned braces suck?
“Rapid learning goes with play like pie goes with ice cream,” notes life coach Martha Beck. She’s rolling in 7 figure clients so best trust. Whether it’s a board meeting or a classroom, adding a well-placed joke goes miles. These 2 games transition well from day to night(adult beverages):
- To introduce multiple intelligences, I had 3 people come up. Each held a name card to their forehead and asked the audience Yes/No questions till they guessed correctly. Ex: Am I alive? Am I a woman? Do I have a unibrow? Frida!
- To emphasize Listening skills, I drew inspiration from body diversity she-ro Ashley Graham. 2 people to play. Person A asks rapid fire q’s. Person B answers. Test memory of Person A at the end. Excellent icebreaker.
Death to learning is boredom so K.I.S.S: Keep It Short and Sweet.
Step 3 What’s your AWESOMESAUCE?
Think of yourself as a barista making the special-of-the-day. How can you bring your unique approach, or awesomesauce, to your customers?
First, understand their needs. With sleep-deprived entrepreneurs, it’s all about the espresso. You’d serve mint tea to quell anxiety whereas spinners love anything green. For teachers, add wind surfing with Obama in the Maldives. Seriously. Though education is the backbone of society, we don’t get much credit. We’d like a Venti of purpose + positivity + a raise. Cue my Hunger Games monologue:
In penance for their uprising against Korean moms, each district shall offer up an educator. These honored individuals will be recorded as a warning to future employees about the dangers of PROCRASTINATION. Management will heavily edit any expletives they drop. Henceforth and forevermore this shall be known as 75th Annual Teacher Games.
Conclude with 3 finger salute and Katniss whistle. You know how I do, baby boo.
Step 4 I Am A Mistake Maker! P.O.P
Perfection is a disease of our nations. It sets people up to fail and fosters shame for anything less. I prefer P.O.P. or Progress Over Perfection. Try this exercise alone or with your peers to encourage learning from our mistakes. Answer the following:
- What is my mistake?
- Why did I make it?
- What actions have I taken to change?
- I am a mistake maker! Loud and proud!
Question #3 provides a moment for reflection. We may recognize our destructive behavior but do little to create healthier habits. Start somewhere. How about today?
Step 5 Make It Clap By Busta Rhymes
Do you clap for co-workers/students/strangers before or after they do a good job? Try both. Building support from the get-go is golden.
Even at small organizations, we’re either too busy to mingle or just don’t gel. That’s OK. It’s important to hold space for each other. Don’t hover. Learn to read body language.
While respecting boundaries, a true leader knows how to unite. I began with a hearty round of applause. I ended the presentation with compliments. We lined up single-file and paid it forward. Where some were awkward, others got teary. Given the chance, genuine outshines skepticism.
I took May 9 as an opportunity to say: we all get there together or we don’t get there at all. Coincidentally, Korea voted in a new president the same waking hours.
Step 6 Affirmations: I Can Handle It
When it comes to food, I am not beyond bribery. Had things gone south, I’d planned to go Forrest Gump and whip out a Costco-sized box of chocolates.
Naturally, I forgot the sugar at home. Freud would call this subconscious in action: my desire to excel eliminated the need for a back-up plan. Riiiiight.
To assuage any panic attacks, I turned to affirmations. These are daily life-savers for reaching a calmer state:
- I can handle it.
- I’ve got this.
- I am pure love.
The presentation went beautifully. My boss even said, “you’re extremely talented. I enjoyed that more than I could’ve imagined.”
The best part? I didn’t need his validation to know my self worth.