Insights: Walking the Talk
by Jason Daily, Instructor and Speech-Language Pathologist
This past week, I was asked to participate in a pilot for a program that will be conducted by one of my colleagues, a fellow instructor, overseas in the coming months. This was much different than sitting in and observing as a peer. I was one of the clients, experiencing the program for the first time with the others. My speaking style was evaluated, I received intensive coaching and I was asked to try on many new and risky, uncomfortable behaviors – in front of 12 other people. I was able to experience again what many of our clients experience during their workshops. During the two days, I sat in a much different chair than I’m accustomed to…and it was a humbling, yet satisfying experience. A few of my reflections from the two days:
- It’s important to walk the talk and lead by example. At Speakeasy, our goal is to create a non-judgmental environment where people can explore becoming the best communicators and people in all that they do. This journey should not and cannot stop just because you are the “expert”. To do my job and do it well, my journey has to continue. Tiger Woods still has someone coach him on his swing. Lebron James spends more time in practice than in actual games. I continued learning more about myself through coaching from my colleague and feedback from my peers. I observed some of my blind spots, reaffirmed my strengths and tried on some new behaviors.
- It takes courage to be vulnerable and to put yourself up for evaluation by others. I was reminded of those surges of adrenaline and last-minute-running-the-content-through-your-head moments that many of our clients experience before they have to stand up and be coached over a live taping…over the course of multiple days. It was great to walk a mile in their shoes again.
- Within that vulnerability, our stress response is real…and valid…and manageable. The key is learning how to deal with that stress, not just in communication situations, but in life. Man, oh man, so applicable to many more situations than communication. I have a friend who says that vulnerability breeds vulnerability. I have seen this in action. The quicker you are to open yourself up to others, they will reciprocate. Try it with a compliment or an apology with someone today. Be the first one to say something. Seriously.
- Beyond our comfort zone lays the opportunities for growth and development. It’s true. There are so many clichés that cover this idea, but humility and discomfort are catalysts for change. Don’t numb yourself to discomfort and don’t deceive yourself by thinking that you’ve got life, business, relationships, etc, etc. all figured out. That’s just arrogant and foolish. And unattractive.
- I have a great job and awesome colleagues. I love helping my clients explore more about themselves and arrive at some pretty amazing realizations during our workshops. I also like that there is a built-in accountability in this job. I’m coaching others to be their best, to take risks, to be honest with themselves and be real in all that they do. To put all of this under examination in my own life is a must…not just because I’m a Speakeasy instructor and this is what I do. Rather, it’s because I’m on my own journey and staying grounded is critical in being honest about my own self-perceptions. It seemed like my other colleagues in the program this week were just as committed to the journey as I am. And that, my friends, tells me that I’m in the midst of others who believe in our company’s mission.
The journey of life is a golden opportunity for all of us. Don’t delay, friends.