You Got This! Stop Coasting: My Experience as a Speaker Coach at TEDxDonMills

I call it “coasting” when someone lives in their comfort zone. It might be okay temporarily for well-being, but not a constant state. In society, if we continue to coast and not push ourselves, we will be leaving a real mess for future generations.

At Impact, we work with leaders who do not coast as they grow their businesses, transition into new roles, build and develop teams, and solve challenges. Our job, as coaches, is to challenge and support them in finding ways to expand outside of their comfort zones so that they get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and tell them “You got this”. It isn’t usually a complicated action plan. It is about doing something they have never done before, sometimes outside of their day job. It can be scary, thrilling, enlightening, and at the best times, all the above.

I recently did not coast as I agreed to be a speaker coach for TEDxDonMills. In my work, I help leaders prepare for important presentations, speeches and partner panel interviews. I speak myself, and absolutely love TEDx Talks. So, I said, “I got this”.

I had a front row seat to my two phenomenal women speakers, Farah Nasser (Global TV Anchor) and Caroline Riseboro (CEO of Plan International) expand their own comfort zones. Picture the first workshop: every speaker had to give a 1-minute synopsis on stage of their talk, no practice. They hadn’t even written their talks yet. Some of them were just notions. They stood on stage, imagined the red circle, and delivered. It wasn’t easy, but they did it. Then, it was my turn! As coaches, we were given a word and asked to come up with a talk on the fly so we could experience it as well. My word was “hope”, and I have no idea what I said. Uncomfortable, but I could do it again.

All 12 speakers are leaders, but to take their ideas, distill them, be engaging, and deliver with a call to action in 12-15 minutes on a global stage is a completely different level. Not coasting! Will they do it again? Who knows, but they took something from it. “You got this” was said numerous times during the journey. And they rocked it!

A TEDx Talk, while fun, may not be your thing, but examples of not coasting are the following:

• Mentor a young woman or newcomer to be successful
• Volunteer in your community doing something not related to your day job
• Ask someone from the younger generation to mentor you
• Be the only male on a panel of females talking about gender equality
• Shake off apathy and raise your hand to help solve problems in your business or community
• Go for lunch with someone that you may not agree with and find a common ground
• Ask for feedback; be open; action it; hire a coach
• Write an article; post it; be vulnerable

And if you are coasting and afraid to try something new, “Just do it afraid” – quote by Caroline Riseboro’s mom and I will add to it, “You got this!”.

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