Nonprofit Leadership: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Today I am headed to Tampa for a three day program my business coach provides called Performance Academy. A group of us meets to workshop, rehearse and film a keynote speech and interview, and take some headshots.

I am terrified.

Why? This is my third year, after all, and I will be with people who love and support me, with time to prep and rehearse. I love speaking to groups. Why in the world am I terrified?

Well, because this group calls me into the bigger and better version of myself, challenging me to do hone my message, perfect my craft and perform at a higher level. And anytime I step into a new version of myself, it is scary.

When you operate at a higher level, allow yourself to explore your fears, uncover blindspots and show up in a new way, it is scary. And incredible. I know at the end of this experience, I will look back and be so grateful for it.

It is scary because your brain says, “GIRL, STOP IT!” My monkey mind wants me to not take risks and amps up the dialogue.

You will look bad on camera.

Your speech won’t go over.

You won’t say the right thing.

Anytime you wander into new territory, the monkey mind rises up and fills your head with messages. That is why it is important for me to have a coach and a squad of people to support me. We are there for each other and understand it is scary for all of us.

It is easy to get complacent, to hit the personal cruise control and ride it out. And yet, I have found that the more I get comfortable with being uncomfortable, with continually pushing myself to get, be and do better, the more focused and calm I feel. I am better able to handle the chaos of these times. The more uncomfortable I make myself, the more comfortable I become with who I am and more focused on the change I want to make in this world.

I have seen the same in the more than 80 people who have participated in my Up Level Your Influence course. They get comfortable with being uncomfortable and start showing up in bigger and better ways. Relationships with board members, donors and staff improve. They get results. They get what they ask for, the first time they ask.

My greatest joy is leading them to this new version, and giving them a squad of people, the other class participants, to support them. Because when it gets scary, we are there.

When this happens, it feels like magic.

I will make some magic this weekend in Tampa, and I witness the magic being made each time I deliver the course.

If you are feeling burned out, stressed out or bummed out, If you feel a bit stuck in your career, or your donor relationships or your board leadership, then let’s get uncomfortable. Let’s find that next version of you that will show up and get more done with less effort and stress. I will be there to guide you and the other participants will be there to support and encourage you. Schedule an Influence Audit with me to see what your next best version is, and make a plan to get you there.

Maryanne is founder and CEO of Courageous Communication. She works with nonprofits to grow their influence and leadership so they can be more productive, powerful & persuasive and stop feeling rejected, ineffective or pushy. She is author of Courageous Communication: how codependence is making your nonprofit brand boring and what to do about it and creator of Up Level Your Influence training for individuals and organizations. She is leading a movement to change “nonprofit” to “human investment company” to accurately reflect the contributions of the sector. She’s known for her love of ultrahigh heels, extra-large Diet Cokes, and short karaoke rotations. If you want to learn how to build your influence and leadership, connect with Maryanne for speaking or training.