When I was 29, I had a harrowing experience shortly after starting in my first executive-level position. I was working many long hours on complex but exciting projects, and had just finished leading a series of small group meetings in preparation for writing the next year’s corporate strategic plan. My boss had been on vacation for the past week and returned just in time for the annual company-wide meeting.
As we drove to the meeting, he turned to me and said, “Oh Monica, I was planning on having you talk briefly about the strategic planning process, if you don’t mind.”
My worst nightmare had come true. I was expected to speak on stage, alone, in front of more than 200 people with no time to prepare. I had taken a college speech class and was on the debate team in high school, but I had never presented in front of a large audience. Needless to say, I panicked.