Taking risk

Today I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something I had not done before.

I was asked by our Mn/DOT commissioner Tom Sorel to co-facilitate with him a book discussion with in-house and remote audience.

Now I have been working on the Commissioner’s Reading Corner  project for a while and was really looking forward to this kick-off of the monthly book discussions today. But to facilitate a discussion and speak in front of the public was not something I felt comfortable with. While writing is easy for me, the thought of speaking English (which is not my native language) in front of people made me a little nervous. I was afraid of making mistakes.

But then I decided to take one of the advices from the first book to be discussed today, which is to take the risk, take the opportunity and give it a try. I told myself, if I make foolish mistakes or make a fool of myself, so what? This is April Fool’s Day. I have an excuse.

Once I took on the challenge, I went right to work. I didn’t have much time to prepare.

I quickly wrote down the things I wanted to say as an introduction. And I reviewed the book again and made notes and comments to share at the book discussion.

With my notes in hand, I felt more confident to face the unknown.

The one-hour discussion turned out to be great. In fact I was not nervous as I expected. I think Commissioner Sorel is so fun and easygoing that he can put people at ease. The feedback I got has been very positive and encouraging.

In case you are wondering, why Mn/DOT has this Commissioner’s Reading Corner Book of the Month discussions and what the purpose is, here is the reason.

Leadership is one of the strategic directions in Mn/DOT strategic vision. Under leadership it says “Empower all employees to be leaders and ambassadors for MnDOT.” Our Commissioner’s Reading Corner Book of the Month discussions offer an opportunity to collectively engage employees in developing leadership skills.

In my 2/24 post, I already shared Commissioner Sorel’s comments on the first book in the series Letters from leaders: Personal Advice for Tomorrow’s Leaders from the World’s Most Influential People by Henry Dormann. Tomorrow I will share a few comments I have.