I knew my speech inside out, we'd had two formal rehearsals that week but still this crushing fear took over. This was different in that I couldn’t do the fight, flight or freeze - our normal responses when we feel unsafe. I had to consciously work my way through it. I've presented to CEOs and board members, run group workshops and stood up and given a speech, a month or so ago, to 150 student at ENAC (National School of Civil Aviation) - and never a problem. Why now was I having this reaction?
The backstage assistants, both a decade or two younger than myself, encouraged me to ‘breathe’ – a technique I use with my clients! I have to say they were both marvellous.
Then it was my turn to go on stage – stand on the small circular red carpet, face the audience, the lights beaming down, be filmed - and the scary part - remember my speech. I could feel my left leg shaking so I did the ‘warrior stance’ to steady myself. I could hear my voice quivering however I did it, well most of it. I am proud that I faced my fear.
I am not a ROBOT… by Irena-Marie Makowska
It was a place where I also learnt about people – hope and despair, compassion and loss, vulnerability and prejudice. Most of all I understood what it felt to be really present in the moment. I learnt about me.
What will we do when robots have taken our jobs? Because it’s inevitable on a pretty large scale. Work gives our life meaning. Work is our key drivers of well-being, social status, relationships, identity, financial security, daily structure and goals… I know for myself, my work is a fundamental part of who I am.
Deloitte University, a renown leadership centre in the US, carried out a survey with 800 top business executives. 67% believed that technology will drive greater value than human capital – I get that - however 64% believed people are a cost NOT a driver of value. Now can you imagine going to work and interacting with robots and artificial intelligence? How your body language would change over time. Who will you moan to about the boss, or laugh with and share human moments?
We are not ROBOTS – we breathe, we feel, we dream. The more we humanise robots – the more we dehumanise society and ourselves.
We need to go back to basics of what it means to be human and from there we can discover our full potential, what makes us thrive. If we do not understand our passions, our weaknesses, we will not be able to maintain our mental, emotional and physical well-being because we won’t know who we are.
Now more than ever we need these skills in life, in schools, in businesses. Things like creativity, imagination, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, emotional intelligence – how we connect and emphasise with one another, how we interact, our goals and values, resilience, self knowledge and self acceptance… who we are.
My imagination and intuition keeps me focused and client centred, skills I need for my work. It’s me acknowledging who I am – all the good bits and the not so good bits.
So how do we know if we’re self aware of ourselves and emotionally aware of others? It’s when we stand up to bullies to protect someone else because we feel their pain; it’s when we recognise that being perfect is impossible because we’re human, gloriously human. It’s when we can lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by – without needing our mobile or some app to help us meditate.
Working as a mind management coach I see anxiety and depression increasing, I see young kids, teenagers, executives in their 50’s battling each day because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn about themselves, to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to not fear when things go wrong.
By being free thinkers, being true to ourselves and vulnerable, by being connected – this is what makes us human – we are not robots”