5 lessons learnt from my recent trip to the USA…
Recently I travelled to the USA to present at the PLAE summit in Nashville Tennessee after being invited by my good friend Ron McKeefery.
What a place Nashville is by the way, with live music blasting out from 10am to 4am every day you can’t help but be excited by the vibe there.
With every new experience comes new learnings (if we choose to take them). So with that in mind I thought I would share some insights covering public speaking, culture, diet and more, taken from this trip.
1. Performance Anxiety. There are two types of preparation nerves that we need to manage. The first is when you are further out from the event and you don’t have a clear idea of what you’ll be covering but you know you need to perform and make an impact. This creates uncertainty and that brings anxiety. My advice- get a skeleton of your presentation laid out as soon as you can and then put the detail in later.
The second type of nerves come from the actual event itself. Some strategies for coping that work for me include:
– Talking to as many people as possible to engage, find stories to share, relax you and get used to communicating in their language.
– Focusing on your opening few lines. Once you know those you will settle into the talk nicely.
– Rehearse and have confidence in your slides. This happens before the vent but it gives you comfort on the day of the event.
2. Strength and Conditioning Programmes. The USA are really investing in sports science, S&C and physical preparation at all levels. The event was held in a high school. The gym was bigger and better equipped than 90% of elite sporting environments in the UK and Europe (take a look at the photos below). Of course space is an issue here in the UK but if we want to build athletes we need to set the culture and the standards. Creating the right environment is a big part of this and committing to providing the space to train is a big part of environment that delivers a message to the coaches and the athletes.
3. Everyone has their own struggles, let’s not suffer in silence! In my presentation I shared my story about suffering from depression as a teenager and how I have to manage it everyday even 16 years later. After my talk I had a few people approach me to say that they really needed to hear my message and they were going through some stuff of their own at the moment. Every time I talk about this stuff more people tell me they are suffering. The truth is we all have struggles, talking is critical and sharing really does help. Share your story, share your struggles and you will find you quickly have great people to work with around you.
4. You can still get fat eating clean! My wife and I tried to eat clean whilst we were out there and largely succeeded with the exception of some of nashvilles finest BBQ food! When I jumped on the scales back in the UK I had put on around 2kg and this is also sticking to my 5 sessions of training per week whilst out there too. It’s the quantity that dictates your weight gain not the quality. The quality dictates your health. Yes they are linked but that is the hierarchy to pay attention to.
5.) The master mind trumps all, (no this is not a pun on the US president…One of the unique points of Ron’s events is that the audience come together to share experiences in a structured session before lunch. This is powerful in many ways as it helps to normalise the issues people are facing in their business and careers.
It also helps to build relationships that will last a long time. Ron and I spent half a day talking through our business plans together a few days later. Again the power of collective vision and thought is huge. Who can you work with that is a good compliment to you and will help you to build your vision?
I love travelling and hopefully I’ll have more opportunities in the coming years. These are simple musings, I hope they help you with your thoughts. Please do let me know your feedback by leaving a comment below or on social media. I’m @brendanchaplin on most of the usual platforms.
Thanks for reading, my best to you as always,