• Bonita Nuttall

The Biggest Mistakes Diminishing Leaders' Impact - Intro & Part 1

Updated: Sep 3



Over the next few days I'm going to be sharing a 3-part series on the biggest mistakes leaders are making that's diminishing their impact when they present and in how they lead!


I'm going to share some valuable insights and research about what's preventing leaders from nailing their presentations, and diminishing their impact.


You'll walk away with a fresh take on:

  1. A critical distinction that's keeping leaders floundering in self-doubt, insecurity and even self-loathing.

  2. The 3 top reasons why most leaders don't develop confidence and become influential presenters.

  3. How to shift it, keep it, and never lose it again.


Let's get started!

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How to Stop Doubting and Start Backing Ourselves!


Part 1 of 3:


I'd like to tell you a story I've never told before.

I didn't actually study journalism, I studied acting, directing and playwriting. So when I was 27, and fell into doing investigative journalism in South Africa on our flagship current affairs programme, I was thrown into the deep end.


Now I don't mind a good deep end throw from time to time, but it was tough, and I was learning on the fly, with very little support or training.


The problem was, I was constantly measuring my value and worth against how well each story was received, by what the team said about it at our weekly round table meetings, how I looked on camera, how good of a job I thought I did with the voice over, how I walked on camera (especially on a beach, fully clothed of course, but super clumsy!), or how much praise and affirmation I received from my colleagues.


I was consistently valuing or devaluing myself based on these external factors and causing myself so much stress and even anxiety about presenting.

When we nailed a headline story, I felt great about myself, and when our story was just ok, I felt crappy about myself - with the usual suspects of "I'm not good enough" and "others are better at this than I am", poking their heads out.

Even though I was learning, I lacked some specific journalism skills and knowledge and I'd never done it before so everything was new to me and a little clunky.

What I didn't realise was that as my feelings of feeling great or crappy about myself changed, so was my mood. I started losing the desire to be a journalist, to achieve my goals and reached a point of thinking I was just never going to get it, and thought of quitting a few times.


In fact, I did at one point. I left for a few months after being locked up on a story in a foreign country. But that's another story for another time. Eventually, I went back but it's taken me many years to figure out what actually happened to cause me to doubt myself, to lose hope and faith in my abilities, for me to see myself consistently as less than the other presenters.

In 2012, I started my Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuro Semantics training, and I remember many a light bulb switching on! I began to realise that all along, I was actually confusing self-confidence, with self-esteem.


As my self-confidence was wavering, my self-esteem was waning.

My first step was to realise that

I was connecting my self-esteem to what I DO and that was causing me pain and suffering.

Then, I needed to find a way to disconnect my self-esteem from what I do, and from my list of expectations, conditions and self-imposed unrealistic standards. Later, I would need to also address the matter of self-confidence.


But first, self-esteem.

In my experience, it's one of the biggest problems facing many leaders today, as we live in this dog-eat-dog world where achievement and DOING is king, and is oftentimes the ruler for measuring our value.

Ultimately, it's diminishing people's impact astronomically.


As an example, when we deliver presentations that go well then, we're generally feeling on top of the world, right? But when we make mistakes, or our pressos don't go according to plan, it's easy feel terrible about ourselves.

It's one of the biggest reasons why people fear and avoid public speaking like the plague.


We've been linking what we DO to who we BE.

It's also why self-doubt, insecurity and even self-loathing continue to plague leaders and people in general today.


Most of my public speaking clients come to work with me because they want to increase their confidence when they present. But what they may not always realise is what they need to do:

  1. Distinguish between self-confidence and self-esteem

  2. Disconnect their value from their actions (and presentation outcomes)

  3. And finally, take very specific actions to increase their self-confidence (which I'll address in article 2)

So what is self-esteem, and how do we get it?

For me, self-esteem is like the moon, it waxes in the light and wanes in the dark.



Or does it?


Of course it doesn't. The moon is the moon is the moon, we know that only its position changes, determining the amount of light that it reflects back to us. It's all about perspective.

The moon is pretty valuable to us as humans. According to NASA, "The brightest and largest object in our night sky, the Moon makes Earth a more liveable planet by moderating our home planet's wobble on its axis, leading to a relatively stable climate. It also causes tides, creating a rhythm that has guided humans for thousands of years."


Its intrinsic value doesn't change depending on how much or little light touches it. It simply is valuable - all the time. The same applies to us as human beings.





However, when things are going great, and we're basking in the light of our lives, for most of us, self-esteem flies through the roof. But in the tougher, darker times, we become a sliver of ourselves.

Most people view our sense of intrinsic value, and worth as waxing and waning, depending on what we do, how attractive we are, what we've achieved, the money we have, how skinny we are, how intelligent we are etc.


Our thoughts and perspective we choose about our intrinsic value, causes our level of self-esteem to wax and wane in direct correlation to how esteem-able we think we are at any given point in time.

But here's the thing, who we are in our essence is invaluable, and our worth as human beings is immeasurable no matter what.


Just because you exist as a human being - you are infinitely valuable.

This never changes, and nothing could every make you more or less valuable. Nothing. Period.

Self-esteem is the value or worth we hold as true about ourselves. It is unconditional.

When it comes to how we present ourselves in life, or deliver presentations, the greatest challenge some of us need to overcome is in not hinging our self-worth and value on whether we make mistakes or not, whether we deliver great presentations, whether we're good leaders, parents, friends, or on anything else.

As self-esteem goes down, it either drags self-confidence with it, or converts it into icky arrogance that's worn as armour to hide the truth about how we really feel about ourselves.

It starts with recognising that if our value never, ever changes, the only thing that does is our self-confidence, and both are completely within our control to change and manage. That is the essence of, and power of self-leadership.


How do we get self-esteem?


It's not something we 'get'. It's something we already are. We need to stop de-valuing ourselves. Awareness is everything, and instead, we can start connecting to our intrinsic value by consciously choosing to shift our perspective about from what we DO to who we BE.

So then what is Self-Confidence, and how do we get it for once and for all?


In my next article, part 2/3, we take a closer look at why I say that confidence is like a 3-legged table. When we know what it is, and how to get, we needn't ever sacrifice our essential worth for it ever again.

What would that mean to you as a leader, as a presenter, if you could develop a level of self-esteem and confidence that never needs to wane again?


What do you think that would empower you to do better, and what would that mean to you if you could?


If there's something that resonates with you, I'd love to hear from you. I always read my own emails and if you message me, I'll respond personally.


All the best,

Bonita