They show up like this:

  • The professional opportunity. You know the one. The one that appears out of the blue and scares the pants off you.
  • The uncomfortable conversation you need to have with a colleague or family member. You know the one. The one that means you have to share yourself at a deeper level, and scares the pants off you.
  • The presentation, or speech, or pitch you need to give. You know the one. The one that demands you shake off that insecurity and claim your authority, and scares the pants off you.


Cues. They show up in our lives so we can realize more, give more and receive more. These, and so many others, invite us to stretch beyond our perceived limitations, get comfortable with our vulnerability, and dare to show up with greater presence. Woo hoo! Okay, I know. Kinda woo hoo, because facing fears is not fun! At least not at first. But, it seems to be the curriculum, so why not  learn how to face them? Our cues are our call to action — our invitation to step into greater presence!

Cues can come disguised as a request from a friend that requires us to consider a different perspective or change our behavior, or as an invitation to take a lead role in an event or organization, or as a requirement to add new skills, like communication and presentation skills :-). Sometimes these cues are delivered graciously and with kindness. Sometimes they are not. In either case, it is up to us to catch our cue so we can take our next step.

Recently, several amazing opportunities landed in my lap. For example, a music director invited me to take a high profile role in an upcoming show. An international company approached me about a high level position they’d just created. A new class opened up that, should I take it, would challenge me to bring a higher level of creativity to all my work. The first thing I felt was fear. Not the fear of whether or not I had the ability. No. I was afraid of misreading or ignoring the cues and making a mistake.

These are what I call “friendly” cues. I’ve also experienced other cues that didn’t feel friendly at the time. An audience member didn’t laugh at my off-the-cuff comment about sitting in the back of the room. A client didn’t call me back after several attempts. My jeans are much tighter than they used to be. I don’t know the reasons behind these experiences. (Okay, I do know about the jeans). They are not a comment on my value. It’s certainly not a good idea to take them personally (except, maybe for the jeans . . . ). Still, they are cues, and I would be wise to pay attention to them.

Here are three keys to catching your cue, so you can step into greater presence on stage and in life!

  1. Get off autopilot and be present. Listen to what others are telling you, or asking of you. Observe the responses you’re getting when you speak or act. When you’re presenting, tune in to your audience. Observe their body language. Look for evidence of engagement. And, tune in to your intuition. Listen to that quiet impulse, that still small voice.
  2. If you’re not sure whether this is a cue, ask clarifying questions. Ask the tough questions, if need be. Be open to the responses. Be willing to be mistaken. Know that none of us ever has all the information, and that everyone has their own truth. When you’re presenting, if there’s a question, or a challenge arises, ask the audience what they are experiencing and what they need. That’s not always possible, but if you’re in a workshop setting, it certainly is. Ask your meeting planner what he or she needs. Be genuine, open and sincere. 
  3. Be willing to entertain change. Catching your next cue could mean shaking things up. Be willing to shift your perspective, learn something new, or change your approach. As a coach, one of the things I hear from time to time, especially from people who’ve been in their profession for awhile, is, “I’m too old to change, or “that’s the way I am and how I do it.” Okay, that’s their choice and I respect it. And, with that choice, they could be missing their cues to fresh opportunities that would greatly benefit them and their audiences.

Then there’s the fear. I think it’s helpful to recognize that fear is part of the curriculum. We can’t “make” it go away. We can make friends with it and allow ourselves to move through it. We can catch our cue, make the choice to face our fears, and move into greater presence on stage and in life. Woo hoo!

I would love to support you. You can reach me at

Image source: Photo courtesy of Flickr user Startup Weekend Leuven