I was gearing up for an important presentation when I realized I had practiced as much as I could. What I needed wasn’t a fourth or fifth run-through of my slides, but a good, old-fashioned pep talk.

The only problem was that there were five minutes left before I was due to meet with the stakeholders. The pep talk would have to come from me.

So I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and looked in the mirror. It felt silly to talk to my reflection at first. But the more I revved myself up, the more self-assured I became.

“I’ve done the research on this topic, and I’m prepared to share it,” I said. “I’m an effective communicator. People want to hear from me. My ideas matter.”

I’ll admit, the presentation wasn’t without awkward stutters or sweaty palms. But I remained confident through the entirety of the thirty-minute PowerPoint. Looking back, I know I have my…

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