Facing your fear can certainly be an understatement.

I’m preparing for a Young Elites Leadership Summit (I still feel like I’ve fooled them somehow to let me participate!), so I thought I’d break out the list of potential panel questions to look over.

It’s not that I’m a super prepared or even a planning-ahead gal. To me, the funny thing about being invited to work with young women to develop their leadership skills is that I am terrified to speak off the cuff in front of a group (and here I am admitting it!). And when you arm an auditorium of teen girls with carte blanc options to ask anything they can think of (the list is only a potential list, you see), that certainly kicks things up a notch.

Personally, I can discuss any of the leadership topics of interest; and last year, I even mentored a group as they prepared for a Lincoln-Douglas debate. No problem. I’m not worried that someone will ask something inappropriate. I never had this concern in a classroom, but Senior Night was stressful for me—I wrote out everything I’d say. Otherwise, I know chances are that I’ll freeze. Yep, just like when the video you’re streaming starts buffering endlessly. And then my face gets hot—and red—and I panic. It’s kind of like the idea that when you’re riding a bike, if you stare at what you’re afraid of hitting, you’ll run right into it! It’s not unusual for words to escape me, too—and I’m an English major!

Last year, I was glad no one had told me ahead of time that I would be interviewed off the cuff on video! This year, I know that’s coming, but scared or not, I know that if I goof up, I’ll live. If nothing else, it’ll show that I’m real and I don’t hide behind a façade—and that’s an important leadership quality, I believe.

What leadership qualities do you value?