Stay connected to what you care about
Let’s say that an important retrospective is happening tomorrow, one that could change the team in big ways. You have prepared well. You are ready. Now all you have to do is wait for the morning to come. You could lay awake all night thinking of the many things they might say and what you might say (or not say) in return. You could drive yourself crazy going over all the permutations of things that could happen, worrying yourself about what you’ll do if they happen. Or, you could get connected to what you care about. If what you truly care about is that they find their own voice to speak up about things that impact them, for example, then everything you do will come from this place of helping them find their own voice. Your ability to respond will come from the clarity you have about how you can best be of service to them. In fact, the way to discover what you care about is to ask the question: “How can I best be of service to the group?” Whatever comes up is probably right. Or, at least, right enough to go with.
Note that staying connected to one thing you care about is the goal. You may have a whole list of things you care about. That list has its uses, but will probably be difficult to keep front-of-mind when you are in the moment and things are happening all around you. Pick one. Just as a product backlog can only have one top priority, you must choose one top thing you care about. Make it the one you feel will best serve the group.
Keep what you care about in mind and stay connected to it. As team members say and do the things you worried about and the ones you could have never expected make sure your actions come from what you care about. Don’t teach any and every lesson that comes along – you could be there forever if you do that. Instead, use your connection to what you care about to be your guide and your guardrails. Interaction from you that is aligned with what you care about is like a guided missile, straight into their hearts and minds.