I received some terrific guidance when I was a speechwriter, early in my career: remember that the speech isn’t yours. It fortified me to make it about listening to what the speakers wanted to say and their manner of talking and phrasing. My role was to help the speakers express themselves, which made everything about them. Not me. This was absolutely liberating. Fast forward to things like the elevator pitch, or a career change, or a spending choice. We can learn to ask if that word is necessary, if this job is worth it, is that glass special. If we’re lucky, we learn when expensive is the thing we must do.
[Photo: John Singer Sargent, A Venetian Woman (1882). Cincinnati Art Museum. Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.]