Amanda Gorman is the young poet laureate who recently presented her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. She uses the metaphor of light to represent the courage to perceive uplifting possibilities and then act them out: “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it!”

Amanda Gorman just bowled me over, she is generating 220 volts of pure, brilliant light! In an interview with Anderson Cooper, she described the process she used to “find her light” to overcome a speech impediment. At first, she used the written word to find her voice and author her truth.

With success as a writer next came the extreme desire to present her poems and act out her truth. Unfortunately, the inability to pronounce the letter “R” was in her way.

Amanda’s desire was not to be denied. She began to recite difficult dialog and express her feelings to the music. With deliberate practice she began to overcome her impediment with the “R" sound.

From that point, Amanda was able to train herself to recite her poems with the "electric" feelings of fire and passion for the truth as written. To watch her perform at the inauguration and read the reviews there is no question she is a sensational talent and, in her words a genuine “truth teller.”

Finally, to perform under extreme pressure, Amanda established a mantra: A selection of phrases that give her the confidence to be the light, and in this case to share her truth and deliver a much­-needed message about working together.

Keep it Real: Amanda’s process for seeing the light contained four steps:

  • Capture her voice (to know what she wants to say).
  • Practice having the poise and courage to get the job done.
  • Train the skills needed to perform under pressure.
  • Developing a mantra that allows her to perform under the most pressure possible.

Reflection: It’s been said that timing is everything to experience huge amounts of success. Amanda Gorman’s timing was perfect. She delivered a feel-good message of hope when it was needed most.

Here are two excellent stories about her:

Anderson Cooper interview on CNN.

CBS's backgrounder on her.

Amanda Gorman is HiLevel!

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