Judi Holler is a widely renowned keynote speaker who presents on the topic of using fear as a secret weapon. Her new book, Fear Is My Homeboy: How to Slay Doubt, Boss Up, and Succeed on Your Own Terms, will form the basis for her general session presentation on “Building Your Leadership Muscles” at HSMAI’s 2019 Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) in Minneapolis on June 18–19. Holler uses her background in improv theater to deliver engaging presentations that allow participants to see how they relate to fear in a fun and interesting way.
Holler is no stranger to the hospitality industry, having worked in sales and marketing for Omni, Marriott, and other companies. Recently she spoke to HSMAI about what to expect when she takes the stage at ROC 2019.
How did you get started with fear as a topic?
I moved to Chicago by way of a promotion in the hotel industry and simultaneously started doing improv theater at night at Second City. I started to watch all of my improv training make me not only successful onstage as an improviser, but also successful on the stage of my life — personally and professionally. Improv training made me braver and it really became sort of like my fear church. My work on fear challenges participants to stop chasing the unrealistic goal of “fearless” and instead spend more time getting comfortable being uncomfortable, so you can start fearing less.
What will your ROC presentation be about?
My work takes the experimental ideas from the improv theater and applies them to the unscripted stage of everyday life. will help participants view themselves as an everyday improviser and inspire them to get more comfortable with getting uncomfortable. For example, I propose the idea of doing small fear experiments, every day, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Things like being the first to raise your hand in a meeting, asking for the raise, or saying no to something when you really mean it. Scary things won’t ever be less scary, but you will get stronger. Confidence comes though repeated attempts of doing scary things and succeeding. The goal is to have the courage to do things scared.
What do you want people to take away from your presentation?
My work on fear is for someone who knows fear is an issue but wants to get to the other side of it. We all have fears and they will look different for each of us. What a 20-year-old fears is a lot different than what a 50-year-old fears. In addition, men and women process fears differently.
We shouldn’t think we have no fear. Fearless is the most reckless idea on the planet and one I challenge. If you’re fearless, you’d never go to a doctor, you’d never pay your taxes, and you’d probably walk right out into traffic. We don’t want to be fearless; we want to work our brave muscles slow and steady every day to get better at fearing less. The ideas in my keynote will help participants think differently about all the sneaky ways fear shows up and how to manage it in order to move forward.
How does this relate to hotel revenue optimization?
When you think of revenue managers, the role is evolving from being primarily behind-the-scenes to now becoming more focused on having strong communication skills and connecting authentically with clients and colleagues. Revenue mangers are working hard to have a seat at the table and it’s now starting to happen. The role has even become more customer facing in some scenarios. My goal is to is to help them be more comfortable connecting and communicating, so they can succeed and stay relevant.
We’re all improvisers, every day. None of us have a script. What I learned in improv is that while you’ll never be fearless, t you can get really good at fearing less, and when you learn to get comfortable in those uncomfortable situations, that’s when you make things happen.