Editorial Thoughts


Michele Pesula Kuegler is the founder of PeKu Publications and chief foodie at Think Tasty. She runs this one-woman show focusing on creating new recipes to delight her family, friends, and herself.

Why Do I Defer?

by Michele Pesula Kuegler on September 30th, 2019

A month ago I met with two team members, Josh and Lee Ann, to discuss a startup event we were planning. The first half of the event would be meetings for investors and startups; the second half would be a reception and fireside chat. As it was our third year of organizing, the format was established, and the bulk of the work was finding people for all of the spots, which included the host for the fireside chat.

Josh suggested that the host should be a woman from the New Hampshire startup ecosystem, as the guest would be male. Equal representation always works for me, so I agreed with that sentiment. Josh then suggested that I should be the host.

What did I do then? In typical me fashion, I stammered and suggested another woman. Josh asked if I was sure, I nodded, and then Josh said he’d email her later to see if she wanted to host. We finished the rest of our planning, and we all headed our own ways.

As I walked home, I contemplated my decision. Why would I think that I couldn’t host this talk? Although I initially have a few butterflies when speaking publicly, I overcome them quite quickly and actually enjoy being in front of a crowd.

By the time I was at my home office, I was pretty unhappy with myself. After a few more minutes of contemplation, I emailed my colleagues and let them know that I had changed my mind, IF they hadn’t emailed the other suggested woman. I definitely wouldn’t take it from someone else. Delightfully, Josh emailed within minutes that he hadn’t asked anyone else, and he thought I’d be wonderful.

Fast forward to September 26th, the day of the event, Speed Venture Summit. When it was time for the fireside chat, there wasn’t a single butterfly or bit of nervousness to be found. I was calm, prepped, and excited to interview Will Herman. Will was the perfect guest, answering all of my questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

After the chat was done and the event was ending, I am humbled to say that a number of people approached me to praise the interview I’d run. They thought my style and questions were well done and captivating. And to think, six weeks earlier I didn’t know if I should do this.

So, why was my instinct to defer? The simple answer is that my first thought is that I’m not good enough. I assume that there must be someone more talented who could do the job. I’m not very good with praise. My second thought is that I am afraid of seeming conceited and overly assured of my talents.

This is something that I’m aware of and try to override. Accepting this host role was a huge step for me. The next time an opportunity like this approaches, I’ll remember this event. Hopefully, the feedback from my hosting will be echoing in my ears, and I will remember that I am good enough.


4 Responses to “Why Do I Defer?”
  1. Jason says:

    So glad that you did Michele, you did a wonderful job! So many people facing that challenge and deferring wouldn’t have gone back and re-inserted themselves, it was the right move and hopefully will embolden you and others for future situations.

    I see it happen with my own daughters frequently (my son knows no limits to his self confidence for unknown reasons!) and we are constantly pushing them to believe in themselves and be bold. Glad to see you set an example!

  2. Michele Pesula Kuegler says:

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

    I definitely will be more aware and do my best to exude more confidence.

  3. You were the perfect person for this role.. and it WAS perfect!

    Congratulations on the job well done and most importantly, for recognizing your own self deprecation and stepping up. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work alongside you, Michele!

  4. Michele Pesula Kuegler says:

    Thanks, Lee Ann!

    It’s my pleasure to help with the NH startup ecosystem, and it’s made all the better because I get to work with people like you. 🙂

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