My career has been an unconventional, international journey to be sure, but two things remain constant for me and for my clients—growth and change.
In order to help my clients grow and change their leadership styles, I had to change mine—more than once. After all, if you’re not changing, you’re dying. And if you’re not aware of yourself or the impact you have on others, you’ll never have the impact you want.
In Africa I had many external challenges that kept me learning and growing in ways I could never have imagined. Along the way, I caught glimpses of what could emerge when leadership became authentic and as a result, transformational. I spent a lot of time adding to the tools I learned in college and then returned to the USA with a vision of something altogether new.
Even though it was easiest to talk academically about who I am and what was important to me, I realized that when you get right down to it, truth lives in the heart. But like most people, the heart is a place I preferred not to go. The academic head seems much safer with its orderly logic and reason. Yet my true, innate inspiration and intuition come from the heart, so I learned to let it lead at times instead of the head—and then to find my balance between the two.
How on earth did that come about? Hard work.
I started with Hoffman Institute’s intensive 7-day leadership program. It completely changed my life, by allowing me to see how I was holding myself back from being a true leader in every sense of the word. I thought the way I acted, the way I led, was ME, but it wasn’t. I learned those behaviors from others during pivotal times in my life. At one time those old habits served me well by helping me navigate an uncertain world, but as I grew and things changed, the old ways no longer served me.
So I had to unpack them, one by one, look at them, and tell them to take a hike. The Hoffman Institute allowed me to do that intense work in a safe and supportive place. But it was very scary. What if it didn’t work? What if things got worse instead of better?
I’ve never regretted trusting the Hoffman process, and it DID work. What were my big patterns that I had to break, the beliefs that were really stopping me from being all I could be? Not good enough. Not smart enough. Play it safe. Don’t make waves. Keep your emotions close to you. As I called them out, I knew that they hurt me personally and professionally. It was time to let them go for my life and career to grow…
The next step for me was the Strozzi Institute, where I learned to see how leadership presence is literally in our bodies…how we carry ourselves, walk, talk, and just “be.” It transformed my life again, allowing me to use more of my body’s leadership presence in my work.
Body work, or somatic work, is tougher than it sounds. Strozzi helped me see how my beliefs literally live in my body…and how when I let them go somatically, I can show up much bigger and bolder. I want more of that…BIG impact, authentic and transformative relationships, connections and leadership.
If I want my clients to have that too, I have to model it authentically. I have to do the hard work, face the painful process of letting go of the past even when it feels comfortable, and take the leap into the unknown. And I can only do that from my heart…my most vulnerable spot. Go figure. It’s not all about my academic head where I used to live. It’s a balance of the two.
And what’s the result of staying in my body to connect with my heart?
I’m more human, open, and compassionate in life and in business. I listen better, I empathize more, and I can just “be” instead of always doing.
Now when I work with clients who seek to transform their own lives, I have the tools to help, the experience to know it matters, and the commitment to keep showing up even when it gets hard. Together we are creating new ways of being in the business world and leading one another into a powerful, unknowable future.