During this past week's 'Soul Track'* call I had my inspiration for today's post. The topic was leadership.
Our facilitator, Mel MacIntyre, began the session inviting us to reflect on what leadership means to us and then think about who we admire the most as a leader and why. Is it their message, their story, their qualities?
We didn't have to share the name of the person we were thinking about, but, I'm going to share with you. The person I most admire from a leadership perspective is Oprah (truth be told there are a ton of women I admire, but Oprah popped into my head at that moment so I went with it).
I love her authenticity, her tenacity, and how she rose above adversity. The words courage, persistence and faith - faith in herself and her purpose, came to mind when I thought about the qualities that I admire most in her.
As the call progressed we were asked what leadership does the world need now and in the future. Words like compassionate, balanced, empowering, truthful and understanding came up. I think we were all feeling pretty elevated as the discussion and the coaching progressed.
That's when Mel began to challenge us. What will it take to let go of the things that are holding you back from leaving your mark in the world?
Words like complacency, insecurity and self-doubt emerged.
I should mention these women on the soul call, they are scientists, authors, change makers and leaders in their own right, however they struggle with self doubt, with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty, of not-enoughness in spite of their achievements.
As they shared their 'self-perceived weaknesses' with the group I was awestruck by their courage in sharing their vulnerability and thought about the caterpillar and the butterfly.
All butterflies come from caterpillars but not all caterpillars become butterflies, (some become moths). We all start out as babies, children, young adults with our own unique stories and experiences that shape who we become (caterpillar period). External forces can play a big role in how we see ourselves. As we settle into life we build our cocoon - it becomes our safe haven (but it can also become a prison limiting our growth and holding us back from becoming our best self).
For some, there is a calling to push beyond the limitations of our sphere of comfort and safety. A calling that originates from deep inside us.
To heed this calling we have to step outside the 'protection' of our cocoon and challenge the very nature of what we think we can and cannot do in order to become who we truly are.
The cocoon is a metaphor for our comfort zone. We can see the boundaries, we know what we can expect, for the most part, and even if what we are experiencing isn't serving us or isn't bringing us joy we convince ourselves we are safe. What's that saying? "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't".
When we are called to step outside our comfort zone and step into our power - it can feel pretty darn scary! We may say stuff like, "I'm not smart enough, what if I'm wrong, people won't like me..."
As I stretch my comfort zones and push beyond barriers I never even realized were holding me back I learn something new about myself. I discover old hurts and fears that I thought long forgotten but also bask in challenges I have overcome and revel in the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.
I invite these memories to teach me something about myself. I am able to comfort the fearful me, wrap my arm around the frightened small me and relinquish the self doubt and know in fact I am enough.
Like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, I can see where I was, feel where I am and imagine a future of possibilities fueled by a purpose bigger than my self-doubt and fear.
I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Don't we all struggle with self-doubt, worrying what others may think or say about us. As Mel reminds me often, "it's none of my business what other people think of me" and she's right! I hope this post struck a chord with you and stirred a desire deep within to challenge your comfort zone.
I wanna give a shout out to the Quantum Leap Soul Call participants who inspired this post!
It's such a privilege and blessing to work with such amazing, gifted, loving women in the Quantum Leap Program.
Stepping beyond their comfort zone, fueled by their passion these women are making a difference in the lives of infants and families around the world!
Take care and care well,
*The 'Soul Track' in the Quantum Leap Program includes ten group coaching and training calls scheduled every third week over the first six months of the program. These calls support you to take the challenges you are facing in your personal and professional life and use them to create positive changes in how you operate and achieve results.
P.S.: Using breakthrough, evidence-based strategies Caring Essentials helps you achieve clarity, build congruence, and challenges you, your colleagues, and your organization to become a center of excellence in trauma-informed care for infants, families and professionals.
P.P.S. Here is your quote for the week!