Leadership starts from inside. Accepting ourselves and the full range of our faults and magnificence is the bedrock of authentic presence, which allows us to lead from within.
Part of thought leadership is sharing your thoughts with the world and pointing the conversation to where you think others should be looking. That’s why I try to post regularly to our CTI social media feeds. This month, I was struggling to write a blog post. I was searching for a topic to latch onto and panicking as I approached my deadline. Lo and behold, I was in a meeting with my staff who reminded me about a video that had been shared across the company about Tom Brokaw. While this post is no different than others, it felt important to acknowledge that my voice is the voice of the many who power CTI behind the scenes. Thought leadership comes from all of us, and I am proud to represent our voices.
Sometimes, life can feel heavy. The heaviness can be particularly evident if we are working in challenging environments or with challenging content. I remember when I used to work in the charity sector supporting women who had experienced some form of violence, I’d take that heavy feeling home with me. The heaviness seemed to seep into all areas of my life. I’d try and run it off, or drink it off, but it followed me around and eventually took it’s toll and I felt I had to leave the sector.
In 1992, I hired Henry (not-yet-Kimsey) House as my coach. At that point, CTI had just been birthed, a twinkle of an idea the founders were busy dreaming into existence. And like so many of us, my life was changed forever when I got a taste of (not-yet-Co-Active) coaching.
The word “leadership” has become a common buzz word with people in companies and other organizations. Many people assess their current leaders without really looking behind the curtain. When most of us think about good leaders, words and phrases like integrity, supporting and facilitating others, inspired action, confidence, and good communication come to mind. All of those are completely necessary for high-caliber leadership. A piece that we often miss, though, is what is authentic leadership?
What is it about the New Year that fills us with hope and possibility? In reality, the start of a new calendar year is an arbitrary line in the sand that allows us to mark the passage of time in an organized way.
I trained to be a Co-Active coach four and a half years ago. Before that I worked with women who had survived domestic abuse. I worked in that capacity for four years, hearing stories, supporting and advocating as best I could. Until I burnt out and stopped being able to do my job. Luckily, as the universe would have it, I got made redundant at the same time as I realized my health was on the decline. The stress of the job was manifesting as lower back pain - no emotion leading into intense emotion with no obvious source. My lack of passion about the world manifested as feelings of depression and lethargy.
Amid reports of the deteriorating Syrian peace talks and mounting tension in relations between the U.S. and Russia, my mind has turned increasingly toward a leader’s commitment to impeccable speech in their responsibility to forge life-affirming, sustainable relationships.
In July 2016, I graduated from CTI’s Leadership program, and it qualifies as the single greatest adventure I have taken in my life. I've traveled the world, jumped off cliffs and out of planes, but NOTHING compares to the terrifying, heartbreaking, exhilarating journey I took into myself in those 10 months. I had the pleasure of accompanying 24 other souls through a rigorous, heart-centered, unapologetic journey; I was challenged, cracked open, grown and truly seen as I found my voice. A friend of mine told me that the year after her program was even richer than the year before, as the learning had a chance to sink in. Now I want to share with you the impact this program is having on my life, and who I am becoming along the way.
At the time of my writing this, the American Vice President debate will be on tonight and I must say I really don’t want to watch it, and I will. The reason I don’t want to watch it is how distressing it is to watch these debates and these campaigns and these “leaders” as they try to maneuver and manipulate, stumble and fumble, bark and bicker, and generally irritate the people that they want to vote for them. The reason I will watch it is that I need to keep reminding myself how important the work that we do in working with leaders to grow their worlds and to take responsibility for those worlds is in this time.