It’s been six months since I graduated from CTI’s Leadership Program, and the lessons keep evolving as I apply the skills and tools I learned in the program.
My life looks very different than it did six months ago. I am now a digital nomad who is fulfilling my dreams of travel, freedom and adventure by working remotely and living all around North America this year, leaning into the unknown and inviting exciting new experiences into my life.
I know for certain I would not have had the courage to leave without the “push” from my Leadership colleagues and mentors to bravely face my demons and get my foot out the door. Every step of the way, my tribe has had my back.
As the journey evolves, I am constantly noticing the ways my life has been affected:
Before the program, failure was not my friend. In our overcomplicated, overcompensating and overwhelming world, I was my own worst enemy. My inner persecutor was ripping me apart with every mistake I made, every misstep I took, and every time I had to take my foot out of my mouth. “What the heck is wrong with you?” I would chastise myself, letting my inner mean girl lead the way.
Over the last six months, I have consistently and persistently been changing my inner dialogue with myself, allowing for mistakes, for forgiveness and for self-love when I screw up. I can admit my shortcomings and failures in new ways, and I ask myself a new set of questions now:
“What am I learning?” and “What will I do differently in the future?” are much better ways to greet yourself with kindness when you fail. There are so many opportunities to learn from your “less-than” moments, with love and grace instead of exasperation and persecution.
Visibility and Speaking UP
Before Leadership, I was much more concerned with what others thought of me. I would be filled with “shoulds” and “what-ifs” that triggered my anxiety and paralyzed me from taking action on my big dreams.
Now I know that I am doing the world a disservice if I don’t speak up, say my truth, stay in the moment and clean up if needed. I practiced with my tribemates, saying something when I felt hurt or awkward, or delivering a truth I felt deeply about. I practiced in the world, with my family and friends, trying new ways to communicate without hurting others’ feelings, asking for what I wanted and saying “no” to what didn’t serve me anymore.
Here’s what I realize now: the more I speak up about my big dreams, my refusal to adhere to the status quo, and the search for truth and meaning in my life, the more I inspire others to do the same. It becomes a ripple effect, and it is how each of us can change the world, with love, together.
Let’s face it, the place where you work can be tough a playground for leadership. No matter what your role, you are going to deal with challenging situations and people, every day.
I feel lucky to work at an organization that “walks its walk” and implements the leadership skills it teaches, but there are still moments of conflict, chaos and confusion. What I am most committed to at work is showing up fully, without a mask, to step into leadership when it’s needed and step back when it is someone else’s turn.
At work, there is a daily opportunity to begin again, to keep failing forward, to keep speaking up, and to love the people I work with in a way that is open, kind and committed to growth. I choose to start each day as a fresh slate, to let go of old stories and to really see my coworkers as they are, with a leader in every chair. I cannot tell you how much our personal commitment to growing each other as leaders has improved our environment at work (and improved our revenue by 10% this past quarter!).
Now that the gift-giving season is over for another year, ask yourself what gifts you are going to give this year to others. Will this be the year you break free, bust out, and speak up?
You have the power to get started. Right now. Don’t wait another minute to step into your own leadership. I dare you to try, fail, speak up, and love louder!