The stuff within

I’ve been in many leadership roles throughout my career – managing people and building positive relationships always came naturally to me. I didn’t follow a how-to manual or pen my own set of guidelines – it just organically flowed: a desire to connect with others, to listen, to sometimes gently pry away a corner of ever-there armor, to recognize and value commitment and contributions, to empathize, and to quietly do what I could to empower folks to shine in their jobs. To feel worthy. And if folks were not quite fulfilled, to compassionately steer them towards finding better-suited opportunities in which to unfold their brilliance.

I never really thought much about it over the years, but recently have reflected more deeply on my gifts – especially when it comes to my work life. What have I got to offer the world? We all have gifts. YOU have gifts! We also have knowledge, skills and abilities, but we each possess that mysterious and marvellous bit of magic dust that is uniquely Our Thing. It is instinctive and effortless and gets sprinkled over all the bits and pieces of our lives.

I’m presently reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly (yep, I’m double-fisting it… morning matcha tea with Brene’s Daring Greatly, and post-shower hair-drying with Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic!) Brene is an expert on vulnerability and shame. She talks about how some leaders use shame as a weapon to keep team members in line, and how this quashes self-worth, innovation and creativity in the workplace.

Wow. I see that happening all the time. This is the stuff that people in leadership positions must learn about and hone, if it’s not naturally in them to refrain from using shame as a weapon.

Here’s a cool Leadership Manifesto that Brene put together, based on her extensive research on what people want their leaders to know about them, and what they need from their leaders:


And for parents, here is Brene’s Parenting Manifesto, which she uses as “a touchstone, a prayer, and a meditation when I’m wrestling with vulnerability or when I’ve got that “never enough” fear.” Awesome.


By the way, this book is not just for leaders in the workplace. It’s not just for parents. It’s for all of us – regular folks steering through life and often feeling not enough. She teaches us that vulnerability is not a weakness and argues that it is our most accurate measure of courage.


A must-read for all!

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