Last week Shakti in the Mountains taught 3 Shakti Feminine University classes, facilitated a holistic therapy group, guided a New Moon Circle, lead 2 restorative yoga classes, taught a Qigong class and a belly dancing class, and guided a gratitude circle. These amazing accomplishments do not include the behind the scenes work done by our volunteers or by our core leadership team.
I share this list because over 8 years ago, when I first opened the doors to Shakti in the Mountains, I wasn’t sure how my dream would look or come to fruition. I could feel the potential. I had the desire, but I did not know the how. That is to say, I did not have a grand plan with step-by-step tasks and goals neatly delineated. Oh, I had lots of ideas, but not much strategy.
Which is why I feel the need to pause and to celebrate our accomplishments over the past week: to see a dream move out of the ether into a full week of classes and offerings is inspiring and hopeful and motivating. All three sentiments necessary ingredients for change – for actively pursuing new ways of being and doing – and for leadership.
As Shakti grows, so too does my role within the organization. I now have a team of women who help me guide and teach, organize and create, facilitate and curate. It is lovely having a team: so much more work can be done, so many more people can be served, and so many new ideas formulated.
Working with a team also means having tough conversations, letting go of control and being vulnerable. Which begs the question:
How do I want to show up as a leader?
Do I want to be transactional? I do this for you so therefore you must do this for me. What I usually see in work settings where this style is predominant is no shared commitment toward a common goal. Apathy breeds in places where folks expect a quid pro quo.
Do I want to be dictatorial? Do this because I said so. No questions asked. While I see the allure to this leadership style, I know it does not promote loyalty or retention. It also limits the generation of ideas.
Do I want to be accommodating? Let me bend over backwards to meet everyone’s need. Let’s please everyone. Aside from the impossibility of pleasing everyone all the time, this leadership style is passive and lacks vision. It also allows room for a bully’s agenda to flourish. Nothing inspiring about a wishy-washy leader.
At the root of each of the above leadership styles is fear. Transactional, dictatorial and accommodating styles come from a scarcity mindset. Fear of asking for what you need, fear of giving hard feedback, fear of sharing power, fear of setting limits: all of these fears and more prevent folks from becoming engaged, vulnerable, brave leaders. The type of leader I think we need more of and I aspire to be.
Having said that, I am experiencing discomfort
Times when I feel anxious, worried and angry. Times when I am not sure if I am doing the right thing and times when I know I did the wrong thing. To be the brave leader I want to be, I am choosing to sit with my discomfort and work my edge. I am learning to say sorry when I mess up and to give others compassionate feedback when they do too.
I have discovered that being a brave leader requires trusting others as well as giving space for mistakes to be made.
Most importantly, I am learning that at the heart of brave leadership is the willingness to be vulnerable. A brave leader does not wait until she has all her ducks in a row, rather she chooses to do her personal recovery work at the SAME time that she leads.
This decision is all about transparency and is why I chose to write about leadership today. I want folks to know that I am in the middle of a huge learning curve. I am growing so much right now as a leader and as a person. It is a wild ride, both exhilarating and challenging, and one that I am committed to doing.
I welcome hearing about your leadership journey. I learn so much when people choose to share their stories. Please, click the link below and send me an email. Let me know what is happening for you. If you want to be a part of a woman’s leadership group, let me know that too. We can grow together.
Have a great week!