Are you leading from fear or faith?

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Leadership

I wanted to talk today about that feeling of being ‘trapped’, ‘unmotivated’ or like there’s no way out of the situation you are in except perhaps to resign and become a florist, work in a café or basically do anything that can cool off your brain or remove the complexity from your life…It often comes out of the fear of desperation and I call it ‘the grass MUST be greener’ option. 

Have you ever felt like you wanted to choose this option?  

You wouldn’t be alone as research is showing that ‘quit rates’ are at an all-time high in the US and in Australia, there was a 26% jump in people swapping jobs in October last year alone (source: Linkedin via the smh), due to the conditions we have living through. 

This was me just over 11 years ago having returned from trying my hand at writing about the culture of food AKA, travelling through Europe, eating amazing food, and blogging about it. This was my version of ‘cooling my brain off’ and I fully intended to go down a new path in my life and work. I was standing on the precipice of a new world but found myself being rapidly drawn back into the old one. Before I left, I had accepted a role to run a (content and social media) agency and I felt the weight of this decision pull me back into my old world. 

Fast forward to current day and I know the ‘grass is greener’ option isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Let me tell you more…

 

Making the leap from specialist or manager to leader 

Looking back, I’d been steadily climbing the ranks in my corporate career I was a highly capable specialist lead, and I was starting to be put in charge of other people. People were looking to me to lead. But even back then I realized, leadership is a different skill from what I had been working on for the last 10 years. I remember thinking I want this promotion, I’m ambitious but was also aware something else was called for. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do my current day job and then lead more people… 

“I didn’t understand at the time that to make the leadership leap it’s going to be less about me ‘doing’ to get the results and more about supporting, empowering, and engaging others to get the results”

 

Leading from fear vs faith 

This would require me to start ‘letting go of control’ and creating the space for others to step in and deliver. But in the industry, I was in there was no ‘paint by numbers’ blueprint on how to do this leadership thing. I knew I had a positive intent to be a great leader, but my approach was put more hours in, throw things at the wall and see if they stuck, protect my people from some of the craziness going on behind the scenes. I knew there was a more efficient and effective way to be leading and that how I was operating was leading me to burn out and not creating the space for others to grow but I was wracked with the fear of:

If I don’t do this then no one will’ and, 

If I don’t bring the business in, then we’ll lose our team’.  

I was driven by fears and not by the faith of what might happen if I was leaning on the amazing people around me more and being able to take care of myself, so I had a sustainable way to take care of my energy and lead.
 

When the equation is all wrong 

I knew I had the equation all wrong. I could quit and go back to my food writing dreams or, I could finally face what was driving me to rescue others, have zero boundaries, and living with the constant anxiety of speaking up and being ‘found out’ by senior stakeholders. So, I stayed and started working with a leadership coach. I jumped down the rabbit hole of personal and professional development to peel back the layers of the onion and understand myself on a much deeper level of awareness.

 

With the biggest risks can come the biggest rewards 

On the other side of this decision, there has been years of investment in working with some amazing coaches and mentors that have helped me to get to where I am today. There have been highs and lows but ultimately, they have helped me to become a leader who leads from faith and not fear. Someone who has:

  • Become clear on the kind of leader I want to be and give me the tools to get there 
  • Reignited a sense of purpose and passion-based not on the work I do but the impact I want to create 
  • Learnt how to create work-life boundaries to sustain my energy and inspiration in both work and life

My measure of success today is not in the projects I deliver perfectly or the moments I pushed myself to speak in a big meeting because that’s how a leader ‘should’ show up it’s in, did I live and lead this day with vibrancy and luminosity. From a place of faith in what’s possible vs anxiously trying to control all the things out of my control.

 

The journey to become a more luminous leader 

I would be BS-ing you if I said I was able to focus on this every day. I’m a wonderfully flawed human after all but I take heart in the fact that this is the intention by which I’m trying to lead and live by. It’s also the intention that makes me want to teach and coach others to turn the lights on within and find their own path to becoming more luminous for themselves and the people around them.  

This intention also led me to question (as so many of us did during the last 2 years), am I really living into my purpose in the best possible way, am I creating as much impact as I could be…?   

I work with amazing executives and leaders and often have the privilege of also working with their teams. But with time to reflect, I lasered in on one group ‘emerging leaders’ who I knew needed my support, but my business model wasn’t creating the capacity for me to do this.

 

The Luminous Leader Program was born 

I realized I needed to build a program that could support these leaders to make the leadership leap. I created it from a place of ‘what if this could be the dream program, I wish I had all those years ago’. I scanned through the 1000s of hours I’ve coaching senior leaders and, reflected on all the best teaching I received in the last 10 years, to develop this program with the key elements that accelerate this leadership leap. I can categorically say it fills me with joy to have now had over 60 emerging leaders come through this small group coaching program. Especially when I get to hear their stories about the journey they have been through and hold the space for them to transform as so many others had done for me. Stories like:

“I’m kind of ‘stereotypically successful’, I guess you’d say in life, but not feeling very fulfilled or satisfied. I kind of had an idea that I was born to do something else, something more in the realm of helping others, but not exactly sure what and not exactly sure how to get there. Now I am more aligned to my genuine purpose in life and I’m more joyful and fulfilled and, just more confident in being authentically me”
Zoe – Experimentation Coach, leading Insurance brand. 

 

“I remember from the very beginning when we met you said the journey would be about getting out of your head, getting into your heart, and making decisions from your guys. I hadn’t heard talk like that before. I liked it and now I really feel those different parts of energy. I think it’s very true you must get to your core to make real decisions for yourself, and then you can move forward”
Renee – General Manager, leading Brand Agency 

 

Why tell you this story today? 

A couple of reasons. If you feel like you are stuck, unmotivated, stressed, and not really feeling a deep sense of fulfilment at work and life then I’m here to tell you it’s possible to find your way. Here are 3 ways you can start the process: 

  • Focus on building your self-awareness by finding ways to ‘peel back the onion’  
  • Ask yourself some quality questions like ‘what would I find purposeful?’ ‘What are my strengths? 
  • Create the space to really listen by finding time for reflection vs being busy  

If you want some help with asking some quality questions come and join me at my ‘re-ignite the light masterclass’ on the 8th of April which will give you a good taste of what The Luminous Leader Program stands for if you would like to join us. 

P.S. If you feel like you have been trying to ask these questions of yourself for a while but are getting nowhere then it could be time to work with an expert leadership coach to guide you there. If you would like to explore this further and chat about the potential of joining The Luminous Leader program I’d love to talk to you.

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