Today, many see me as an expert in leadership and a reliable source of wisdom for how to become a better leader. Colleagues, clients, and friends approach me with questions about how to lead better, what they can do to engage their teams more, or how to tackle big career challenges or changes they are facing. And while I delight in being able to support so many brilliant and talented people to find their way forward, it wasn’t that long ago that I, too, was struggling to see the path ahead clearly.
When I left my job in advertising to work in wildlife conservation, there was no doubt in my mind that I was making the right choice. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore and I knew that I was being called to do more impactful work in the world. I poured my heart and soul into my work, and it was obvious to me each and every day why I was doing what I was doing. What came as a shock, however, was when I was ready to leave the world of conservation. This was a shift I had never expected.
You see, as far as I was concerned, I had already found my dream job. I was working to protect natural habitats and was fortunate enough to work within the world’s greatest organization to do it. I was fulfilling my dream to protect animals, and yet there was a part of me that felt like I wasn’t really in the right place. I wasn’t using the best of my talents in my role, and I could feel a stagnation as I got more comfortable in my role. There was a sense that I could continue on this path, taking on one mission and then the next, but it was difficult to see how the work I was doing would ever truly have a lasting impact.
I realized that so much of our success depended on the organization’s capability to carry our vision forward. Big dreams alone wouldn’t create a better world – no matter how many hours of toil we put in. I could see clearly how every different layer of our work needed to be strengthened; how our organization functioned – starting with each individual office, the mechanisms we employed to keep people engaged and motivated, the structure of teams and distribution of finances, the decision-making behind which projects got funding and which did not, and, most importantly, the leadership which carried the vision forward, both internally and to the outside world.
I could suddenly see each layer so clearly and realized how no amount of work in the field could truly create the impact we desired so long as we did not take the time to ensure our internal operations were sustainable in the long-term.
I became fascinated by the concept of organizational development and design and I knew that beyond this one organization where I was currently working, there were hundreds, if not thousands, more who were in dire need of support to strengthen
their leadership and redesign how their work was done.
I had found a new mission – one that put leaders at the center of it. If I could help leaders find the courage to show up to their work wholeheartedly, I knew we would be able to foster a new type of organization that focused on making a positive
impact in the world. With the creation of The Courage Factory, my vision to
help businesses become heart-centered came to pass.
And it has been my mission ever since, to find a way to bring more heart and courage into business and into the focus of leadership. For when an organization focuses on wholeheartedness, every single person that organization touches can feel it – from
the employees to the clients to the stakeholders.
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