Anyone who knows me, knows I pour my heart and soul into my work. So, when I was recently told that my work (Dare to Lead™ specifically) was the equivalent to “junk food” in the world of Leadership Development, it stung. It stung big time. And it stung even more because it was said by colleagues I have long admired and respected.
So yes, I cried. Yes, I took it personally. But more importantly, it created the opportunity for me to embody (even more) the Principles of Dare to Lead. Because as Leaders, we can’t expect others to do the things we won’t do ourselves.
It’s been a long ass year of learning, teaching, coaching, facilitating and bringing these concepts to life for individuals and organizations around the world.
- If You’re Going to be Brave with your Life, you Better Expect to Get Your Ass Kicked: Because trust me, it’ll happen. And it’ll happen multiple times (sometimes even in the same day). But here’s the thing, yes, it’ll hurt, yes it’ll be painful and yes you’ll question yourself. But when we remember we have the power to re-write the endings of our stories we become the Victors not the Victims.
- Call to Courage: Where are you wanting to be braver with your life? My Call to Courage is to allow myself to be fully seen and share my work with the world in a bigger way. And whenever we step into our Call, we will be tested, we will be questioned, we will be shamed, and we will wonder if it’s worth it. It’s way easier and safer to stay small and never risk being hurt but then we wouldn’t be brave, and our lives would never change. Our organizations would never change. Our world would never change. And, we need change.
- Brave Leaders Don’t Just Profess Their Values, They Practice Them: My top value of authenticity has always been my “Guiding Light”. Will I allow myself to be fully seen for who I am vs who people want me to be or think I should be. You can never truly belong if you are always trying to fit it. True belonging requires you to be more of who you are vs less. Will you allow yourself to live and lead from your core values? It takes courage, every single time. And yet, our world needs more of the true you, not less.
- Embrace the Suck: This work is hard. It sucks. It’s incredibly hard to be brave with your life and speak your truth and yet there is no other way to get to the other side. We must do the scary shit, have the hard conversations, and feel the feels. Even when it sucks. Especially when it sucks.
- Square Squad: Who are the people who are going to love you, believe in you, support you and have your back? When you fail, when you fall, when you question your worth, and can’t see your own value? You better know who they are, because you are going to need them. You are going to need to surround yourself with them. Your square squad is always there for you. No matter what.
- Vulnerability is Always the Path to Courage: It’s impossible be brave without experiencing uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. You can’t be seen… fully seen without risking being judged, shamed, bullied or pissing people off. Your light will be too bright for some, but it’ll never be too bright for the people who truly matter.
- Only Take Feedback From People Who are in the Arena With You: Never give away your power to those who aren’t being brave with their own lives, doing the hard things, or being vulnerable. If it feels like someone is trying to “dim your light”, they probably are. Shine Brighter. And know that the “dimmers” are probably struggling with shining their own light or they wouldn’t be trying to “snuff out” yours.
- Brave Leaders Are Never Silent About Hard Things: Use your voice. Speak your truth. Never allow others to silence you or keep you small. Use your voice for others. Stand up and Speak out. We need braver leaders now more than ever.
And lastly, remember that every-single-thing that happens, happens FOR us not TO us. Use your heartbreak, your pain and your sadness as fuel. Fuel to inspire you to live more courageously, more open-hearted, and more authentically you.
Because as my “Square Squad” reminded me… “Junk Food is Soul Food” and “Cassi, you LOVE junk food”. So sometimes an insult is exactly the inspiration you need. And, sometimes “Junk Food” is the most Soul-Filling, Heart-Fulfilling & Inspiration-Giving food there is.
Courage is Contagious: So, let’s Be Brave, Dare to Lead and Live Soulfully all while devouring “ooey gooey junk food”. Because together we can and will transform our lives, our organizations, and our world and for that I’m happy to eat as many bags of Cheeto’s, Frito’s and Chocolate Kisses as humanly possible. Because as humans, anything is possible when we are strong, brave and open-hearted.
Be Brave & Cheeto On!