“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
― Brene Brown,
Have you ever felt overwhelmed or you have lost that belief in yourself? Unsure if the path you are taking is the right one? Lacking confidence ? Not happy in your career or business? I have been feeling like this recently myself. I can’t believe I am saying this, however, I think it is important to share this. This is why there is power in the vulnerability of leadership.
Recently some remarkable and unexpected things have happened.
In the past few months, I have been delivering the Online Mentoring Program and the vulnerability, connection, and outcomes from this program so far have been remarkable. Then I decided to dedicate an edition of Leaders Hub Magazine to “Brave Women Leading”. I posted this on social media and the posts went viral. The stories I have been receiving have been incredible and heartbreaking.
In turn, last week I received 2 lollipops from two people from two separate events I was speaking at. It was overwhelming and unexpected. They told me that I had made a difference in their lives and they wanted to be brave and tell me. I gave them both a big hug (maybe 2 hugs) and walked off feeling humbled.
Then I felt something else. I could not shake this overwhelming feeling. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe.
I love Brene Brown’s work around Connection, Vulnerability, and Courage. Some people come up to me and compare my work to her, which is such honour.
For the past decade, I feel like I am staying in the arena. People describe me as being incredibly brave and courageous. I am staying in the arena making a difference to the world building more great leaders and great leadership. Leadership is about attitude, mindset, and action. The power of coaching, teaching and empowering others and organisations about leadership and in turn their personal leadership, awareness, and greatness is an incredible role.
Then yesterday I felt like running out of the arena. It was too confronting and overwhelming. Why? I have always said that success to me is about the significance and I know each and everyday I am being significant.
However is success about standing in the arena feeling like you are battling something you are passionate about called Leadership? In turn, when you see and hear about complete lack of leadership today, it can make you feel like you are losing the battle. Where organisations, communities, businesses, people and even our politicians don’t see the importance and power of leadership. Let me say not everyone is in this boat, however many are.
Why am I sharing this? I am standing in that arena as a full-time solo mum as well as a CEO of a company and there has been plenty of weeks times where I have worked 70-hour weeks. There have been times I have had a number of knocks and just wanted to walk away. There have been nights I can’t sleep and I work at 1am in the morning. The mornings I pick up my phone as I see my work and purpose more important than me. And I coach my leaders not to do this – and I do! The weeks I didn’t know if I could afford my rent. Yes, this is true. The times our events or programs didn’t happen and I had to learn some great lessons. The times I missed my daughter’s plays at school and felt like the worst parent on the planet. The days I got so sick due to stress and said to myself to stop working so hard – and haven’t!
So many times I wanted to put down the shield and take off the armor and say enough. This is too tough. I am an importer. I can’t do this. This is too big. Yes here I am standing in the arena and standing on that stage changing the world of leadership and helping others is the best version of themselves – and I am not doing it for myself.
Why am I sharing this with you? It is times like these when there is confusion, vulnerability, and frustration that you can get a breakthrough. Times like these that when I want to walk away from the arena then I can see why I do what I do. The only way I can stay true to others and myself is to be truly seen. The only way I can keep standing in this area is to embrace the fact that I am not perfect however I am exactly where I need to be. Yes, I might want to stand in the stadium watching at times and sometimes I have to, to see how I am battling in the arena. I will never want to give up that spot there in the arena though. I will keep standing and fighting. I will do everything in my power with my team, tribe, and daughter to make that difference. Yes, I will still want to run out of the arena and that is okay. I know how Brave I am.
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
― Brené Brown
If you are feeling overwhelmed or you want to give up. Remember why you are doing it in the first place. If you are lacking confidence or self-belief, believe me, I have been there so many times, you have got this. We need more leaders who are willing to be truly authentic, vulnerable, courageous and brave – don’t you think?
Whether you are standing in the arena or in the stadium, please remember this –
You only have one life. Live and lead it with courage, connection, vulnerability, and authenticity and be brave. Brave means to be who you truly are and standing tall. Bravery to make a difference and help others be brave.
Stay tuned for our Brave Conference in February and overcome Lacking confidence…
Author – Sonia McDonald, Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach and CEO of LeadershipHQ
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ, and through this, she empowers people to discover their own innate talent and strengths.
Named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world, Sonia is shaking up the traditional view of leadership, and along the way she has uncovered some outstanding leadership talent which had previously gone unnoticed.
Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development, workplace diversity and the neuroscience of leadership.
Sonia has also coached people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential. She has helped hundreds of people build their brands, grow their leadership and business strategies, increase their confidence, build awareness, increase their business revenue, connect to the right people, build exceptional skills and achieve brilliant businesses and careers.
Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock IT! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia
Her academic achievements include:
- Bachelor of Business (HRM)
- Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership
- Certified in Prism Brain Mapping Assessment
- Certified Leadership Architect
- Certified in The Extraordinary Coach program.