How I learnt about leadership
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
–John Quincy Adams
For me, leadership didn’t start when I entered the work-place nor when I entered school – it started at home.
EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PART 5 AND PRIOR IN THIS AMAZING SERIES BELOW:
I saw leadership when my dad would do jobs and refuse to take money from the people he had helped because they had even less money then we did
I saw leadership when my mum would spend hours trudging around houses selling hampers and running a home catalogue so that we could have money for presents at Christmas
I saw leadership when my sisters stepped into to deal with some violent bullies at school who had hurt me without having to lift a hand
I saw leadership when our swimming coaches, all volunteers gave up 10 plus hours per week to stand on a poolside to help us become the best swimmers we could even at 6 am in the morning
I saw leadership when my mum marched into the school after a teacher had wrongly accused me of stealing from my friend and didn’t leave until I was moved classes
I saw leadership when my dad drove for 14 hours solid from France because I was ill, we didn’t have travel insurance and I needed a doctor
I saw true leadership when times were tough. It consisted of courage, resilience, and kindness.
Understanding what is of value
This is the view that I get up to every morning – along with ducks, chickens, dogs, rabbits and, of course, kids. This is why I no longer earn a 6 figure salary and jump with joy when I find Aldi selling a Jo Malone like product for £2.79.
Value can be experienced in many ways, the size of a salary is just one of them. And yes I know that bills still have to be paid and food put on the table but there are different ways of achieving this.
When I earned 6 figures, I employed an army of people to help me – I needed approx £4k per month just to keep the show on the road at home. I didn’t have a relationship with the people who kept the ‘show on the road’, I wrote them long ‘to-do’ lists every day. I didn’t really know my children as I saw so little of them. And I couldn’t work out why I felt so empty when I ‘had so much’.
But of course, it was like filling up on sugar – I was consuming empty calories. My work no longer inspired me, there was no real purpose to it other than to generate money and that was soulless and soul destroying.
The point to this post is that we have to have a purpose, something that makes our hearts sing. Sometimes that means a 6 figure salary and sometimes it doesn’t. That is not the measure of success having a purpose is.
Sharing our stories to help others
When I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, one of the things I decided very early on was, to be honest and open about it. I did that because I hid in the shadows for too long, ashamed of how I felt and that I couldn’t hold it all together because I believed other people could.
The reality was, for a significant number of people in my peer group, they weren’t holding it together at all. They just weren’t saying that’s all. Had I known that my path would have been easier to navigate, my expectations more realistic and I could have reached out for help earlier.
And that’s why I share because sharing helps others understand that we all have peaks and troughs and everyone has their battles – that’s just life and actually that’s ok.