I’ve been reflecting the last few days on a couple of weeks full of #BlackGirlMagic and feeling so grateful to have been in the presence of amazing women, like…
Shanute Brewer, who is exposing her young VISIONaries to STEM subjects like coding;
Jamila Trimuel who is helping 9-18 year-old girls discover their purpose, passion and perserverance;
April Ervin, who just published her first book and is trying to help Superwomen save themselves;
Eva Kennedy, who is focused on helping women in transition find clarity;
the women of Mox.E who empower women to live their purpose;
Dr. Yashika N. Tippett, the founding principal of Air Force Academy High School, who just brought the first flight training program to the Chicagoland area;
Tammera Holmes, the founder and CEO of AeroStar, who is creating bonafide pilots for an airline industry with a looming shortage of them;
Young Women Professionals League members, who are focused on developing siSTAR leaders holistically;
Aunt Oprah and FFL (Forever First Lady) Michelle Obama, who are showing the way;
my sister Vanessa Smith, who has successfully led her business for over 20 years
and my daughter, Renise Alexander, who is pursuing her passion for travel by any means necessary!
I am so grateful for your examples of excellence, persistence and resilience. You inspire hope…you inspire greatness.
I’m a lifelong learner who prefers reading as my primary source of information. I suspect the solitude of reading recharges me in a way I don’t receive from other media.
So I am grateful to be here in the time of leadership gurus like my some of my favs, John Maxwell, Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and T.D. Jakes.
I am grateful that I can pull up over 40 English versions (plus audio!) of the Bible on my phone (thanks Pastor Craig for YouVersion)!
I’m grateful the Tao Te Ching has been interpreted by the late Wayne Dyer, that Marianne Williamson has shared her lessons from A Course in Miracles and that Iyanla VanZant has made lessons of her own life.
And when I’m not reading, I’m so grateful that a black woman created her OWN media empire which exposes me to thought leaders from a variety of perspectives.
I’m sopping up every drop of wisdom they have to offer, then offering what I’ve learned to anyone who wants it and thanking God for my “team” and my circle of influence!
Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Taking for Granted… Inhale Wisdom, Exhale Withholding Knowledge… Inhale Influence, Exhale Ignoring Needs… Just Breathe
A friend of mine said she was mad at God when the choice she made didn’t work out the way she planned. And I started to question her… then I remembered the stupid thing I did when I didn’t pay attention to my inner knowing, the God voice whispering, the feeling in my gut.
I thought about the clear revelation I didn’t hear … the thing right in front of me that I didn’t see … the mistakes made more than once.
And I shut my mouth.
“People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?” Proverbs 19:3 MSG
Inhale Discernment, Exhale Disregarding Your Knowing… Inhale Action, Exhale Discounting Your Options… Inhale Ownership, Exhale Diminishing Your Responsibility… Just Breathe
My leadership experience began early in life; as the oldest of five and the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family, I was often “voluntold” to lead my siblings and/or cousins in some activity, an exercise usually like herding cats but nowhere near as smooth as that EDS commercial from a few years ago…the one where cowboys are herding cats…but I digress!
That early leadership experience showed me that, with no authority, I needed some other ways to influence my “team” to carry out our responsibilities. I needed to communicate with clarity. I needed to keep my emotions in check. I needed to be more compassionate sister.
Leadership is influence. But influence outside of relationship is almost impossible. So this mission-oriented, borderline introvert had to step out of my comfort zone to find the relationship approach that authentically worked for my personality and allowed me to connect with the folks I was privileged to lead.
That meant one-on-one, or small group interactions, which allowed me to be really engaged with each individual.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~ John Maxwell
You are a leader… even if you’re just leading yourself. Leading yourself is the most important, most difficult leadership task. Leading yourself well means being who you say you are and doing what you say you will. It requires some self-awareness and includes being disciplined, being committed and being accountable to yourself and in alignment with your purpose.
Inhale Integrity, Exhale Irresponsibility… Inhale Alignment, Exhale Abandonment… Inhale Your Best You, Exhale A Lessor You… Just Breathe
People in leadership positions, whether earned or wanted … or not, are always communicating. Their words, their actions and reactions, their body language, their clothing…everything presented in public is seen and interpreted. So it’s imperative to be intentional about what is communicated.
Otherwise, positive or negative, people will hear (or see) what was communicated as what was meant.
“Be impeccable with your word.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
On the plane ride back from FL, where I witnessed a wife/mother/leader take command, I was able to watch (while flying…love technology!) another wife/mother/leader and G.O.A.T., Serena Williams, win her semi-final match at Wimbledon.
Despite all the regressive political language, racist actions by neighbors all over the U.S., and attempts by states to roll back hard fought gains, these women and others, on stages national and local, are showing what mature, calm, compassionate, grown-up leadership looks like.
This week, I was able to witness a stellar Air Force officer take command for the first time. This officer has done everything required to earn command, to include deployments and high profile assignments at the Air Force major command level.
The new commander replaced another superb officer who led the unit to Air Force wide recognition, earning personal recognition and awards along the way.
The fact that both the incoming and outgoing commanders are women with families should not be and may not be newsworthy to you. But I needed to make note of these women who have refused to sacrifice aspects of their personal life (marriage, kids, etc.) to achieve professional success. Bravo!
Inhale Calling, Exhale Ignoring… Inhale Capability, Exhale Gender Bias… Inhale The Life You Want, Exhale Societal Expectations… Just Breathe
As rich as the current administration’s antics are for mining leadership lessons on what NOT to do, I find too much of the negativity is corrosive to my soul. So I’m currently on a sabbatical from the news.
Or at least I was until #45 declared himself above the law.
“When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.” ~ Richard M. Nixon, the only U.S. president to resign to avoid impeachment and removal from office
“Rule of law implies that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and judges. In this sense, it stands in contrast to an autocracy, dictatorship, or oligarchy where the rulers are held above the law.” ~ Wikipedia
Inhale Law Abiding, Exhale Anarchy… Inhale Decency, Exhale Corruption… Inhale Democracy, Exhale Autocracy… Just Breathe