Finding My Power

As I write this blog I look at the countless inspirational plaques I have on my desk, which I probably got on the clearance rack at TJMAX. I look around my desk for inspiration to define the true meaning of what it takes to be a woman in leadership. The truth is, leadership isn't a word or a phrase. Being a leader is through action and someone who is not afraid of failure. I never consider myself a leader until 2020. It took a world pandemic to find my power. I had this great epiphany, or as I like to call it my Oprah Winfrey "aha moment" this past year.

Finding My Power

Written By:
Patricia McCormick

As I write this blog I look at the countless inspirational plaques I have on my desk, which I probably got on the clearance rack at TJMAX. I look around my desk for inspiration to define the true meaning of what it takes to be a woman in leadership. The truth is, leadership isn't a word or a phrase. Being a leader is through action and someone who is not afraid of failure. I never consider myself a leader until 2020. It took a world pandemic to find my power. I had this great epiphany, or as I like to call it my Oprah Winfrey "aha moment" this past year.

If you met me today you would have no idea as a young child I had a speech impediment and I struggled in reading comprehension. I shied away from raising my hand in class and would profusely sweat when asked to read out loud. I feared I would look stupid in front of my peers and have carried this insecurity into adulthood. This is just my inner critic hard at work of course. I realize now my learning disability prepared me to be an excellent leader.  My learning disability taught me to adapt, to work hard, and to stand up each time I get knocked down. I have learned to navigate through life and I am not afraid of failure, to try new things or do things a new way. This is what makes a great leader.

Those who are not afraid of failure are the ones who go the furthest. Before their success, some of the world’s most successful leaders experienced epic failure. We celebrate their success but often overlook the path that got them there, a path that is often marked with failure. Former U.S. President Barack Obama was quoting saying,

“You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”

So many of us lost everything in 2020. It sounds dramatic, but it's not like we "lost" our keys.  We lost our business, jobs, friends, and family, and ourselves. I have always been a career-oriented woman and relied heavily on my job title. Who was I without these external factors? I use to believe being a leader you needed to have it all together. How could I be a leader, if I didn't know what the heck I was doing? I question myself and my abilities to lead. As a kid, I wasn't smart enough. In my 20s I wasn't experienced enough. Newly in my 30s, I learned leadership is not about a title. It's about impact, influence, and inspiration. While I attended college, my English professor assigned a writing assignment on who I wanted to be. It seems simple enough, right? No. I light up naively and told her well I want to inspire people! She followed up with a question. "Well what inspires you?" she asked. I was speechless, I didn't know how to respond. After a few moments, she said, "to inspire others you must be inspired yourself". I value this lesson now more than ever! I ask myself often what lights me up? I have come to realize that passion is contagious, the more you light up about things, others around you become inspired and follow in your lead.

When we first hit lockdown, I felt hopeless. I went from hopeless to hopeful by shifting my mindset. This is when I had my "ah-ha moment". I felt like Kristin Wig in Bridemaid sitting on her mother's couch at her rock bottom. Her mother reassures her that if this was her rock bottom all she can do is go up! When I worked at my corporate job I was told I had to pay for my seat. I had to earn my spot. I no longer had to sit at a desk 9-5 at a job I hated and gave me anxiety. I was free! I no longer had to live within the "norm" because our norm has become existent. If I wanted to eat ice cream for breakfast I could have. If I wanted to be pantless all day and binge-watch Netflix I could have. If I wanted to better myself and become a freelance writer, I could have, and guess what,  I did! 2020, was such a critical time in my life. Don't get me wrong It was tough and I struggled financially. It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but I did things that lit me up and inspire me again! I had nothing to lose because I literary had nothing. I showed up for myself and honored where I was in MY journey.

I read a book a few years back called "Maybe it's you" by Lauren Zander. She wrote about the importance of showing up for yourself. You would never bail on a good friend if you made dinner plans, you should show yourself with the same respect. Instead of saying I don't have time ( let's face we all have time), I say x is not a priority. Whether it was morning yoga, or working on my self-development. This is a daily choice I make. My yoga practice started when I was about 21 years old. Pre Covid days, I would take classes and certain poses I would think, "oh I could never do that!" The truth is everyone starts at the beginning, getting good at something starts with trying. In the last few weeks, I challenge myself and started incorporating yoga inversions into my practice. The first week I couldn't even get up! My body is becoming stronger, and I have never felt so connected to the mind and the body in my entire life! Through this practice,  I was reminded of a valuable lesson. Whether you think you can, or can't, you're right. Sometimes all we need is a new perspective (even if it's upside down).

You can only be a leader when you lead yourself first. How you show up for yourself will speak volumes when it's time to show up for others. Put yourself on top of your to-do list every single day. Take chances, make mistakes, that is how you grow and become the leader you were born to be.


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