Daring Leadership

#RisingStrong is more than our theme for this year. It’s a way forward.

Janet Frood of Horizon Leadership

When the board of WCT London came together to plan the programming for 2016–2017, working with Janet Frood of Horizon Leadership was one of our priorities for the year. Some of the board members have been fortunate to work with Janet previously through her one-on-one coaching, and the three-day workshops that she hosts. We know first-hand the impact of her studies and how she helps guide people to embrace the power of themselves and their story. So much so that we chose a phrase from her work, and from the framework that she uses courtesy of Brené Brown, for our theme this year: #RisingStrong. This is what we wanted to bring to our members, and the community of women that join us.

Something special happens when you get a group of women together on a Saturday morning. There’s an entirely different energy when we simply get out of the rut of routine of showing up to events that are after work throughout the week. This particular Saturday morning was crisp, the sun shone bright, and the newly renovated main floor of Innovation Works was warm and welcoming.

The new main floor at Innovation Works, including Edgar + Joes Café

One of the things we’ve loved about curating events for our membership and our community in London is the ability to showcase different sites and parts of the city that some may not have ventured to yet. For those that haven’t visited Innovation Works, we can’t recommend the space enough. With the addition of the new Edgar + Joes Café, the old GoodLife building never looked so good, and our drinks and delectables have never tasted so good. It also does our collective hearts good to share a space whose entire mandate is about having a positive impact.

There is no ‘one’ truth

The day’s activities were framed around a few ‘simple’ questions:

What does it take to show up, be seen and live brave?
Are you yearning for something you can’t seem to put your finger on?
Are you a leader looking for more?

Clearly, not really ‘simple’ questions, at all. For the participants this day, Daring Leadership didn’t have a one-line, all encompassing, static definition. Throughout the morning it was described as…

“being ok with not being liked”
“challenging the status quo”

With all of these different definitions, there’s no way to sum up a discussion that had so many varying points of view.

To be frank, it’s more than a bit difficult to try to articulate the impact of spending a morning with 40 women openly discussing the issues of shame and vulnerability in a follow up blog. These are deep, heady issues and the truth is, every single one of us brought our own experiences, fears, concerns, and even some tears with us that day.

What we can share is that with Janet’s guidance, and through her own bravery to be vulnerable, a space was created that allowed us to all tackle these and other important questions such as: how do we want to show up as leaders? And, how do we want to show up and be seen in the different arenas (work, home, relationships) of our lives ?

Being vulnerable is hard work.

With Janet’s guidance, some of Brené’s own words (via video) and through much group work, we dissected myths such as vulnerability being a sign of weakness (it’s not; being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can ever do), that vulnerability is optional (it’s not just for others to do), that vulnerability means revealing everything to everyone (it doesn’t; it means sharing ourselves with those that have earned the right to our stories), and that vulnerability is unnecessary (quite the opposite; ever heard the adage ‘no person is an island’? we need each other).

Although some of the work was introspective and deeply personal, we did a great deal of sharing with each other to examine these deeply held, often core beliefs about ourselves and how we’re perceived in the world. I believe it was that innate sense of trust that comes from sharing in the first place that created such an impactful experience for so many of us that morning.

And while we arrived that day, some as friends and colleagues, some as strangers, we left as champions of each other, and with a deeper understanding of what a community of women can really do for one another.

Our sincerest thanks to London Economic Development Corporation for their sponsorship of this WCT #LdnOnt chapter event .