By Juliette Warnes
I recently went to a two day professional development course. It was ok. Actually it was really good but I don’t want to be nerdy about it so I’m gonna say it was just ok
One of the stand out things I learnt was to become consciously aware of how I do things. How do I lead well? What am I actually saying, doing and creating that makes people want to follow me?
It’s so easy to go about life leading people but not really knowing how you’re doing it.
You know, when I was studying my degree in Youth Work and in my first few years of employment, I was taught not to share anything about my struggles or my life experiences for fear that the boundaries between the ‘client’ and I were being crossed. I remember feeling inauthentic in the way I connected with the young people I was working with, and this limited my capacity to truly engage with people on a level deeper than just talking about the weather or how much school sucks or how much an ex-boyfriend sucks.
Recently I ran a workshop with two of my team members with some girls at one of the schools I work alongside. It was a complete success. Students engaged with the content, with the activities and most importantly they engaged with us. Within an hour we managed to create a safe space where students were able to share openly and authentically about their pain – the things that limit them from living freely.
My team shared stories of our own pain. That’s it.
Vulnerability bought us together. It made us normal. It was something real. It was a shared experience that transcended age and life stage. What ensued was trust and safety.
One thing I am learning to be true, by experience, is that shared vulnerability unites humanity. It through me speaking from my experience of life – my successes and my failures – and opening up opportunities for you to share yours, that we find joy, peace, belonging and life in its fullness!
So how do I lead? I lead myself. I navigate life in all it’s pain and joy and I share those experiences with others and open up space for others to share theirs with me.