I'd love to share with you a small piece of my journey to finding my inner essence and what it is that makes this work (the work of helping leaders to become more heart-centered, compassionate, and purposeful) so important to me.
After weeks of reflection into exactly that, I've come to realize that I had so many experiences in my professional career where leaders didn't show up how I expected them to. They turned away from their inner knowing and instead came from a place of "right" and "wrong" and passed down what was being told to them by their own superiors. There were leaders who I trusted, admired, or poured my heart into. Leaders who I believed in - and I so often felt abandoned by them.
The work I do day-to-day is to help prevent others - people who are passionate, talented, driven, intelligent, excited, and all in - from having to experience the frustration and suffering that comes from being abandoned by a leader who they believed in and fought for.
When I left the non-profit I worked at for seven years, my heart was broken. I loved the work I was doing and my team, and yet I couldn't grow there. I couldn't expand. I felt like there were walls all around me keeping me exactly where I was. Every time I tried to stretch I had people all around me telling me why I couldn't, or reminding me, “that’s not the way we do things here.” Somehow I always felt like I was wrong or out of place.
I spent a year creating a global program I cared about deeply and poured all of my energy into. When I realized I had limited practical knowledge of the content, I asked for more education and training so that I could do the best possible job and was told that it was better not to ask for anything before I had proven I was worthy of it.
I persevered, trying my best to ignore my imposter syndrome and learn as I went - asking for outside support to bolster my knowledge as much as possible. After a year of strategizing, connecting with colleagues across the globe, and building out the framework for the program - all with the promise of my forthcoming contract, I was asked to submit an application to lead the program I had personally created.
I felt uncomfortable, but complied with protocol and held an innate trust that the leaders who I was working with wouldn’t break that trust. After applying and interviewing to lead my own program I was told that I "didn't get the job".
Something broke inside me.
I had put my trust and faith in the leaders I was working with to follow through on their word and to support me in building the program. I couldn’t understand what kind of leadership would allow something like this to happen. What kind of leaders could see someone’s passion, enthusiasm, and potential and allow them to walk away?
I truly couldn't reconcile it. And felt emotionally exhausted and defeated. I had poured my heart into my work and it wasn't enough. How on earth could I possibly give more or care more about a cause than I did for protecting animals and nature?
I decided in that moment that I would dedicate myself to building the kind of leaders that nourished and encouraged their employees’ passions and strengths so no one else's hearts needed to break at work. I wanted to make work a place where people came alive and expanded their potential, bolstered by the support of their leaders and organizations. A place where people truly loved to show up each and every day.
This led me to create The Courage Factory in 2018. My work today focuses on helping leaders better understand themselves, what drives them each and every day, and how to connect to that inner wisdom on a deeper level. Only from that place are they able to build empathy and compassion for those around them, and show up purposefully and courageously to lead their people towards their vision.
I help leaders become more heart-centered and purpose-driven.
I truly believe this type of leadership will create the workplaces of the future.
What leaders have you had the privilege of working with who were heart-centered? How could you tell? What was it like to work with them?
Amanda is an Online Leadership Coach who helps leaders connect to their inner essence and purpose to do more meaningful and impactful work in the world.