As I sat in the beautiful space that is Government House with a dynamic group of people from a variety of sectors, I listened to community leaders who are doing the work of motivating and inspiring groups of people to make Winnipeg and our communities great – Jessica Dumas, Dayna Spiring, Sandi Mielitz, Rick Frost, and Thom Sparling. Each one of them graciously sharing their story, their time, their knowledge, their insight and
the journey that got them to where they are now.
It was encouraging to hear things like “leadership is in everyone and is everywhere; it’s about people tapping you on the shoulder and saying ‘you can do it’; you have to be yourself; know what you bring to the table; trust in yourself; take yourself out of your comfort zone.”
As I think about what I heard and as I reflect on what leadership means to me as a new CEO for a not-for-profit organization these words, messages and reminders were not only important, they were timely for me personally. I am 4 months into my new role and I have to be honest, there are times when I question my ability, my skill, my knowledge and my experience – I ask myself, do I have what it takes to be the CEO? Have I fooled people into thinking I can pull this off? Can I be the motivator and the inspirer the organization needs to succeed?
As you can imagine, and maybe have experienced, this kind of talk is distracting, it takes you away from the work at hand, and it perpetuates a cycle of self-doubt. Over the last few weeks I have been working hard to shut down that monologue and to quiet the voice in my head. While not easy, it is getting easier with every passing day. It’s becoming less about the self-doubt and more about building relationships, celebrating successes, following my gut (thank you Dayna for that one!), trusting what I bring and what others bring to the table and knowing that we are all working to achieve a common goal. I remind myself regularly how lucky I am to be working for an organization that is staffed by amazing people, running amazing programs to support young people in our province. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As we wrapped up Day 2 of our leadership program, I was feeling inspired, energized and motivated by everything I heard. As I reflected on the day, I was reminded of a quote that over the last couple of years has resonated with me; it’s a quote that, for me, sums up the day. The quote is this, “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”.