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5 MIN READ
This article is the 1st in a series on "Breaking Knowledge Barriers".
I have had the opportunity to work for some amazing visionaries and leaders in Southern and Northern California. I landed some of my first jobs out of college thanks to the help of staffing agencies who liked that I could type over 100 words per minute, knew ten-key, had loads of customer service experience, and was visibly eager to make a difference somewhere. As I grew in skills, roles, and responsibilities, I watched myself stretch and reveled in the expansion that can only happen when you’re granted the opportunities to. My supervisors were pretty good at spotting my drive, resilience, growth mindset, risk tolerance, and desire to learn as much as I could. After being an Executive Assistant, Office Manager, Accounting Coordinator, Program Specialist, Grant Writer, and then Executive Director, I found my passion and strengths as an operations executive. With that passion, I helped start a statewide nonprofit that supports over 15% of California’s public 6th-12th graders with college and career planning tools, and I’ve consulted with multiple nonprofits and leaders to help them achieve their visions.
The moral of this short story for me is that every step of the way, when I had the opportunity to bet on myself, I did and often, I won. What I skipped in the story are the massive mistakes, failures, misperceptions, wrong assumptions, and poor leadership that I had to struggle through in order to get new roles, take on new responsibilities, and absorb new skills. If this sounds anything like your own journey, then perhaps like me, you also had to navigate strong bouts of insecurity, depression, loneliness, codependency, nagging self-doubt, and creeping suspicion of everyone and everything. If this sounds like you, then I invite you to keep reading.
"What Can I Give Up" Activity
Check out my “What Can I Give Up?” Activity that I often share with my clients to help them figure out how to let go of certain things holding them back in their lives. I show a personal example of my use of SMART Goals to create actionable steps towards giving up a specific habit. Included is a free printable for you to do the activity as well. Enjoy!
Do you watch Parks and Recreation? If so, then this moment of realization for me was like Leslie Knope owning, “I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.” In this moment of telling myself that I was enough, that I didn’t need to be anything more, that I wasn’t something broken that needed fixing, I tuned into who I was again - someone with love and compassion who can inspire the best in others. I had just gone so long without aiming my strengths at myself.
I continue to learn from this lesson, to break it up into smaller chunks, to dig deep into the nuances of my needs. I have some take-aways that I want to share with you as strategies for leadership development and self-care. This is aimed at entrepreneurs, managers, and those who run businesses, teams, and projects. But really, these strategies are relevant to anyone who is struggling with a leadership challenge in their personal or professional life. I have written a separate blog post for each strategy in this "Breaking Knowledge Barriers" series. Click here to go to Strategy #1 on Practicing Mindfulness.
About Author: Meredith "Mer" Curry
Learn more about Mer at www.meredithcurry.com.