I recently attended Mergelane’s Leadership Camp in Boulder, and the Conscious Leadership approach was awe inspiring and life shaking. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to build self-awareness as a leader and communicator. These are a few reflections from that weekend. 

What is your whole self?

As a first time founder, female, and in the business of small boobs, I realize the mountains I will have to climb on this journey will not be easy.

I came across Bozoma Saint John’s interview on becoming Uber’s new Chief Brand Officer (talk about a mountain to climb!) and was so inspired by her effortless fierceness. Her mantra: Bring your whole self to work. 

Building a company requires bringing 100% of yourself, no more and no less, to the table every day. When I say ‘yourself’ I don’t mean your time or dedication, I mean all the parts, thoughts, emotions, and feelings that come with you being you.

We all took the Enneagram Test as part of Mergelane’s Conscious Leadership approach. I have the personality type of a Peacemaker, Enthusiast and Achiever (tied with all three). My home type is that of the Peacemaker, who when not at their best are characterized by a tendency to “hold back their own reactions and opinions to maintain peace with their loved ones”. I emphasize ‘when not at their best’ because the Enneagram System provides a methodology to determine when you’re operating not at your best, average, and at your best. High-functioning Peacemakers are hyper self-aware and independent, and as a leader create healthy environments for other people to thrive in.

I came to the realization that my approach to getting shit done and bulldozing forward all these years was to withhold emotions. I was showing up with less than 100% of myself. My view on emotions was that they got in the way of focusing on the ‘relevant stuff’, and that moving forward was more important to me than resolving conflict. I rationalized keeping emotions quiet because it allowed me to operate faster and easier.

Whoa.

Turns out I’ve been operating way below the line all this time.

I can do better. For myself, and for those I have relationships with. I want to break this pattern and see what I can unlock by bringing my whole self the table every day.

The motivation behind candor

Candor is a tricky value for me to navigate. I seesaw between wanting to express my truth and wanting to maintain peace with the other person. In my head, I cannot have both. The Enthusiast in me also believes that the decision itself isn’t important because I will be able to make lemonade with whatever is decided.

To me, candor creates unnecessary conflict. How many of us have stayed silent in meetings because we thought “Why bother?”.

After Leadership Camp, my view on candor completely changed.

If the motivation behind candor is connection, rather than judgment or drama, then you’re actually taking action to deepen the relationship with the other person. And by withholding your truth, you’re sabotaging the relationship by distancing yourself from the other person.

This realization freed me, and I hope it does for you too.

If you ever find yourself avoiding feedback or difficult conversations, I invite you to try this new perspective on and see if it changes the story for you.

My commitment

Leadership Camp was an intense 2.5 days where everyone laid all their shit bare for everyone to see. As someone who avoids this on a daily basis, it was incredible to see people share raw, unfiltered emotions with a group of strangers (not so much strangers now!). I want it to be part of my life beyond the 2.5 days.

My commitment to those in my life: I will try harder to reveal. I will practice candor when it is out of love and respect for you and an intention to bring us closer. I take full responsibility for the conflicts that I created in the past (ironic right?!) because I didn’t tell you what I was feeling.

Conscious Leadership is scary and challenging. I likely will chicken out frequently..and I’m OK with that. Small steps up the mountain!

Let’s discuss: @jaclyn_fu

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