Hello everyday leader leading your career, life, and business. Here we are together at the start of a brand new year 2022! I had this idea, in addition to writing teaching blogs, to share with you on a more personal level my own leadership journey. My goal will be to highlight the leadership lessons I am learning from many different focus points that may include: being a working woman, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, health and wellbeing, career leadership, and leadership growth and development. If you are ready to go on this adventure with me where I may share raw, real, and uncomfortable growth moments as we go through this next year together, then follow along here. My goal is to blog or vlog weekly and possibly every week day if even with a short, but powerful lesson.

It will be wonderful to connect with each and everyone of you and hear about your own path as you lead your career, life, and business forward so please do share! I have come to realize even the most accomplished people who have been promoted and are leading many, will sometimes still say they have no idea what they are doing. Yes, no matter the rank, the salary, the prestige of a position, we are all fumbling our way through this great adventure called life. So, let the adventures of 2022 begin for you and I. If we can learn through it together, maybe some of our challenges and growth will ease one anothers path and who could not use a little more ease in this life, heh!? Let’s begin.

Today’s leadership lesson is on what I have learned over the past month, okay whose kidding themself here possibly a lot longer, about emotional fortitude. Did you know the exact definition of fortitude means courage in pain or adversity? Emotional courage – now that is a powerful word combination that would make many want to run for the hills. Yet, I bet, like me, you have had courage through your emotions and specifically the harder emotions of pain and adversity. This may just be the hardest thing any of us has to go through. I just received a message from a friend who lost his wife last year and I know that reaching out even by social message, took emotional fortitude of a new life and trying to connect with others where there is now a void and where he never had to before.

Okay, I have stalled long enough, I guess its now time to share my raw, real leadership lesson on emotional fortitude. In the month of December, the past and every previous wound with a relative who has said the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me, came crashing back in as an emotional trigger that caused a lot of pain. It was so painful for me, that I really just wanted to avoid seeing this person and yet this person and our relationship matters to me in part due to blood and in part my very being of liking harmony and peace with everyone.

What I realized in the moment is that courage comes in many sizes and I do believe a readiness scale that impacts the size of courageous action we take, okay specifically what I was able to take in a moment where I felt so triggered and vulnerable. Yet, my courage was in realizing that there is trauma in the past around this relationship and I do not feel psychologically safe around this person due to past interactions. In addition, the recent interaction left me feeling discluded and on the outside of a group so now I really know what one of my clients went through this year with her team; when we are not inclusive with others, it can cause a nervous system reaction into fight and flight stress mode.

My emotional fortitude in this recent situation was showing up, trying, and protecting myself. It was also in making it through all the pain that came rushing back as if it was yesterday. Sometimes emotional courage is realizing something is so unhealthy for you, that you need to make some decisions around it, take some serious action, and spend time in the pain so you can understand it. I have made some decisions around this including healing myself first and after some preparation when I am ready, to open the lines of communication with this person in a safe setting. Sitting or moving through the pain, brought many of the pieces of the puzzle together for me, but here comes my big leadership lesson.

Even when it is personal, even when it is important to me, even when I do care and someone was hurtful and there is a lengthy repetitive cycle of challenge with someone, I need and want to be able to have control over my emotions. For many reasons, this recent interaction was extraordinarily negative for me, but I never want to let my emotions grab a hold of me like that again, where they in an instant void every resource I have ever built to be emotionally resilient.

I know I am not alone in this as so many leaders I worked with this year had challenging experiences with people they work with that triggered them just as badly that they decided to find other work. For me, there is no avoiding or jumping ship here, as this relationship is here to stay and it impacts others which is a big motivator for me.

Here are some of the action, awareness, and implementation leadership lessons I am taking away from this and which may resource you too should you need them now or at some point:

  1. If you have trauma with something or someone, the courage we need is to get professional support
  2. Meet yourself where you are at with your courage readiness and take whatever step you are capable of in that moment
  3. We need to respect ourselves enough to decide what we will and will not accept and then choose what works for us
  4. Emotional pain, relationship stress, and communication challenges need to be addressed when you are resourced
  5. Self compassion, self care, and self love are mandatory during any relationship conflict
  6. Humble yourself enough to look at your responsibility, role, and interaction dynamics that play into it
  7. Find yourself a safe person to talk to or a safe outlet to process it whether it be through writing, exercise, or spiritually
  8. Go back to the basics of nutrition, exercise, breath work, sleep, stress management, and positive self talk
  9. Figure out what outcome you want and do not let it sit static, take any small action to move it forward in the right direction for you!

Well, it looks like I have some work and action steps to do here. Maybe you do to? Luckily, I am back on track and feeling good with some heightened awareness around this that is still lingering in my thoughts taking up energy. Yet, despite the pain, despite the challenge and setback, I, just as I am sure you did too, practiced emotional fortitude.

Courageousness is not a competition and some may say, I should have spoken to this person right away, but there were many factors affecting the choice to not have the discussion at this time. Be compassionate with your courage and know you are always doing your best in every given moment.

We have all been facing adversity, and some of us pain too, over the past few years and it is important to acknowledge the courage it has taken you to keep moving forward through it. You, my fellow leader in life, have had emotional fortitude and for that I am proud of you, but more importantly, you should be proud of yourself.

Courage in the face of pain and adversity is the mark of an everyday hero carrying on, forging forward, and leading through challenges.

In fact some of the greatest challenges I have worked with leaders around is the impact of a conflict on their emotional health. We are human, we are emotional beings, and when stressed, our emotional resources are weakened; however, with the above steps along with the physcial, mental, and emotional tools we use daily to be at our peak, we can and will be emotionally resilient to anything that comes our way.

There it is, my first raw, real leadership lesson of 2022. I do hope this may have helped one of you or that you have a takeaway for yourself forthe hopefully never arrives day, when you may need this in your toolbox.

Life’s an adventure, are you with me for the ride? Betty White’s humour, lightness, and laughing at everything is going to be with me this year so I too can keep it light and see the humour in things even these not so fun experiences.

Thanks for being here. See you real soon.

Your leader in training, Jody.

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