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What One Week In The New Mexico Mountains Has Taught Me About Leadership

I am sitting on a wooden deck in the mountains above Taos, New Mexico as I write this. The gentle breeze of the pine and Aspen trees are rocking me softly as I look out on the lake, watching the water gently ripple from nature’s gusty breath. A bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of hot tea are within half of an arm’s length, and I am snacking while hummingbirds are buzzing their wings eating from the hanging feeder to my right. There is a storm rolling in that I can see in the distance, the ominous clouds promising a cool, soothing afternoon.

This tranquil, secluded site has been the backdrop for our family vacation this week, and it has been just the relaxing respite needed from the frenzy of home, as I have been frantically working toward the launch of S.H.E Media. The startup pressure has been intense. I fully expected it to be, and I have been managing it as best I can. While I have been decompressing this week, I have realized something important about leadership.

After returning from sightseeing on our first full day here, I took my yoga mat to a spot in the grass on the lake (footsteps from the house) and had a self-guided, lengthy yoga practice. The stillness of the water in front of me and the rhythmic whispers of the rustling Aspen trees provided the most picturesque and perfect practice spot. I was hesitant to attempt any sort of movement at all without at least the safety net of a yoga app on my phone, but I was committed to leaving my device inside. About half-way through my time on the mat, I realized something monumental.

I have been regularly practicing Baptiste power yoga for three years now. Even through I have repeated the sequences of the positions (almost) weekly for years, I have never tried class without an instructor. I didn’t expect much of my lakeside experiment, just to stretch in a calm setting after 12+ hours in the car. However, to my surprise, when I began I allowed myself to get lost in the moment and feel one with nature. All of a sudden, my intuition was guiding me and I knew exactly what to do. I must have flowed for at least half an hour all by myself, maybe more. I let my body signal to me what it needed next, and I shed every distraction to clue into my natural inclinations, and in the silence I moved through several poses in the order we work through them in class…all the way to stillness, the end.

While I realized what was happening, I meditated on the lesson this taught me for the next chapter in launching our business and our new digital platform in the fall. If I have repeated my daily yoga practice so many times over the past three years that I now know what to do if I just remain calm and tap into my intuition, the same applies to this moment in my career as a leader and an entrepreneur.

I have been feeling overwhelmed about this launch because deep down I am scared to be the leader of an incredible team who has taken a chance on me – without a guide or a ‘teacher.’ However, I have been practicing all of these skillsets required to lead, manage and launch every day for years now. So has every collaborator who has agreed to take the leap and be a part of this project with our core team. As a decision maker, all I have to do is listen to my intuition, remain calm and present each day, and let what is most natural to the heart and mission of this project guide the rest. Nothing will ever be perfect, but when led with proper intention, things will always move forward with purpose.

Even though I related this lesson to my own life and what I am currently facing in my career, I think it can be shared and applied to so many life situations. When we take on new roles, new projects, new transitions, experience life events and more, it can be overwhelming because we are hard-wired to overthink things. We depend on devices, check lists, guides, instructions and manuals so often during our daily lives in the pursuit of perfection that we lose the connection to our intuition. Trust your intentions. Trust your talents and the skillsets you practice on a daily basis. When there is no other choice than to follow your inner guide, you might be surprised at how powerful (and qualified) you truly are.

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