Last week, I attended The Global Leadership Summit for my very first time. It was incredible to be surrounded by some of the greatest leaders around the world: Colin Powell, Bill Hybels, Patrick Lencioni, Bob Goff, Henry Cloud, Brené Brown and many more. More incredible than these speakers was the thought that a leadership summit reaching over 100,000 people globally happens every year in my home town. The intrinsic desire of every person who attended to learn more about being a better leader, even just a better version of themselves, fills me with joy and motivates me to be the best leader I can. It has been such a gift to learn from some of the greatest leaders in the world throughout the last eight years of my life, and I feel that God is going to use me to write and share stories as a way of giving back the wisdom that I have been so blessed to receive.
The Leadership Summit reminded me of a few things about myself that have felt dormant or they were the wrong way to think about myself, but to make things short and sweet, I want to share with you one particular story from this weekend.
To give a little background on this story, I have to share with you about last summer. I was meeting with my small group leader from church and she told me (as she always does) that I need to let me emotions be real. She also told me that I needed to watch the Brené Brown Ted Talk titled The Power of Vulnerability. When I heard that word, vulnerability, I rolled my eyes because that’s how indifferent I felt about it, but I knew I should watch it because first, I love Ted Talks and second, Kristin would be asking me about it the next time we talked.
I watched it. I watched it again. I laughed, I was angry, I was sad, I was so glad that Brené Brown is a real human being and admits her imperfections. Brené addressed that human beings need two things: love and a sense of belonging. Not only did I have a better understanding of myself, but a better understanding of other people and how important vulnerability is to each and every one of us. After seeing that Ted Talk, I told every single person I met that they too needed to watch this Ted Talk. Seriously, I was so annoying about it, I subtly shared it in one of my communication classes this last semester. I didn’t think I would ever meet Brené Brown, so I shared her with as many people as I possibly could because I believe that every person can benefit from watching her Ted Talk. In May, my dad sent me a list of all of the Summit speakers and Brené Brown was on that list!
Finally, it was the week of The Summit. I was so excited. I checked the event schedule and saw that Brené would be speaking in the morning on the second day. The day finally arrived and I was so excited. After the first session on the second day, there was a thirty minute break. During that break, I decided that just hearing Brené Brown would be cool, but being able to meet her would be sublime! I took the stairs down to the first floor and went into the main auditorium. I waited a while, because there weren’t that many people there. The entire time, I was thinking to myself: ‘Oh my gosh, I am such a creep right now.’ and ‘I should just go back up to my seat. Why am I even doing this?’ Then I saw not only Brené, but Shauna Niequist, one of my favorite authors, just walking and talking together. Two role models in my home church (well technically it’s Shauna’s home church more so than mine). I began to take little baby steps closer to the front of the auditorium. Baby steps turned into long strides and before I knew it, I was right in front of them both.
I could have said a million things, asked a million questions, but I was so humbled to even have gotten to this point, and all I could do was say thank you. I’m sure they receive thank you’s over and over again, and my thank you was no different and yet entirely different all at the same time. These two women have inspired me to be courageous rather than comfortable, vulnerable rather than closed off, that it’s not the critic who counts and to be myself over anyone else even when being myself makes me cringe. It was great to talk to Brené about her struggles with vulnerability and know that I am not the only one and that she is the voice of the millions that I just haven’t heard yet.
This experience has taught me impossible is nothing. We can achieve anything if we are persistent and persevere.
I believe there are times when God holds something out for me to just take a bit, and sometimes I do just take a bite, and then there are other times where God holds something out expecting me to take a bite, but is so satisfied seeing I swallowed the whole dang thing. This experience was a bite that I swallowed whole and I am so glad that I did. God knows my potential but more importantly He knows my heart.
This picture is blurry and quite silly because I was geeking out. But I know that one day I will be writing and sharing my stories just as these two wonderful women have done and continue to do: