“I lay brick”

“I lay brick”

At 16 years old, while visiting my grandparents, I convinced my grandfather to drop me off at the nearby beach. He was reluctant, but agreed.

When, a few hours later, he returned to pick me up, there was a “young man” sitting on the edge of my towel. 

I remember it vividly. My Sicilian grandfather walked over, stood within a few inches of my towel, and without any introduction, said, “Young man, what do you do?”

The young man answered proudly: 

“I lay brick.”

After a brief pause, my grandfather motioned his head in a way that led with his chin. The young man was quick to be on his way.

Clearly, at least from my grandfather’s perspective, laying brick wasn’t good enough. Perhaps because we think that that job is a little beneath us, isn’t making a real difference, doesn’t require skill or education… none of which is probably true.

I hadn’t thought of this story in ages.

But after a recent coaching call with one of my clients, it popped to mind.

We were discussing approaches to put structures, systems, and policies in place to help ensure that her non-profit organization, a legacy-driven leadership mission, outlives her. 

I sometimes speak in metaphors on coaching calls. 

On this particular call, the power of laying one brick at a time to create something built to last served as a helpful reframe on some tasks that felt daunting, perhaps unnecessary, and wished to be avoided. 

Brick laying isn’t full of glory. It’s hard labor, exposed to the elements, hands in the dirt work that requires sweat equity to get the job done.

It’s worth noting too that people tend to dress up, applaud, and take photos to commemorate ribbon cutting ceremonies. But brick laying? Not so much. That’s the dirty work, often done by unsung heroes.

I think we need to celebrate the brick layers. 

Those who take the time to lay one brick at a time, to build something to last, are invaluable. Not to mention the fact that if the craft of brick laying isn’t done well and with skill and attention, ultimately, the foundation will crumble and the building will fall.

I’m not just talking about physical structures. A strong foundation is needed for everything and anything you value and wish to last.

Intentionally placed bricks create a strong ready-to-be-built-on foundation.

Taking the metaphor one step further, when it comes to dreaming your life to be what you wish and imagine it could be … guess what? 

YOU are the foundation that your dreams are built on.

Not unlike the foundation of a house, one key piece to the coaching I do is helping to really strengthen this foundation for and with you – and that, *is* YOU. Your feelings, your skills, your plans, your mind/body/subconscious getting fully on board to make your dreams easier to achieve.

This is so important because WITHOUT this foundation, when the “wind” blows … (say, an unexpected expense pops up, or you get a stomach bug and need to rest, or someone you love and trust tells you your dream isn’t realistic) … your dreams will still stand strong despite this. 

Recognizing that YOU are the foundation your dreams are built on, can lead to some powerful new choices. When you strengthen that foundation, your world expands.

With this approach, the foundation that is YOU is ready for the next layer, building further, and the next, and the next…

Brick by brick.

There’s so much pride and momentum to be found in the nitty-gritty, as you BECOME the strong, ready foundation for the life and the dreams YOU are building. 

While it may not be the work that gets all the glory, and it may not be the work that’s always fun, it is the work that sets the stage for your dreams. 

Your dreams need YOU.

Your dreams need you to lay the bricks, and become the person, and do the things that will ultimately support THEM.

And, I will happily be your foreman/forewoman. 😊

I will celebrate every brick you lay. 

So many people want to jump straight to the living-the-dream part. And while that’s amazing, it’s those solid bricks – stacked and secured with care and love and attention – that creates SUSTAINABLE dreams that are so much more fun to live in and build on. 

The right support and coaching helps ensure that you stay with it, manage your energy, stay nourished and clear on the goal, one step and stage at a time. This is what makes it possible. 

I am that coach and if this speaks to you, I want to help. 

I have openings now for my FREE Top Shelf Session with Tara Assessment, a 1:1 conversation where we will…get you clarity on your dreams, and create a strategic next steps plan with specific next action steps to get joyfully on track and deepen your awareness about how to magnify what’s working – and shift what isn’t – so you can create your desired future with clarity, confidence, and ease.

Go to www.sessionwithtara.com to grab one.

Apply the power of “laying brick” to your life, relationships, business, or anything else you want and value… and there will be many ribbon cuttings to come!  

What is the Opposite of Leadership?

I often think about, read about, talk, write – even speak – about leadership. It’s my work, my Masters degree, my curiosity, and my muse for so much of what I do and create.

Given how much there is to know, I also know how little I know. Good leaders are those who know that they don’t know everything and who, frankly, also know that they don’t need to. The best leaders are those with a sound sense of clarity about the inevitability of mis-takes.

1446464_1280x720Obama spoke to this in his 2016 DNC speech, pointing out that for those with the wherewithal to get “in the arena”, mistakes are “what happens when we try.” True words.

The opposite of leadership is not bad leadership.

There’s something called Servant Leadership (a great little book by that name was required reading in the Holistic Leadership Masters Degree program I graduated from. Robert K. Greenleaf is the author, and I encourage you to read it). ‘Servant Leadership’ is proof that leading from behind can be an extraordinarily powerful Model of Leadership, exemplifying the inter-dependent dynamics of leading and following.

The influence of servant leadership isn’t just evident in books and political arenas, it’s everywhere a lead-and-follow dynamic is. You can even, for example, see it on the dance floor of a salsa club. I say this as an admitted salsa dancing addict: Watch a couple dancing, a good lead and a good follow. Then, watch another salsa dance with a good leader but a poor follower; you can’t tell me that follower isn’t “leading”!

In any leadership “dance”, on or off a dance floor, the leader and the follower are inherently inter-dependent parties – not opposites. The opposite of leadership is not bad leadership, and the opposite of leadership is also not following, however good or bad. At Nomadic Leaders, we believe that the opposite of leadership is Spectatorship. The two are wholly incompatible. You simply cannot be a leader and always sit on the sidelines.

For all my faults and weaknesses, and however imperfectly I lead – and follow – on and off the dance floor … I make a point to live in the arena, not watch from the sidelines.

My qualifications on the subject of Leadership are growing and expanding rapidly and in real time.

Leadership roles aren’t new to me. As entrepreneur of a start-up for the last 12+ years, I’ve been the lead coach, mentor, and owner of my thriving coaching business … and there’s my formal education and training … and, a fun fact for you astrology and birth-order buffs, I am a Leo and first-born child (for better or worse, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are too).

Since early in my childhood I was frequently told I am “a natural leader.” It is true that my instinct has always been to lead. I was Student Council President. I was cast in leading roles in school plays. I was president of the AFS Club, and captain of the soccer and softball teams. Perhaps years of bossing my little sister around counts for something too. It was a rarity that, when given the possibility of leading, that I was not leading in some way. (In full disclosure, I was co-captain of those sports teams. The other captain was the “natural athlete” 🙂 ).

But I digress. What I want to share is this:

It is so important to know that there are many Models of Leadership. I spent much of my Masters Degree studying them, across cultures, and what is so *glaring* to me about the 2016 presidential election is seeing the various models of leadership at play. For example, Trump has said that, as a leader, Putin gets an “A”. And truth be told, when looking through the lens of a hierarchical, military-style, top-down Model of Leadership … he’s right! So would Hitler for that matter. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention here too, that even the “A” to “F” grading system lives within this model.)

Thankfully, this model of leadership is NOT the only onedespite the fact that those who work solely within this top-down leadership model would tell you that it is.

They’re wrong.

Ask a Native American tribe leader who is looking through the lens of a Consensus Model of Leadership, for example, to ‘grade’ Putin or Trump or Hitler or Kim Jong as leaders… and you will get a very different assessment.

Our 2016 presidential election is about so much more than The Donald vs. Hillary. It’s about which Models of Leadership we are willing to subscribe to, vote for, participate in – and which ones we won’t.

It’s about refusing to be a spectator, summoning the audacity of hope, and getting in the arena.

I believe in the power of people coming together to contribute to our world and to empower one another through collaborative leadership models.  I love supporting, coaching and nurturing those who are willing to get in the arena and lead – from the front, the side, and at times from behind.

The opposite of leadership is spectatorship. And the opposite of spectatorship is engagement.

Engagement, contribution and participation is what makes YOU a leader. Anchored by action, together we are forming a movement that others are inspired to follow, engage with, participate in, and contribute to. We are joining forces and aligning the power, potential, and momentum to nudge our planet forward. Let us move together in the direction of love, collaboration, teamwork and care for our human race and our planet. A dance, a lead and follow of Awakened People. Join us on this great journey together to see new places, in new ways. To make new discoveries, not only about the world, but about the intricate and expanding landscapes of your mind and heart.

YOU are a contributing part of this evolution and this awakening. Do not be a spectator. Do your part to engage and lead within our human family. Together we really are so much more.  Come and join forces with myself and other innovative leaders – alongside you, behind you, and in front of you.

==> How do YOU lead?
==> How do YOU follow?
==> Where in your life is it time for you to get off the bench and in the arena?