U2 at Madison Square Garden

Realizing Greatness

It was just over a year ago that I attended my first U2 concert – The Joshua Tree tour, in Chicago. That concert catapulted me into a bout of emotion-laden tears, and with a burning desire to re-explore my creativity. That concert was actually the inspiration behind and launching point of “Leading with Love.”

Why? I often think about what touched me so much that night at that concert. And I realized it was because I was in the presence of greatness. Four guys from Ireland who got out of their own way and just let their hearts lead them to do what they were born to do (not to mention, they seem to be loving it along the way). They remained committed to their path, and only continued to get greater at what they do (inspiring so many through their craft). The band is still together after 40 years. How inspiring is that????

I was blessed enough to be able to see them again live last week at Madison Square Garden in NYC (the tickets were a Christmas present from my wonderful boyfriend). I was so excited to see them again, and it was everything (and more!) than I hoped it would be (I was sitting second row, right next to The Edge – my fave!). Aside from being Uh-MAZE-Ing…. it didn’t hit me until a few days later, after arriving back home, how badly I NEEDED that “U2 therapy” to re-inspire myself. It’s been about nine months since my last “Leading with Love” post (shameful). Why? I gave up. I did NOT stay committed. I could never decide what to write because nothing seemed good enough, interesting enough, powerful enough (you get the picture). I certainly wasn’t getting out of my own way (Thanks U2, for that reminder) and letting my heart lead. I let my head dictate instead.

Anyway, to my point. I do not see myself as one of the “great ones.” But after some post-U2 reflection, I have come to understand that everyone has greatness inside of them. EVERYONE! (Isn’t that great news!). The challenge is realizing that greatness inside yourself, and untapping it to live your full potential and purpose. So. Here’s to the start of getting out of my own way and realizing my greatness. And, Here’s to everyone else out there looking to realize their own greatness! I’m right here with ya!

Joy, Love

Stop Lying to Yourself

Honesty. It’s easy to recognize the value of honesty. Honesty earns you the title “trustworthy” from others. Honesty provides a crucial foundation for solid and healthy relationships. Honesty validates your integrity. Honesty always leads you down the right path. I am willing to bet that you would say that you value honesty. I bet that you would also consider yourself an honest person.

Stop lying to yourself.

Literally. I mean it.

I consider myself an honest person. I feel guilty telling even a little white lie. I am as honest as I possibly can be with my feelings. I hold honesty at the top of the list in terms of my core values. But I was hit today with a big fat truth that wasn’t easy to stomach. As honest as I aim to be, I lie to myself. A lot.

My lies often come in the form of sentiments like “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t fit in.” When I’m faced with something I want to succeed at, I sometimes lie to myself and tell myself that I will fail – before I even get started. I know I can’t be the only one out there that tells these stupid lies.

If we can see the value in honesty toward others, we also need to recognize the value in speaking truth to ourselves. Tell yourelf you are loveable, capable, smart, strong, worthy….and quit lying to yourself.


Leading with Light

I was at an event last week that featured a panel of speakers. The event was held in a large room, full of windows and flooded with light. I couldn’t help but be drawn to a long shadow that was cast across the floor – a shadow of the panelists. Every single one looked identical. In the shadow you couldn’t see skin color, gender, religious beliefs, political affiliations, clothing style, sexual preference, or age. All you could see was a human form.

What a powerful illustration, I thought, in regard to how we view others, and in regard to how we lead with love. “Leading with Love” is essentially “Leading with Light.” It’s being bold enough to shine our own light and share that with others. And when we cast our light on others by treating them with kindness, patience, love, and the like, it becomes harder to see the differences between us. What’s cast off of a person when you shine your light on them is their human form.

It’s much harder to judge someone when all you can see is their humanness. It’s much harder to hate someone when all you can see is their humanness. It’s much harder to fight with someone when all you can see is their humanness. It’s much easier to love someone when all you can see is their humanness.

When we are stripped down to our humanness, or our core, we are much more similar than we are different. At our core, I think we are all really looking for the same things: to be loved, to belong, and to feel connected. And when we can see that first in others, before our differences, it’s a beautiful thing.


Believe the Best

Belief plays a large role in “Leading with Love.” Our beliefs determine our reality: our present and our future. If you believe you are blessed, you’ll never feel like you’re lacking anything. On the flip side, if you believe you were dealt a bum hand in life, than that’s the life you’ll have. **Sidenote and moment of brutal honesty: as I am writing this, I am struggling to fight the belief that I wasn’t made to blog.

Beliefs don’t just affect our outlook on life and our situations. They affect people too, and our ability to connect with others and build relationships. We have to believe the best in people too. My boyfriend and I were on a train the other day and were blessed to be sitting next to a transit cop who shared a wonderful story with us about a young man who he had met on the streets. He ended up becoming a mentor for this young man and helped him turn his life around – they now keep in touch regularly. Instead of writing this young man off as a lost cause, the officer looked at his individual situation and offered a little tough love and encouragement instead. The officer refers to his method of policing as “enforcing with compassion.” I call it “believing the best.”

It’s easy to believe the worst in people, and that belief could be based off of one short misrepresentative interaction. The mom with an unruly child (bad parent). The quiet person at work (b*tchy and anti-social). The person with the opposing viewpoint (stupid – and wrong). The teenage kid who makes a bad choice (lost cause). The list could continue.

But here’s the beautiful thing. It’s just as easy to believe the best in people (and ourselves!). Noone is perfect, and everyone struggles with something. Sometimes, the difference between a bad day and a great day for someone can be as simple as one person choosing to believe the best in them. Be that person. Believe the best!


Making Ripples

MakingRipples-01One of the most important components of ‘Leading with Love’ is the people that we interact with. When we choose to ‘Lead with Love’ we have three main audiences to consider: our self, our inner circle, and our outer circle.

  1. Our self: This just might be our hardest audience. At least it is for me. ‘Leading with Love’ in the way we treat ourselves requires that we abandon negative self talk, and those unsavory feelings like guilt, fear, unworthiness, etc. It also requires that we go easy on ourselves, and redefine “perfection” as “doing our best.”
  2. Our inner circle: Our inner circle consists of our loved ones and those close to us: our spouse or significant other, children, other family members, and close friends. ‘Leading with Love’ with this audience requires selflessness, and a whole lotta patience!
  3. Our outer circle: Our outer circle includes our acquaintences and the rest of the world! ‘Leading with Love’ with this group is all about the energy and attitude we project into the world.

When we start at the center (with our self) it creates a ripple effect outward. When we choose to treat ourselves more lovingly, we become better equipped to share that love with our inner circle, and project more love into the world (which is what the world needs, in my opinion!).

Get out there and make some ripples!


Leading with Love: “the why”

I’ve been sitting here wondering what to write about in the inaugural “Leading with Love” blog post, and I have decided what better thing to start with than why I am doing this. Bear with me.

There’s always been an element of struggle in my life. On and off I have struggled with things like making connections, my self confidence, depression and anxiety, negative self-talk, finding my purpose in life, and the like. All of these struggles, when I allow them to lead, really drag me down and send me into a negative tailspin. The only remedy, I’ve learned, is to “lead with love.”

Furthermore, I have learned that I am not the only person in life that struggles from time to time. And I started thinking that if I “lead with love” more frequently and intentionally in my interactions with others, maybe I can help ease the burden of their struggles, and infuse joy into their lives.

That is “the why” behind “Leading with Love.” To help. To inspire. To encourage. To pursue purpose. To cultivate joy.