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.┬áIt’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.