Leadership Inside Out

Issue 25

Compost & Spring Blooms

April 30, 2024

Hi Reader, How are you?

Today’s newsletter is a little longer than usual. But I hope you get the chance to sit down with it and reflect on what experiences you might need to compost and the blooms it will lead to.

In 5 short days I will be giving the final keynote speech at the virtual Responsive Nonprofit Summit.

It’s kind of a big deal for me, here’s why:​

Flash back 13 years … I was invited to speak at the White House. The pictures look impressive and fancy but I was wrecked inside, it was a disaster.

My 3 minutes to introduce the organization that I worked for was a total flop! I had practiced a lot but as I got up to speak my introducer pretty much said everything I was about to say, just in 60 seconds, I tried to adlib my own talking points, I looked completely unprepared and it was not pretty.

I still remember the flood of shame and embarrassment. It was one of those shatter your confidence, feel like crap kind of moments. One of those bury and forget memories. I talked with no one about it and moved on the rest of my high intensity nonprofit job… but my body did not forget it.

About 3 years ago (a decade later) when I began to market my business and started coming up with new ideas about wellness and whole person leadership development the idea of public speaking bubbled up in a vision session.

In a moment the White House memory flooded my brain. My hands tingled, my stomach flipped. My mind wanted to quickly push past the idea and bury the discomfort of my past failure.

But this time, I had the tools as a certified coach, and an understanding of how the body remembers and recycles old emotions. I knew that as I sat with the emotion, let it be seen, and begin to reframe the experience I could shift away from fear. As I took deep breaths through the physical sensations of dread I began to unlock parts of my brain previously shut down.

In my mind I looked back at myself with compassion -a young professional -working so hard, wanting so badly to be accepted, and to feel worthy of the opportunities she was given or, as I should more appropriately say, that she had a part in creating.

Shame is a suffocating emotion; but through my personal coaching and development I had built the emotional capacity to see it and feel beyond it.

I stood next to my younger self gave her a big reassuring hug, took some deep breaths, broke open the bottled up fear and together reframed how she sees herself, her work and her ability to grow.

You might have your own hidden memories and the urge to move past or ignore old suffocating failures. It’s those memories that feel too emotionally charged to digest or try to rationalize your way through.

​The truth is, past challenges, fails and heart aches are always teaching us something… are you aware of the lessons your nervous system and mindset are feeling from the experience?

The Language of Flowers No. 1 Oil Painting on Canvas by Misako Chida

Rationally I had moved far beyond the fails of my young professional self, but the felt shame and embarrassment was as strong as ever subconsciously keeping me from taking action.

For a decade my nervous system held to the story that I was not capable until I had the tools and awareness to compost that garbage story and felt experience.

After reframing my White House moment I was given the opportunity to share about it publicly at a storytelling event. I began writing new stories and living with the awareness and emotional capacity to process any garbage experience and turn it into rich soil.

If you have been reading my newsletter for a while, you know that small speaking gigs and guest podcasting consistently flowers at the bottom of my newsletter. But you didn’t know the transformation or the soil that they grew from.

Reflection Questions:

  • Is an unprocessed experience causing you to second guess yourself, stay small or distrust others to the detriment of your goals?
  • Can you compassionately reframe a past failure, utilizing it to strengthen yourself?

I have found, it is in accepting ourselves and our fears we then get to unlock new levels of capacity and energy for our vision.

I help my clients extend compassion to themselves and expand their capacity with joy and ease. I do this only from a place of going first. Are you curious how coaching could change your life? A discovery call is an open door moment of new possibilities. I’ve got you and I look forward to connecting.

You’re Invited: Join me for my Keynote Debut

Registration is free and the replay is available within the airmeet platform. Make your way to the main stage, May 9th at 1pm CST.

Con Amor, Sonya​

Overheard on a coaching session:

“I tend to forget how far I’ve come and to remember all the reasons I have to celebrate.” As your coach I get to remind and celebrate with you. Giving you perspective and energy to keep going. 🎉