Trauma And Leadership

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m both a powerful leader and also a person who realized and purged a metric fuckton of trauma in a relatively very short time and is still going through phases of separating herself from it in order to perceive the distance that will allow for more sovereignty and possibility.

That is to say, the more I do this work, the more space I allow from the past, the more clarity I’m able to create and the more powerfully I’m able to show up.

But it takes time and it’s exhausting.

The growth of myself as a leader and the realization of my trauma patterning are mirror alchemical forces that keep activating one another. Time to step up more? Time to play bigger? Great – what’s in the way? Oh shit, a fuckton of grief and fear. Ok, let’s have some compassion for that and – wow, things were really bad, weren’t they? How did I survive all that? What were the ramifications on my body? Where are the places where I’m still unconsciously carrying imprints from those times? What does it look like to free myself? What’s the possibility I haven’t been able to see yet?

And then the next thing you know I’ve taken an entire week to just FEEL and THINK and use plant medicines and regulate my body. And during that week I’m trying to balance caring for myself with being that leader that holds space for others, that can connect with compassion and be with people where they’re at, and sometimes there is just too much rawness and I fail to adhere to the standards I ultimately want for myself. I get it – progress, not perfection.

Deciding to commit fully to a coaching business because you’ve realized how much empowerment you’ve hacked for yourself and how much positive impact you can have teaching others to do the same means a lot of things, but one of them is that all of a sudden your Facebook feed is filled with a fuckton of content about how to make money as a coach. And everyone wants to make it look so simple. Just follow this simple formula and…

It gets overwhelming and in many cases my body puts hands over ears to shut out all the differing voices who all claim they have the proven formula and who all feel so hungry for my belief.

I’ve been allowing myself to immerse in this world, because being around less traumatized people who have made it their mission to help people like me succeed the way they do is undoubtedly a positive step. I’m proud of myself for making new and sometimes uncomfortable connections with people I might have previously judged for not understanding my pain, and, with that pain, a lot of complicated truths about what humanity is capable of and how bodies function. I’ve been allowing myself to just enjoy their friendliness and slowly start to let myself belong in their world. Because of course the end goal of releasing trauma is freedom and belonging. And honestly, it feels NICE to replace fear with friendship.

But there are times that my body is a full-on no to doing the things I’m apparently supposed to be doing.

I’m very aware that I’ve been stalled in my video content for close to a month now. I could prioritize this issue more fully if I wanted to – I could definitely breathe and set aside time and find places to be inspired for content and make some videos.

The problem is that I’d be making them as the person who DIDN’T prioritize this growth/rest incubator first, which means I’d be making space for an old version of me that I’m currently stepping out of. I’d be holding back my own growth as a leader.

I’m reminded of a story I heard last month about Dr. Sue Morter, author of The Energy Codes, who had a gigantic spiritual awakening experience the night before she was supposed to give an important talk. She got up before the audience and spent several long and uncomfortable minutes trying to find words, and couldn’t speak. Someone eventually explained to the audience and brought her offstage.

Now that story is one of the key points in her journey. Let’s say she might have had the ability to key in and fake it, as someone with my trauma-imprinted survival skill set generally does (I promoted my book during one of the worst depressive episodes of my life). Would that have been the best option for her work?

Or is it better to sit in the awe of speechlessness, waiting for the integration to take place so you can embody the information you’re meant to teach?

Was giving the talk more important than allowing the awakening?

When I prioritize following a business formula over waiting for my integration to complete, I am using the old version of myself to block the new version of myself from coming in. I am giving precious space to the past rather than the future. When I DON’T heed that call, I’m ignoring my soul and I’m not being authentic with the people I’m engaging with. This actually makes me less of the leader I want to be, because as we know, ignoring a soul call makes us irritable.

I binged both seasons of The OA this week on the recommendation of a dear client. It undoubtedly triggered a lot of the inquiries you’ve seen me post this week. I’m not ready to geek out on it with you all – the experience of watching it still feels extraordinarily tender.

[SPOILERS]

What I will say is that we get to see two versions of The OA through both seasons – one, Prairie, in which she was exposed to an extraordinary amount of trauma, and another, Nina, in which she was given every worldly advantage she could have wanted. Nina is an acclaimed medium, she hosts popular underground channeling nights, and she’s wealthy due to her social privilege, but she also drinks too much, irritates people, is deeply materialistic, and was complicit in a creative project that caused great harm. Prairie on the other hand changes people’s lives and inspires them to awakening just by meeting them, holding space for them, and telling her story. It was her trauma that awakened her angelic nature, and she changes people for the better just by allowing them to witness.

There’s just one problem: Prairie can’t run a business. It’d be impossible. She can’t even go out to a restaurant with her family without incident. She’s not even supposed to leave the house.

Balancing these two timelines within me is extraordinarily challenging at times.

Figuring out how to make space for my own growth that aids me in being a leader and isn’t just me avoiding responsibility is a fine line to travel. Most people I have encountered in the business world would not, I feel, approve of my decision to binge The OA three nights in a row instead of making their simple three-sentence post that is guaranteed to make me $10k in clients this month. (And yet the revelations that have come out of it – not to mention the mindblowing amount of angel synchronicities I received even yesterday alone – tell me that I’m onto something.)

So. I’m here. I’m doing my best. I’m committed to my growth, my authenticity, my embodied leadership.

And sometimes that means being honest about the fact that I’m having a moment of speechlessness. A moment that requires integration so I can become the next version of myself that I’m meant to be. A moment that has happened before in the past and will doubtless happen again, even though I’m now on a content schedule that the universe doesn’t seem to have a great deal of respect for.

My commitment is to stay present and honest through these times, even if they don’t look like what I think they’re supposed to, and to make sure that the needs of those who have chosen to engage with me are met with authenticity and compassion one way or another.

One day I’ll have a team to make sure everything is running smoothly based on my directives whether I’m feeling personally capable of executing them or not.

For now, I can promise that I will never compromise the real work in favor of showing up in a way that doesn’t feel right. There will be a day that that three-sentence formula post feels easier to write than this long-ass deep dive, but for today, this is what it looks like for me to embody leadership.

I can only lead the way down a path I’ve walked myself.

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