Updated: Sep 9, 2020
I remember stepping out of the meeting and hearing a voice on the other side of the phone say..Kelly has passed away. I felt a sudden sharpness in the center of my chest as I steadied myself against the wall outside of my meeting and took a deep breath so that I could finish the last leg of the agenda. This was the third person in my life that had been diagnosed with cancer within in a three year period and the second to pass away. I'd experienced this type of pivotal moment before in my life-where things get very clear really fast-and this was another one of those moments. In that moment I knew five things:
I knew that I needed to take a courageous leap of faith to say Yes to Me. I knew that I had been moving a million miles a minute, hadn't practiced self-care in service to moving important work, and that this call could have been about me;
I knew that I desired to fully align my gifts, talents, values, approach, and heart;
I knew that this moment was calling for me to be a gamechanger and supporting others in amplifying their superpowers;
I knew that my work would now explicitly sit at the intersection of community economic development, education, health and well-being, and leadership development; and
I knew that I was saying yes to supporting systems change from a different vantage point and yes to experimenting and retooling to have greater and deeper impact to solve some of the most vexing issues facing our country. The universe sent a powerful signal that something had to change. I couldn’t play it safe and it had to start with my ability to activate myself and put things in motion to be "purposefully aligned."
This speech marked the beginning of this shift and my year long journey of moving "purposeful alignment" from the fringes of my life to the center. By centering this important work as a critical non-negotiable in my life, I was activating a series of YES's and creating clear boundaries with my NO's regarding approaches, filters, pain, people, institutions, and situations that caused disorientation and distraction. While sending a strong signal to myself and others that this moment in time was calling us all to be bigger than ourselves and to move from a posture of stretching to being gamechangers towards addressing complex social change.
Only in this sacred space of “purposeful alignment” was I able to begin to see clearer and navigate unchartered waters through an unwavering faith walk -which at times was scary, frustrating, and offered a new level of freedom that is hard to put into eloquent words or emotions. Consequently, gifting so many beautiful lessons, new found creativity, and comfort with trusting of my instincts in a new way, recognizing my own vulnerability, and necessary healing.
This rich path of "purposeful alignment" allowed for the emergence of some of the biggest and boldest bright spots that will forever serve as important anchors in my leadership as I move forward to support organizations, networks, and movements that are committed to addressing complex social change.
These important nuggets include understanding the importance of the collective and being present with family and friends that have had an unwavering love and commitment to me. Honoring those that have served as an unapologetic force in ensuring that I was whole, healed, and positioned right where I needed to be in each moment along the way. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of people that showed up for me, covered me, created space in new places for me, and who vouched and protected my reputational capital as I moved along this journey. As I reflect on the "power” and "unrelenting force" of my community, I can only humbly thank you and scream from the mountain tops how sacred, appreciated, and valued you are to me.
As well as the importance of creating and protecting space to mind those tender spots that we all must constantly mind in order to show up as our best selves towards thinking bolder and dreaming bigger about what is possible. In this space of asking the question what if, I was allowed to explore and adopt new practices of intentional self-care that included dropping down into rest and respite without apology. As well as embracing new routines that value slowing down and centering of self and health toward having greater impact and clarity. I am forever grateful for everyone’s grace, patience, tough love, and holding space for me as I clumsily explored, tested, and leaned into much of this work.
Finally, the intentional process to interrupt old stories and narratives-you know those conversations in our head that often instill fear, paralyzes us, and keeps us from being bolder and fully stepping into our leadership. It’s so interesting how words and fleeting thoughts can have such power over us and dictate our actions and vision for the future. Taking control over my narrative and shifting my own mental models has created a strong foundation for what's to come in 2020.
It's my hope that this reflection resonates with many of you and that you are willing to create intentional space with us over the course of 2020 to:
Purposefully Align yourself,
ReSET your story, and
reach a new level of constant and fluid FLOW
Starting in 2020, we will offer a unique series for change agents and leaders who desire to strategically position their leadership, voice, and efforts through doing the hard work of purposeful alignment. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, visit my website and sign-up for my mailing list to receive additional details in early 2020. I'm looking forward to supporting you on this important journey.