Authentic Leadership means being brave, humble, and vulnerable. The journey of leadership is one of self-discovery.
Authenticity is messy. Our journeys might be different, but our humanity is universal.
I realized the true meaning of authenticity when I faced my own adversity and connected with myself – In 2021 I went through a massive year of daring to discover where I came from and who I really was. I made peace with my past, made sense of the present, and made a new dream for the future. At the end of 2021 – 12 months later, The Freedom Bus was born. My book landed on my editor’s doorstep the day my Mum sadly passed away. It is a funny thing how life happens – as my beautiful Mum left me, the freedom bus arrived. I know she would have been so proud as she told me before she died.
The Freedom Bus is a memoir of my life and a journey from adoption to my true self. This is my story but it could have been yours. Our journeys might be different, but our humanity is universal.
Through self-discovery, we face adversity
As I traveled through the journey of self-discovery I had to hang on hard. Facing adversity is not an easy task. As I dug deeper and I got braver, my heart broke open slowly and I began to love myself. I stopped people-pleasing, over-giving, and apologizing for who I was. I worked through my darkest hours, breathing through the pain and hanging on for dear life. In my book, I’ve shared many things but kept a lot safe in a box. As an adoptee, I shared my journey from rejection to acceptance and although my story is personal, the process of self-discovery is universal. I shared the difficulties of being a single mother and the isolation of being a business owner, as well as the challenges of working life and the consequences of success.
People ask me, “what was it that changed you so much”? My answer, “I faced my demons and I healed my trauma” I did a healing job on myself. This might seem strange for some of you reading, but this is the truth. Authenticity is messy and the journey of self-discovery is the key to freedom and how I’ve got re-inspired.
Authentic leadership means following your instinct and opening up your heart.
As I uncovered my hurts and separated parts, I put myself back together again. Authentic leadership comes from mending your heart, not always listening to the logic in your head. We might have a good left brain but we are human beings, not task machines.
I am not the only one in this position, we are all frozen by self-doubt and the fear of being found out. Not making decisions from fear of making the wrong move. Ruled by our heads and what people expect. We are all lost little boys and girls trying to fit in and fight for what is right. For ourselves and for each other.
At age 51 I discovered I had ADHD. Before this, I never knew it existed. I was so ashamed, what would people think? At first, I was not going to admit it and definitely not disclose it in my book. Even the editor said, “I don’t think that will go down very well Jenny, this is a business book”. ADHD is just another example of a label of shame and stigma many of us have to face. When we have things that are less socially acceptable and not understood, it is difficult to admit to ourselves, let alone anyone else.
Freedom emerges from understanding
Learning about ADHD is just another part of me. It is not who I am, but it has helped me understand myself. I am a risk-taker, innovator, and entrepreneur. I am also highly creative, strategic and have boundless energy. with my newly found insight, I have unlocked my superpowers and released my leadership potential. Not a bad outcome from fighting adversity and never giving up on myself.
It took me 12 months and many sleepless nights to write and re-write the truth of my life. 12 months ago I had no clue where I would be today. The Freedom Bus. emerged from self-doubt and a lot of sleepless nights and I re-wrote 3 chapters about 5 times! Writing a book on my life was the hardest, but the best thing I’ve ever done.
So if you are in doubt, about finding more out about yourself. I say, “What are you waiting for”?
8 Freedom Bus lessons from the book https://www.feelgoodleadership.co.uk/project/the-freedom-bus/
Authenticity is messy. Hang on for dear life
Don’t try and be someone you are not
Surround yourself with positive, safe people
It’s never too late to change what you do
Do what you love. With people you love
Have a determined mind and never give up on yourself
Self-doubt is the fuel to fight adversity
Be brave. Be you.
At Feel Good Leadership, we work with high-performing executive leaders, managers, and teams to become more authentic, inclusive and nurture better relationships enabling collaborative and thriving workplaces. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a more authentic leader and engaging your whole workforce, please contact us about The Freedom Bus Roadshow https://www.feelgoodleadership.co.uk/project/the-freedom-bus-roadshow/
About the Author
Jenny Rossiter is an international executive coach and facilitator with a passion for weaving together the real human experience with practical science-based techniques to build authentic & inclusive leadership, emotional resilience, and mental strength. Jenny has spent a lifetime studying human behavior and more recently leading-edge neuroscience. She takes her clients through a journey of accompanied exploration in order to discover who they are and who they might become, as leaders, as teams, and as human beings.
Please contact Jenny for a discovery call if you are interested in working with her and her team https://10to8.com/book/feelgoodleadership/