Confessions of an Accidental Leader

Confessions of an Accidental Leader

Most people know me in the former role of senior consulting manager where I supported companies such as Hewlett-Packard, The Cola-Cola Company, and Kimberly-Clark helping them implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions throughout the US and UK.

Like many women I know, I never intentionally set out to lead others, it just kind of happened.

For more than 2 decades, I worked in fast-paced, high-demand, challenging work environments providing hands-on leadership and project management guidance to individuals, teams and client stakeholders as they embraced global organizational change initiatives.

In fact, when my company had a tough situation and they needed results, they would wheel me in!

Although challenging at times, I did my best work while building strong relationships with team members, and client partners by contributing to their personal growth and development.

Personally, my fulfillment came from helping amazing people discover they could do more than they thought was ever possible – despite the project snafus that would always magically appear at the 11th hour.

Guiding others through challenging timeline, morale and budget issues was the key to helping them achieve every deadline, milestone and goal to reap the well-deserved accolades and rewards on the other side.

Underneath it all, I came to realize that I’m really good at seeing the ability in people, challenging them and getting them beyond mindset and emotional barriers of the job at hand.

My story goes back a long way because throughout my life I was the underdog and always had to push myself.

Raised in the council flats (public housing) of North London, my strict immigrant parents impressed on me that as a child, my place was to be seen and not heard!

In school, I struggled because I would freeze every time I had to speak up in front of the class.

In college, I struggled from the pressure of being the first in my family to pursue a degree – It was so hard to keep up with the other students no matter how hard I worked.

In the corporate, I struggled to earn respect from my clients, because, at first glance, they didn’t believe I had what it took to manage high-functioning productive teams and deliver million-dollar projects on time and on budget.

With all of that, I still became successful and it was all because of one word “FOCUS!”
When it’s time to show up – I am all in.

Back then, it took me a while to find my rhythm as a leader, but eventually, it started to pay off.

Fortunately, I earned a lot of accomplishments throughout my career, and along the way, I became a lifelong learner – always looking for ways to improve.

Underneath all of this, my work required more and more of me mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I was traveling 100% – flying from city to city every week, working more than 60 hours a week and doing my best to balance a struggling relationship.

While everything looked rosy on the outside, there was a dark-side…and that was hitting burnout!

I know firsthand what it feels like be to overwhelmed, lose focus and no longer feel fulfilled by one’s career.

I found myself saying “Yes” when I really wanted to say “No”

Or saying “No” then beating myself up because I should have taken more time to weigh all the options!

To add fuel to the fire…I secretly found myself caught in the middle of the two voices in my head…

One voice made me think I was an imposter and I would hear things like…
“Who do you think you are?”

…and the other voice made me feel like Superwoman…
“Come, on, Lady, you got this! Let’s go…what’s next?”
Sure, the voices in my head were having a field day, but the fierce superwoman in me knew that something had to change – I was not ready to settle and there had to be more to life than feeling drained and dreading work everyday…right?

The fire in my belly was the signal to take back control!

I had no idea how it was going to happen, but I knew I had to find a way to use my skills, knowledge and strengths to serve more people and ultimately make a bigger impact in the world.

Having taken back control of my own life, I now work with clients just like this.

You see, most people think that women who lead just show up in the world as a ready-made high-achiever and they have it all together.

Sure, on the outside you show up strong, confident and successful, but the reality is, beneath the mask you feel disconnected, stuck and perhaps unfulfilled in your current role.

If you are focused on being successful in ways that you don’t even know yet, or if you have been amazingly successful but underneath it, you feel unfulfilled and you want more out of life (whether it’s figuring out your next role or leveraging your expertise to teach others what you know), then you and I should have a conversation.

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