Malawi – Story 2, The Awakening

The rain thrashed the tent all night and every rustle and snuffle from outside had me up and out of my bed. On one hand I was willing myself to peak outside in expectation of seeing something astounding and on the other hand I was afraid of the dark. I felt like a child.

Which wasn’t entirely a bad place to be, as the second day of our journey was the commencement of our leadership development in earnest. We needed to adopt a beginners mind and a childlike curiosity to maximise the potential of the opportunity we had been given. Beginners mind invites us to put aside the beliefs we hold, just for a moment. In this moment we have the opportunity to incorporate what we already know with what we gain from new experiences, particularly those where we are thrust outside our comfort zone. This is a critical step, as our beliefs shape our mindset, and therefore inform the life we live. We can choose to retain these beliefs or simply cast them aside.

On this day many of us “let go of the need to know” – enabling us to tap into other forms of multi-sensory knowing, such as our intuition. Many of us felt lighter once we had abandoned some of our presumptions and preconceptions and permitted ourselves the opportunity to learn.

And so our journey of personal insight and transformation began. Adopting the same methodology that our village partners use, we started the process of transitioning from “I can’t” to “I can” to “We can”.

A slow realisation dawned that now more than ever the world needs a new kind of leadership. Some may wish to describe this new leadership as being steeped in typically feminine traits. However as we would discover during the days that followed, the traits necessary for profound change are steeped in compassion, kindness, inclusiveness, courage and willingness – and are not confined to either gender.

We began to examine who we really are – not what our profession defines us as. We contemplated the tension that was emerging as we really challenged our thinking and our unconscious bias. We were encouraged to get comfortable residing in the tension as this was one of the keys to self leadership.

Before we can led others we must lead ourselves. This was the awakening.

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