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What Story Are You Telling? A personal reflection on leadership

By February 10, 2015Blog

Sometimes when I’m sitting at an airport at 5 in the morning, watching the sun come up over planes on the runway, I have a pretty indescribable feeling. It’s a mixture of disbelief, excitement, loneliness, faith and sadness.

This morning, as I sit at Canberra airport, the words for this blog are finally coming to me. I’ve been blocked for a while now – perhaps because I’ve had some experiences lately that words just don’t do justice to. The theme of the past 7 days for me has been trust. As soon as I got to Byron Bay – to the house I held my staff retreat at – magic was in the air. I got an instantaneous rush of adrenaline over me. I knew in that moment that things were never going to be the same. I knew it was time to finally let go. It’s difficult to know sometimes when to “let go” – especially considering, more often than not, the things that are weighing you down are not tangible. It’s not as simple as clearly out an old wardrobe or selling your car. This was about a shedding of the skin – a rebirth. A cycle completing itself. I had to let go of the story I’d identified with for a long time.

Why? Because now, it wasn’t about me – it was about my tribe. It was time for me to detach completely from the self and embrace the collective. Everything was coming together perfectly – effortlessly. As if this journey had been written in the star ions ago. I saw a tribe of other incredible humans taking the spirit of who I was at 18, founding Rogue & Rouge, and passionately embodying it – understanding and expressing it.

Every minute that passed during the retreat I felt my spirit unlocking itself a little bit more. I was purifying myself, coming closer to a place of complete trust that the people around me were the right ones to carry on this message. It wasn’t until now that I felt like I was the leader I wanted to be. I always struggled to find a balance, I questioned the separation between personal and professional integrity, I unknowingly would seek connection and wholeness through others instead of finding it within myself. I wasn’t able to offer myself compassion and love when I messed up. For this reason, the world reflected the same loneliness I felt inside. I held onto a story that I was a lonely warrior, fighting for truth against a hateful world. 

Releasing myself from these shackles has given me so many gifts; but in particular, it’s helped me realise that when you connect to what your souls mission is – it will always, always be bigger than you. Let it go. All that sense of self, all that ego. Relinquish it. Give up the control. I embodied a true knowing that I do not require personal validation – that I can in fact feel validated through all the reflections of myself I see in others. Others wins, accolades and achievements. 

After leaving the incredible container we created over the team retreat, I jumped on a flight to Canberra. It’s always a shock to the system to go from being a team mate (never really seen as a ‘CEO’ by my team – they bring me down a notch or two) – and really, a cheeky 22-year-old, to “Commissioner Gibson”. Usually when I get to my hotel room at the end of a night in parliament or a corporate dinner, I find myself feeling a sense of emptiness. I usually tell myself the story of: “who’s around for you to share this with?”. Fortunately, I’ve been able to change my story. I’m here to make a pretty profound change, and I am enough. And so are you, whatever it is that you dream. You are enough. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a 17 year old with a notepad, and now I’m a commissioner writing this as I’m watching the sunrise over my plane. When you follow your heart, when you’re brave enough to follow your dreams the world will take you on the most bizarrely unique and crazy adventure beyond your wildest imagination. And you know what; when you’re at your prime, and you’re reflecting by yourself – know that you are enough. You don’t need others to understand that journey; you understand it… others feel it – and that’s your gift to them. To help them FEEL.

Onward and upward. Remember; when you smile, the world smiles.

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