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Stepping Out

Why I needed to step out to create a beginner's mind.

Is this the way?

Welcome to Lead with Grace! I am so happy you are here. Come, walk with me, through this new journey. I will be here cheering you on, as we take our single steps, together, always wrapped in the spirit of grace.

Expanding my classroom

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Chinese Proverb

Nearly fifteen years ago now, with excitement, fear, and hopeful energy, I taped a poster of the Chinese Proverb to my classroom door, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." You see, I was beginning my work as a high school English, public speaking, and theatre teacher. The phone call of the offer arrived just the evening before teacher workshop, which meant I would have just a few short days before my students walked through my classroom door. As I held that laminated black and yellow sign in my hands, so many questions rushed through my mind. What would I say? What would I teach? How would I present it? What if I make a mistake? What if get it wrong? What will the kids think of me? Would they like me? For all of my education and training, I still felt pangs of self doubt and vulnerability. I felt exposed, raw, like a rough stone waiting to be carved. I felt the sun on my back, streaming in from the window at the end of the hall. I felt the warmth of the light. I took a deep breath. No Michelangelo was coming. The artist was me. I could not see the whole journey; I felt unsure, but I could trust in the single step.

Stepping Out

With tears in my eyes and swirling emotion, I took that sign down off my classroom door this past June. A new first-year teacher, filled with anxious excitement, I'm sure, would take my room in the fall. I was stepping out yet again. In the fall I began a new teaching assignment in a different building, teaching writing, public speaking, and leadership skills specifically to students who plan to go into business.Through our client projects, we ask students to step out of their comfort zones, take risks, and communicate with the actual business community, which can be a pretty scary thing for a sixteen-year old. Heck, even some of us (me included) would rather order our pizza online than make a phone call to Dominoes. In the face of the uncertainty and messiness of real world problem-solving, I want to equip my students with the mindsets, communication skills, and resources to navigate these challenges. To be a better teacher though, I felt the need to once again be a student. Lead with Grace is my new unknown journey of a thousand miles.

Cheering You on

“I hope my reflections will inspire you to take action”

My hope is that for whatever season in life and leadership you are in, that Lead with Grace will be a companion for your walk. I feel called to once again to step into the vulnerability of the unknown. If I feel raw and exposed, I can better support those I teach, both in person and through this Lead with Grace community, to step out of their own comfort zones to lead wherever their feet may be planted. So often, we, as women especially, wait for permission to act and take action. If you need it, I am giving you permission! As I try strategies out of my library of leadership, personal development, speaking, and writing resources, I hope my reflections will inspire you to take action in a way that supports you along your own path of grace-filled leadership.

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