Thirteen years ago, I was working as a Director of Communication at a federal lab. It was one of the hardest times in my life. I’d done all the right things to grow my professional career, climbed the corporate ladder successfully, and was in a senior leadership position that afforded me the privilege of traveling a lot and sitting at influential tables. I was running press conferences for Prime Ministers and the like, dealing with media from all over the world… and I was miserable.
I was completely disillusioned with leadership. I’d loved the early days of my leadership journey when I had a great mentor/boss, but now I was stuck at leadership team meetings where everything revolved around science and nobody knew how to speak the language of the heart.
I started to look for inspiration and some hope that there was another way to lead. That’s when I came across the work of Christina Baldwin. I devoured her book Calling the Circle, and everything else I could get my hands on.
Sitting in my office in the lab, I had one of those trembling moments I’ve talked about before. I knew there was something really important about the work Christina was doing with her partner Ann, and I knew I had to be part of it. I set an intention there and then that I would learn all I could about leading from a place in the circle, and that I would study and work with Christina some day. Along with that intention was a little dream of spending time on Whidbey Island with them.
The next ten years were full of lots of darkness, growth, and stretching. I didn’t let go of the dream, but I often doubted that it would come true.
And then, finally, when I quit my job to jump into self employment, it was finally the right time to live out part of that dream. I traveled to Ontario to study with Christina. When I told her, in the opening circle, that her work had lit a candle in a dark place for me ten years earlier, tears filled her eyes.
Over the next three and a half years, circle became central to my work. Christina and I stayed in touch, and I kept dreaming of visiting Whidbey.
Well by now you know the rest of the story. I have come to Whidbey at Christina’s invitation, to sit in circle council with her and others, to sense into how circle can grow in the world and change conversations everywhere.
I feel deeply humbled and blessed by this incredible journey that has brought me here.
It’s the way of the heart, calling us to places we need to go. Sometimes it takes much longer than we want to get to the new place, but the journey is worth it. I wouldn’t have been ready for it thirteen years ago. I needed some seasoning and stretching. I needed to befriend grief in a deeper way. I needed to get lost and then find myself again.
I am ready now.
Are you on a similar journey, doubting whether you’ll ever get through the darkness? Take heart. Your heart will lead you where you’re meant to go.
If you need some guidance and support on that journey, consider joining Pathfinder Circle. It starts May 8th.
If you want to spend a day in circle with me and other amazing women, join us at Create and Connect. It’s happening in Winnipeg on May 24th.