Real leaders who embody real lives – that’s what our clients need.
Last year I was with my best friend, one of the people I adore most in the world, and I could see that the pandemic, the containment that came with it, was getting to him. I felt that the enthusiasm I know exists in him was dying out. So, I came up with the idea of crossing things off our bucket list – that list of things and experiences we want to do before we die that we tick off one after another once we’ve done them.
For starters, did we have a bucket list? No. Neither he nor I had thought of making such a list. We knew what they were, but we’d never taken the time to really think about them (that’s the kind of thing you see mostly in movies or on Facebook!).
Like most people, I realise now…
Why a “bucket list”?
The further I go in life, the more mature I become, the more I live my life as I want to tell it to myself when I’m old. Teasingly, I often ask to my clients “what do you want to tell yourself when you’re 85 in your rocking chair?”!
In almost every sphere of our lives we plan for the end result:
- When we build a house, we detail every room, right down to the placement of furniture, the colour of the walls, etc., before
- When we go on vacations, we do our research about places we want to visit or activities to do. So, we build our memories even before we set out.
Think about the projects you undertake; you probably always have the end in mind, except for our life.
What memories would you like to create as a take-away from your life?
Convert to a “list of experiences I want to live this year”.
Although I love the idea of the bucket list, I have turned it into an annual “experience list” in line with my theme for the year.
Every year I give the next 365 days a theme that will be my guideline for the year. For example, my theme for 2021 was “Dare” (and boy did I dare to do a lot of things that year!). For 2022, my word is “Connection” (which explains why I offered several masterclasses this year, to connect with people!).
Then I make a list of 101 things I want to experience in relation to my theme for the year. I can already hear you saying “Wow Sara, 101 is a lot”. Indeed, it is a lot, but that’s the point! In 101 experiences, there are small, medium and big ones.
The famous bucket list, we only think about it with big experiences: going skydiving, going to French Polynesia (my dream!)… To perform big actions, we must train our brain to dare small experiences.
And you, what is your year’s theme and what 101 experiences would you like to live?
From 101 experiences to embodied leadership
What’s the link between the bucket list, the 101 experiences for the year and your business?
The answer: modelling.
For me, a leader is someone who shows the way, who opens the door to the world of possibilities, who embodies a reality that I would like to achieve in my own life.
Embodied leadership is exactly that. To open the door to the world of possibilities for our clients. My motto “because so much more is possible” is much more than a marketing tagline. It’s my intrinsic mission, it’s the difference I want to make in the world, it’s the mark I want to leave (because I find that we limit ourselves so much in life!)
And to do that, I can’t just say “let’s go, everything’s possible”, I have to embody it! I have to do it from a visceral, not a cerebral space. To be a leader is to model the path, not to dictate a path that we have never taken personally.
Embodied leadership is:
- To take the decision to move client meetings to fulfil a dream I had of going to a 10-day silent retreat. And see my clients happy for me, which, in turn, made them wonder about the dreams they too would like to fulfil.
- To go ice-climbing then share the lessons of courage, fear, letting go that I learned and create a moment of introspection about their own fears, courage, letting go.
- To not have meetings before 10am, because it’s my family time or reading time, which shows them my values and makes them question their own values.
And what’s fascinating is that now my clients don’t have business meetings until 10am – they take that time to work on their business, read for pleasure or do things that are meaningful to them. They get out there and eventually take a trip or do something they had on their “maybe one day” list.
We often look for how ways to motivate, influence, inspire our clients, we look for techniques, tactics, strategies. But the truth is that, it all starts with embodied leadership.
What is the idea behind the list of 101 experiences?
First, for ourselves. To create the life we want to tell ourselves when we are 85 and in our rocking chairs! And to regain our own enthusiasm.
Secondly, for our clients. To show the way, to be living proof that of what is possible. This increases their loyalty exponentially, because we are a reference for the realisation of their projects, goals, desires and aspirations.
Thirdly, for our potential clients. To embody the true transformation we offer and to stand out from other professionals who do the same work as we do and who only communicate information.
So, my invitation to you today… change your to-do list to a bucket list, it’s good for your life, it’s good for your clients’ lives and it’s good for your business.
You have an embodied leadership role to play.
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