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Welcome to the Uncensored Empath, a place for us to discuss highly sensitive energy, illness, healing, and transformation. My name is Sarah Small, and I’m a life and success coach for empaths who want to create a thriving body, business, and life. Think of this podcast as your no-BS guide to navigating life, health, and entrepreneurship. You’ll get straight to the point, totally holistic tips from me, in real-time. As I navigate this healing and growth journey, right beside you. This is a Soul Fire Production.
Welcome back. Or maybe it’s your first time ever tuning in to the podcast. If so, welcome for the first time, I want to have an important conversation today. Something that’s been really on my mind and on my heart for most of last year, and especially the beginning of this year. And it is around the essence of true leadership. So most of last year I was actually working with a book coach. And as many of you know, I published a book at the end of 2019 called, ‘21 days of Healing’.
That’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Balboa Press. And this past year, I just felt this new book, starting to form inside of me. And so, I worked with a book coach to formulate exactly what the message was. And it’s been coming together really beautifully, slowly but beautifully. And I can’t wait to share more about that as it starts to take more form this year, 2021. But as I was asking myself, these really hard questions about leadership and reflecting on the chapters and outline of this book, I realized that this word, ‘leadership’, the way I was describing it was not the way I was seeing it on the planet. And so, I was tempted to make up a whole new word that really captured what I was trying to say, and the message I was trying to get across.
And I haven’t figured out what that word is yet. So I’m going to stick with the word ‘leadership; today. But I’m going to talk about it in a way that maybe you haven’t considered quite fully yet either. So what is leadership? What do we think about, right now? Many of my clients see leadership through a masculine lens and they see leaders as those who take charge, who boss people around, who make all the decisions, or tell people what to do. But that is an outdated paradigm. And it clearly has not been working, but here’s where I want to also be clear. It doesn’t mean that we have to swing to the complete opposite direction or side of the spectrum, like you may think. It doesn’t mean that we have to lead only from our feminine soul. And instead, the essence of truly embodied grounded leadership comes from a blended approach.
So this conversation is actually one that I had yesterday inside of my private membership empath leaders (The Empath Leaders Membership). And I was reminding them in this conversation that they’re in a membership for leaders. And so I invited them to reflect for a moment on how they were showing up in a leadership role in their life. And I want to do the same thing for you. This conversation was powerful and not everyone was able to be on the call. Which actually is what inspired me to just record it as a podcast today. So ask yourself, how are you showing up in leadership in your life today, right now, currently? And notice if the way you answer the question is still from the predominantly masculine lens. So the internal dialogue may have sounded like, well, I’m not the boss of anyone. I don’t have the title of manager. And see how you’re applying this to your work life.
And maybe that’s an association you make between leadership and Oh, well, it must be associated with. Or the way I’m a leader must be in my work, in my profession, in my career. So that’s a limited way of seeing leadership. Or maybe, on the other side, you say I’m a leader in my family and the role that I play in my family, or as a mother. That’s not a bad thing, either. Both of these things are beautiful ways to step into leadership. But in the second instance, I just want to call out that maybe you’re looking at the lens of a woman on this planet in a more traditional role. And that’s the role that I’m supposed to play. So what else? Let’s expand our idea of leadership. And I challenge you to think of how your being a leader outside of work and family.
How else are you showing up and embodied leadership? And I want to break something down with this question. How are you in leadership with yourself? So notice that word leadership. It’s not so far off from relationship, but instead of relating with yourself, you are leading yourself. So how have you been leading yourself? I want to share a story with you. I’ve been attracted to leadership since I was really young. And as a child, I certainly did not understand the concept of leadership. I don’t even know what that word meant, but I was already practicing it in a very masculine, guided way. So I told all the Empath Leaders members about this last night, we talked about how I ran the neighborhood games. We were still using house phones and I would just call up all the different families.
Because we had a lot of families with kids and multiple kids in our neighborhood. It was a small neighborhood, but there were a lot of us. I’ll call these different houses, can so-and-so come out to play? Can you guys come out to play? We need five more people for capture the flag, or kickball, or a soccer game in the backyard. And I would bring people together. I noticed that I was really keenly aware of making sure everyone was included. And I would often pick the game that we were going to play. If no one could decide or had an opinion. Because we had a whole slew of games that we would go back to and they were like our favorites. And, as I thought about this, I reflect on myself and I was borderline bossy for sure.
So then we move into high school. And my sophomore year, I was 16 years old. I won a Leadership Award for my school, and disclaimer, I’m pretty sure it was just because I was overly involved. So I was in all sorts of extracurriculars and I was on the soccer team, and a part of these clubs, and I volunteered every opportunity I could get. So when I attended this leadership conference, what was part of winning the award is, you got sent off to leadership camp. It was a three-day camp at a local college. That was part of being the recipient of this award. So I came together and I spent these three days with hundreds of other Michigan, because that’s where I grew up, Michigan high school students that were around my age. And what blew me away was that none of the workshops, none of the speakers that we listened to, or had conversations around, talked about leadership as being bossy.
Like I sometimes was, as a child. It also wasn’t about making decisions for other people, like I would often do. Especially, being the oldest of four kids too. It wasn’t about being in charge all the time. And it also wasn’t about being in every social club, and extracurricular, as well as involved in sports, whatever the high school had to offer. That’s not what it was about. There wasn’t any conversation about any of this. They weren’t saying go sign up for more stuff, boss people around, make all the choices, make the decisions, tell people what your opinion is. No, instead it was a weekend of conversations about, and with ourselves. It was a giant mirror that we got to hold up to our face, and look ourselves intimately in the eye and ask the hard questions. Which honestly, at 16 years old, I had never done before. I hadn’t even thought about doing. And these were questions like, who are you? I don’t know how to answer that.
What are your values? What do you care about? What are your boundaries? Where do you choose to exert your energy? What inspires you deeply? And for me, I asked myself where have I gotten caught up in the titles, and accolades, and wanting to be seen at the detriment of staying true to myself? Where do I feel shame and how is fear in the underbelly of what I do, or do not do on this planet? How is fear actually in the driver’s seat? And these last two questions were from a specific speaker who knows what he’s doing now. But I remember this day with him, and these were just simply questions that I never thought I would have to ask myself. So I just didn’t put any intention there, but I can honestly say that the timing of these questions for me, in my life, really changed a lot.
It opened up my eyes to the way I was living my life, and the way that I was, or was not truly being a leader. The first question he asked was if you had one day to live, what would you do? I’m sure you’ve heard that question before, but have you ever actually considered what your answer is? You have one day, how would you spend it? I don’t think I even really cared about trying to answer that question until I experienced sudden loss. And what I learned about grief is there are all sorts of grief. And within that, there are different types of loss. One of the categories of losses, sudden loss, the loss where you get the phone call and the person is just gone. They were there one moment and they were not the next. And this happened as you guys know, if you’ve been listening with both of my brothers gone instantly, no goodbye.
And so, I started to take this question seriously and actually think about what would I do if I had one day. The other question is, if things, meaning material things, objects, our belongings in life were totally obsolete, did not matter. How would that free you up for more connection to people? What else would that free up for you to do, be, have, create, connect, have impact on, shower with love? So, yes, 16-year-old, Sarah was definitely caught up in some materialism, but there’s parts of me now, that still get caught up in the scroll of Instagram ads because they’re so tailored to what I want, what I’m interested in. But what if none of that shit mattered? What would that open up for you in your life? These were questions that I had never asked myself before, let alone tried to answer or even had an answer for.
And so in that moment, I had this huge wave of guilt smack me in the face. And I thought I’m a horrible person for focusing so much on me, me, me, and the way that I am seen in the eyes of others. So I thought, what about me for myself? Not just the way I’m perceived or seen by others. But how do I see myself? What does it mean to be in leadership with myself? And p.s. I wasn’t actually a horrible person, and your not a horrible person if you’ve had these thoughts, but that’s just what I was thinking. Like 16-year-old Sarah was thinking. And I’m glad I had that thought, honestly, because it opened my eyes up to what could change. To lead myself versus living from the seat of other’s perceived expectations of me. So for me, that was often or primarily what my dad wanted me to be, do and have in my life.
But my mom, which was different, what my mom wanted me to be, do and have in my life. And then my grandfather had a big influence on my life, and the trajectory, especially in my education. So what does he want me to be, do and have with my life, versus what do I want with my life? What if there were no expectations from those people? What would I desire? How would I lead myself to it? So here’s what I took away from that weekend, 17 years ago. That has obviously, stuck with me, but also changed the trajectory of leadership and being in leadership with myself. How this has changed me, shifted things for me? This is what I took away. The essence of true leadership does not come from the external prize. The essence of true leadership comes from within. The essence of true leadership does not come from the external prize. The external prize to me was the awards, the accolades, the good job Sarah, the pat on the back, the, you go girl, the gifts, the being seen, the materialism. The essence of true leadership comes from within.
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So let’s talk about four of the components that I see as the essence that makes up the essence of leadership that I now practice in my life. The first is having a mission. This is rooted in who you are, what are the values that guide your life? So our values very much shape who we are in our identity. Who we are in our identity has a major impact on what we care about, what we stand for, and the mission that we choose to accomplish on this planet.
Your mission is going to be completely unique to you. It’s not that somebody else doesn’t care about the same area or topic within the world, but your mission, your part of that is going to be different than theirs. It is what you stand for and it is what drives your business growth. So my question is, what is your mission? Give yourself some time to ponder that and to get clear on that.
The second essence is sovereignty. This is the ability to govern yourself. It’s independent thinking and empowered decision-making. And sometimes that means making the hard choices in life that not everyone is going to agree with you on, but it is what you feel is right for you. It is also knowing yourself, especially knowing yourself enough to be able to confidently make those independent decisions, choices, and be able to take a stand when you do feel it’s important.
It is self-governing, your energy, your thoughts, your beliefs. So my question for you is, how have you expressed your sovereignty lately? Or maybe you haven’t, maybe in the past year, especially you’ve been really influenced by groupthink, and the news, trying to fit in, trying to stay small, trying to protect yourself. And if that’s the case, how would you like to express your sovereignty? What would you shift there?
The third essence here is embodiment. This is being a full-body yes to your mission, your message, your teachings. And when you are making those decisions, a full-body yes, it is living your truth. And it plays into our integrity as a coach, or healer, or practitioner, or whatever you call yourself. To be in integrity is to also live as an embodiment of your mission and message. And it’s something that you don’t necessarily see, but you feel, and I know I’m talking to empaths on this podcast.
So, you are very familiar with feeling and others can feel it in you. So, we might say it, Oh, I see her so embodied in her mission, she looks so embodied, but probably what you really mean is you feel her energy as embodied. They also feel it when you aren’t embodied or there’s a disconnect, whether we can identify what it is or not. So my question is, what is an example of how you embody your teachings, whatever you share or are sharing with the world? And how would you like to deepen that level of embodiment, so that people definitely feel it from you?
Our last, fourth essence of true leadership is mastery. And this is a dedication to your art. Whatever your art is. Is watering the roots of your tree so you can grow, and seeing your gifts, and not being afraid of them. It is the bravery to be curious, explore, practice, and continue to question. If I had to wrap this up into one sentence, I would say, mastery is being in the practice of your practice. It is not being perfect at something. And instead, this dedication to the art, the practice of watering the roots, to the curiosity, the exploration that helps you continuously grow and expand into deeper levels of mastery. So my question to you is, what is one thing, just choose one thing this year, that you can dedicate yourself to, that will lead to a greater level of mastery? If you want to pick more, wonderful, but just start with one thing that you can dedicate yourself to.
So I hope you can see how this style of leadership, these four components I just discussed when blended together, are also a blended approach of the masculine and the feminine as well. It does not operate from a purely masculine lens like we’ve seen, tried out in the world and failed. Instead, there is a re-inauguration of our divine feminine that is pulling up a seat, and giving her a spot at the table with the masculine that has been running the show. So it’s a united front, in a balanced energy pulling from the strengths of each. And instead of seeing leadership through this telescope, this analogy really hit home for a lot of the members that I was speaking to yesterday. Because we dove even deeper into this conversation. And I said this to them. I said, we need to stop seeing leadership through a telescope where we are up here on this pedestal. And we look through the lens and then all the stuff is way over there. And instead, you see it through a mirror, you hold up to your own face. It is intimate. It is brave. It is being in leadership with yourself. Before you try to go out and tell the world what to do, what you think is right. So much more intimate to hold up the mirror to yourself than to look at the world through this telescope.
So I want you to sit with this and if you’re ready, I invite you to make a declaration just to yourself that I’m ready to step into true leadership. True leadership. And I’m really curious, what questions do you have? What thoughts, ahas, little light bulbs, breakthroughs have surfaced for you through this conversation? And send me a message. Let me know, what’s going through your mind? How are you going to dedicate yourself to a deeper level of mastery embodiment, sovereignty? And get really clear on that mission, so that you can show up in your true form of leadership.
I said this in the beginning, I truly believe that as the empath, the feelers of the world who are attuned to the energy of their surroundings, who are naturally tapping into all of this, can be so well-resourced. If we get brave and we hold up the mirror to ourselves, it allows us to be more embodied in deeper integrity, to continuously practicing mastery. And you’re going to see the impact. But I also know you want to have, because as empaths, we have big freaking hearts that want to change the world in some way. But you’re going to see that impact that you crave so badly, so deeply, skyrocket exponentially. It’s going to blow your mind, and it’s not as hard as you think. And it’s not as scary as you think to actually say, Hey, I’m a leader. To step into that role in your life. It does not mean that you have to stand on a stage that is way up on the pedestal, and speak to thousands of people. That’s outdated leadership. What I’m inviting you into today, is a new form of leadership that blends those four components. Those four essences we talked about and allows us to sink in deeper.
So I invite you to just end with a deep breath with me, empty out any still air. Breathe in a fresh new breath through your nose. Open mouth exhale. Now start to practice and implement this new form of leadership. And if you need support on that path, or you’re not sure what to do next, send me a message. Let’s chat. Let’s see what makes the most sense for you. So I can support you in discovering that mission and starting to get more embodied into practicing your mastery. There are resources here. If you’re feeling called, if you feel that would be supportive, if that feels it’s in the highest good for you, just send me a message.
All right. Y’all, I’ll see you next week, for another episode. A great rest of this week and I can’t wait to hear from you. I want to tell you about a new podcast that I am in listening to by Dr. Avanti Kumar Singh, and it’s called, The Healing Catalyst, and these conversations and episodes are all about taking charge of our health. And she acknowledges that it’s a big responsibility. And oftentimes, we aren’t sure where to start, where to begin, or how to navigate this healing journey, that I know you guys have followed along my very long healing journey throughout this podcast and on social media with me over the last four years. So she brings 20 years of practicing Western medicine with also having studied traditional ancient healing practices of the East with a focus on, Ayurveda. And so, now, she teaches students and holistic practitioners across the world based more on demystifying Ayurveda, and integrative medicine.
To check out The Healing Catalyst, simply search The Healing Catalyst on your favorite podcast platform and check out some of these recent episodes on identifying soft addictions to reduce your inflammation, and balancing masculine energy, for decreased anxiety. And even the five sources you need to know of hidden toxins.
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January 22, 2021