The School of Leadership Journey
The Onelife School of Leadership was different to anything I had ever come across.
Going into it two years ago, I had idea what to expect. It was a week away with people I had never met, the only expectation I had was that I would come away changed.
The first session we encountered was called ‘The Whole Truth’. In this session we were asked to identify defining moments in our lives, good and bad, that had contributed to our growth as individuals and as leaders. Reflecting on this, two years on, I would definitely count this transformational week as a collection of moments that defined, challenged and encouraged me in so many areas of my life.
Before the going on the School of Leadership, I was a self-confessed perfectionist. Not the kind of perfectionism that you can strategically use on a CV. Perfectionism that meant I lived with a belief in unrealistically high standards for myself and those around me, accompanied by harsh self talk. I had resigned myself to ‘second choice’; someone else's needs always came before mine and that was something positive, right? I was not a bold leader or a magnetic presence. I was just keeping people happy and I thought that’s what I was meant to do. This was often outworked in my friendships and relationships where I would constantly put the happiness of other people before any of my own needs.
Through sessions like the Whole Truth and 720 referencing process, I became aware of the power of my own story and the struggles that can distract me and from the strengths I have picked up along the way. I came to realise, through the Soft Skills Session, that actually the way I presented and handled myself actually made people feel heard and known. I learnt quickly that bold leadership and being a magnetic person is not reserved for extroverts nor about a personality type.
In my journal, I had scribbled in all capitals the verse John 15:16 – ‘you did not chose me – I chose you.’ I was God’s first choice, a sentiment that is still drip, drip, dripping its way into my heart. God was not going to leave me. God was proud of me. God has given me gifts and a calling beyond what I could even begin to comprehend.
Since the School of Leadership, I have seen what God taught in that week shine through in my leadership. However, I still struggle with the same problems. The last two years have not been a series of endless 'wins' or mountaintop experiences, but the SOL gave me the tools to walk out into all that was to come, with a greater understanding of my style of leading and loving others as well as struggles I face.
The School of Leadership planted a seed in me, a seed that has continued to grow and develop to this day. When you plant the seed, you have to trust that God is doing something beneath the soil. The rest of John 15:16 says ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.’ It is a daily choice to bring myself before the Lord and let him speak the truth that He chose me to bear fruit. Beautiful fruit can come from life’s hardest moments if you say yes to God. For me that was saying yes to going to the Onelife School of Leadership.
So, will you say yes?