Earlier this month I received an e-mail from the World Coach Federation informing me of an event taking place in April: The Art of Leadership for Women Conference. It sounds really inspiring, successful women like Geena Davis and Diana Nyad will be sharing cutting edge thinking and real world experience. I got quite excited about this and arranged childcare so that I would be able to attend, but when I came to the point of actually purchasing the ticket I changed my mind. For some reason paying $449 for a one day event did not feel empowering to me. I chose to spend my money on a six month online course that offered greater hands on learning.
I did purchase Diana Nyad's book 'Find a Way'. I am intrigued by extreme athletes, her story specifically because of the fact that she completed her Cuba to Florida swim at age 64. I loved reading this book, it offers a glimpse into a universe where mere mortals like me look on from the fringes, trying to comprehend the immensity of what it means to be a human being in a mortal body. This book is a hero's journey that infuses one with hope, it speaks of the power of having dreams and having the audacity to claim them in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the story of an elite athlete yet it is most poignant where it becomes a testament to the human spirit because here we are all capable of greatness.
I never expected to witness this firsthand over a cup of coffee, yet this is exactly what happened yesterday. I went out for a coffee with two beautiful women that I am lucky to call my friends. One of them happens to be nearing the end of a treatment regimen for
cancer this is a gruelling experience that I am unable to comprehend and unqualified to speak about. What I can speak to, however, is the power of the human spirit, I was honoured to be a witness to yesterday.
You will not see my friend's name in newspaper headlines nor will she deliver a TED talk, you will not buy a $449 ticket to hear about her cutting edge thinking and real world experience. Never let this fool you into believing that she does not know what it is to be a leader and a powerful presence at that. She may be physically challenged right now but she is so strong that just sitting across from her brought tears to my eyes more than once. We talked and laughed and looked at my friend's battle scars. We pondered the possibility of hair tattoos and a ritual to honour her journey and then I asked her to give me one word to describe the last year of her life. She took a breath, looked at us and claimed JOY.
I am humbled into a space of quiet awe, her inner light is brighter than ever and I am honoured to be a witness to it. Yesterday I was reminded that the art of leadership for women is always in the domain of us all. It is wisest to look first to the artists closest to us. Let us honour the special women in our lives who call themselves grandmothers, mothers, friends, sisters and teachers.