It was a Sunday morning. I was sitting in a beautiful church perched on a hill above a pristine river flowing through the valley below. Its constant roar represented the ever-changing face of transition as the tide snaked its way between the boulders.
Every moment, the river was relentlessly changing. Seemingly the same on the surface but ever changing in the structure and complexity of the seething mass of water churning its way forward. Sometimes carving new trajectories. Sometimes a roaring season of destruction. Sometimes a drier river bed trickling in calm pools. Every day a different river. Every day is a different moment.
A bit like life. And so I sat quietly in the church, absorbing the enormity of the moment. The enormity of the journey that had brought me to this moment.
I was far from “home”.
I was on a different continent, a different city, a different landscape.
We had been to Australia to visit our daughter. Our six-week trip had straddled different states, cities and culture scapes. It had been a journey of joy, growth, disruption, reflection, and insight.Australia has become our daughter’s home. She has found her becoming and her own belonging.
I realized as I sat quietly in the church that Sunday morning at home that home is not as much a place but a feeling inside.
A few years ago, I had written a poem called “Coming Home” after attending a Mindvalley global summit in Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is a beautiful fairy tale town standing on the edge of the ocean, surrounded by medieval castle walls and enchanting cobble streets – a mixture of charming architecture laced with history. Juxtaposed by the throb of forging thought leadership.
A bit like a river. A melting pot of change and innovation. Tallinn is also “home” to one of the highest concentration of entrepreneurs in the world. Tallinn was where my journey of speaking and writing was truly birthed.
Attending a global summit in 2019 of a 1000 people from 53 different countries shifted something in my soul. Suddenly I was part of a global community, a global conversation. It birthed my first book “Belonging: Finding Tribes of Meaning.
It birthed my voice. It birthed my courage as a writer and now as a speaker. It birthed my new found courage as a leader.
I had posed outside a poster at the entrance to the summit venue, a beautiful building overlooking the ocean harbor just outside the medieval castle walls. A beautiful juxtaposition of old and new architecture. A symbol of the journey of the summit. Embracing the wisdom of both ancient and new dimensions.
I posed alongside the poster at the entrance to the Mindvalley summit. It had an evocative picture of an astronaut in blue tones.
It said “Be Extraordinary!”
I could not have felt more ordinary if I tried. I just quite liked the fact that my blue outfit – denim jeans and a flowing blue silk top – matched both the poster and the ocean beyond. Be Extraordinary!
That message was clearly designed for all the extraordinary speakers that graced the global stage for the next two weeks. They were indeed extraordinary.
Speaker after speaker told their human story, sharing their wisdom and their expertise. Something happened in the auditorium and in that space, in that city of turbulence and triumph.
I found a home within myself.
It started with just a quiet whisper in my soul that maybe I too, had a story to tell.
I know I had lived an interesting life. But I had diminished so many of the lessons that had forged and crafted my battered journey along the river of my life.
Something shifted in my soul.
Maybe I did have a story to tell.
Maybe, just maybe, I had many stories to tell…
And so began a new journey in the river of my soul. A new trajectory, branching out from the roots of my predictable, channeled, patterned, automated life as an entrepreneur of twenty-five years.
I had come home to myself. To my voice, to my purpose, to my creativity and to my calling.
Writing and speaking made sense of my whole life. It made sense of my story. It made sense of the crazy rollercoaster journey of my life.
Now I sat four years later, sitting quietly in the church, alongside my sister, who had made Australia her home, just as my daughter had been led to her spiritual home.
I sat in the pew and bowed my head in silent reverence. I knew I had changed our flights for a reason. To allow me to attend this service with my sister and brother-in-law who had been so supportive of this new journey.
Her church had become a community church, following the challenges of covid. Congregants all took turns to lead the congregation in wisdom and worship. One of the leadership disciples stood up to speak on Shepherd Leadership.
As the journey of his message and imagery unfolded, I knew why I was destined to be there that particular Sunday.
It was yet another signpost in the river of my life.
I was not just writing a book; I was writing a life. Life was writing this book as I wrote life.
The words cascaded into the library of my mind, unfettered by fear, unfettered by judgment.
What did that mean for me? For my world, for the world…
How is shepherd leadership different from servant leadership?
Why does it matter in the growing complexity of the world, post covid and given the rapid change and challenges of the world?
Why was I here?
Not just in Australia in this moment, in this space and in this time.
Why was I here?
A deeper question, a deeper reflection.
And so was born the embryo of my next book.
A journey of coming home, of owning my story. Of how owning my story had changed my life. Of how it had changed my perception of leadership. Of how it had shaped me.
I was home.
This is my unfolding story. But this is not just my story. This is OUR story.
A new world of sensitive navigation through complex issues and tensions as managers and leaders. A very different world to that which our parents navigated.
Different challenges, different perspectives, different paradigms.
And so was was birthed my next book. A walk in faith into the future of our becoming. As humanity.
Thank you for tribing with me.