Reflective leaders understand the importance of mindful practices that allow us to take a pause from our work and gain both self and organizational perspective. As leaders, we are cognizant that through our actions we are also modeling healthy and productive leadership behaviors. Brené Brown is a favorite best-selling author among leadership circles who has spent her career as a researcher on the topics of shame and vulnerability. She shares that creating connections, a sense of belonging and feelings of trust among those we lead results in organizational environments that flourish with creativity and innovation.
Having a toolkit of resources helps reflective leaders equip themselves so that they can be inspirational when leading a group of alumnae or other organizations within our communities. Serving our AOII sisters as leaders and as trusted friends also affords us the opportunity to help women at various stages they encounter, with their new experiences, or in other roles along their life journey. Brené Brown’s, The Gifts of Imperfection, is a great resource for alumnae book clubs. In this work, Brown provides us with “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living.”
Brown explains that we are all worthy of love and belonging and that we should all practice gratitude and joy. We might question at times our belonging within different groups and within our careers. Our AOII sisterhood is a great place for us to find that sense of belonging and to feel the love of our sisters whether in our local alumnae chapters or among our lifelong friendships we made with our collegiate chapter sisters. The alumnae activities or events we lead in a supportive AOII environment allow us to practice a host of transferable skills that we can utilize in other life settings. The Gifts of Imperfection is a fantastic resource when leading a group through their own self-exploration activity.
- Cultivate authenticity… Letting go of what people think.
- Cultivate self compassion… Letting go of perfectionism.
- Cultivate a resilient spirit… Letting go of numbing and powerlessness.
- Cultivate intuition and trusting faith… Letting go of the need for certainty.
- Cultivate creativity… Letting go of comparison.
- Cultivate play and rest… Letting go of exhaustion as a power symbol and productivity as self-worth.
- Cultivate calm and stillness… Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle.
- Cultivating meaningful work… Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to.”
- Cultivating laughter, song and dance… Letting go of being cool, and “always in control.”
“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.” – Brené Brown
Consider diving into a great work of fiction that provides you with a relatable story connected to the 10 Guideposts. Another take on this idea would be to go out to a movie, with a strong female lead character, with some sisters or include non-AOII friends around these themes. Doing so opens up communication and ties of friendship and memories shared.
For Alumnae Chapters
Our AOII sisters can have a special way of helping us to embrace our strengths and to help us learn what self-doubts we might need to let go. What better place to enjoy a book club! Choose a book for your alumnae chapter to read and discuss together such as The Gifts of Imperfection. When many feelings are shared, you might even enjoy a Ritual moment connection among sisters.
Sandy Stewart is an alumna of Alpha Chi (Western Kentucky U) and Education Committee Chairman.
Jaynellen Jenkins is an alumna of Phi Beta (East Stroudsburg U), a 2019-2021 International Vice President and an outgoing member of the Education Committee.