#4 Harriet's Update: August

I was asked to write about my experience on the Be.Leadership Course that was on the 5th-7th of August.
As always, we were given our monthly reading 'package'. This informs us of what the next retreat is going to be focussing on.

This weekend was creativity, and how it relates to leadership.
We were given the names, and the biographies, of the speakers that were coming to talk to us.
We were then provided with a long list of web links. Some of the links were to articles, some were to past interviews with well known people, and some were links to talks; These talks I must say were incredibly impressive and I felt excited and inspired after listening to them.

The resources were all carefully chosen. The intention was to give us the best possible opportunity for us to expand our knowledge on what creativity really is.
We learnt how it is used and harnessed, and also why it is so important to us, not just as individual people, but as emerging leaders in a group.
Some of us were not so sure about this weekend. For them, being an artist or just simply being creative, did not to them have any strong correlation for why they were there; and that was Leadership.

We had four speakers join us over the Weekend, and it was a real honour that they so happily came to talk to us.
They gave up their very own personal time to share their journey on how they have become the people they're today.
The talks were open and honest and it really didn't feel like we were in a class room type environment.
Everyone had an opportunity to engage with the speakers, and nobody didn't want to not be there, that was evident.

That, to me, is huge. And maybe that's why these people have become such big influential people? Because they're good leaders in every sense of the word; and they make you want to get out of yourself and your own, or perceived, limitations and embrace whatever that has been said.

The speakers didn't sugar coat anything and made it very clear that we're all in control of our own journeys.
It was heartening to hear that they themselves didn't have a pre-determined pathway or goal in life; that they just did whatever felt right at the time. It seems more organic when I think of it like that, and more positive in general.

With creativity, we soon realized that we were going to have to encounter the big scary word: Vulnerability.
It was evident we were al scared of putting ourselves in positions that could cause fear, pain, distress, and just general vulnerability.

We spent a long time on this, as it was relevant to everyone. Some people could talk on the microphone in a room full of people with not an ounce of concern, yet if you asked them to draw a picture or do a presentation on what their creative symbol was, they'd be quietly hoping the ground would swallow them up.
Everyone on this course was challenged, and all to their own personal maximum.
It was hard, I wont say it wasn't, but it was done in such a beautifully open and honest way, in which we all felt valued and trusted; that we could let our guard down and show the vulnerability they we all so carefully hide.

In the evenings we'd all meet up again and have some pre-dinner drinks at the bar that was situated in the conference centre (it was a hotel), followed on by dinner and drinks, and in some peoples' cases, more drinks!  :)

These evenings were really, really special. After working so hard during the day it was nice to 'let loose' a bit (some more so than others!). We'd have a great evening of just general banter, interlaced with some of the things we'd learnt that day. It was really lovely to hear the kind words of support and backing each group member got, especially if they had to host the speaker, or answer some curly questions that were clearly out of their comfort zone.

There is really so much more I could say, but I'd like to be as succinct as possible.
The Be. Leadership Course has opened so many doors for us, not just in a professional networking sense, but in a personal development way.
I came onto this course embarrassed by my disabilities, and now, only halfway through, I feel incredibly supported and empowered, and don't at all feel any shame in what now makes me, me.