Kathryn Dawe

The Power of Resilience: Lessons from Overcoming Unexpected Leadership Roles

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Hi, I'm Kathryn

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Ok, so, today, let’s dig a bit into a topic close to the hearts, and experiences, of many of us – resilience. Life often throws us curveballs, and more than once, I’ve found myself thrust into roles, leadership roles in particular, that I hadn’t sought, asked for, or expected. Each instance taught me that resilience is not just a trait; it’s a force that thrives in the face of the unexpected.

Over the decades, I’ve managed to accrue more leadership positions than I could have ever anticipated – from overseeing, although at times it seemed more like damage control, or a desperate need for structure, thriving salons to stepping in to prop up the rudder a floundering restaurant. And here’s the catch: I never applied for any of these roles. They came knocking at my door, unsolicited, unexpected, and unnerving. At first, I would have preferred to shy away from them. But life had different plans, and I had lessons to learn.

The common thread that strings through these roles is the resilience, patience and strategies I was forced to cultivate. I quickly realized that dwelling on the circumstances that led to these positions was a fruitless endeavor. The “how did we get here?” is never the question. Instead, I chose to channel my energy into adapting, learning, growing, and the “what do we do now?”. Through this process, I discovered three vital lessons that resilience taught me:

1. Adaptability is a Power to be Embraced:

In the whirlwind of unexpected leadership, I recognized that adaptability is a crucial superpower. Resilience isn’t just about bouncing back; it’s about adapting and thriving amid the chaos. As I navigated each uncharted territory, I embraced change with an open mind. This willingness to adapt not only kept me afloat but allowed me to steer teams toward stability.

2. Confidence Grows in the Face of Adversity:

Facing situations where I was expected to lead without seeking the role shook my confidence, and shored it up at the same time. Adversity has an uncanny way of fostering self-assurance. Over time, I found myself making decisions with newfound conviction and a level of surety that had been untapped at this level previously. I began to trust my judgment and realize that leadership isn’t just for those with titles – it’s for those who rise to the occasion.

3. Growth Sprouts from Challenges:

Every unexpected leadership role came with its set of challenges. Embracing these challenges became the catalyst for growth. In leading through uncertainties, I tapped into resources and skills I never knew I possessed. The process of problem-solving and finding solutions honed my strategic abilities and transformed me into a stronger leader.

While these lessons were hard-won, they now serve as the bedrock of my leadership philosophy. I’ve come to appreciate that resilience is more than just enduring; it’s about thriving. It’s about leveraging unforeseen situations to uncover our latent potential and emerge as leaders who can weather any storm.

So, what’s the key takeaway here? Resilience isn’t a distant concept; it’s a skill that’s nurtured when we’re thrown into the deep end. Those unexpected leadership roles? They aren’t mere accidents; they’re opportunities for growth. In the end, it’s not about how we got there; it’s about the lessons we carry forward.

As we continue along our professional journeys, let’s remember that resilience isn’t just a trait; it’s a testament to our ability to adapt, grow, and transform. Let’s embrace the unexpected, for within it lies the power to discover our true leadership potential.

Here’s to the unanticipated paths that led us to resilience, and to the enduring lessons that shape us into the leaders we are meant to be.

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