How to Write a Life-Changing Personal Leadership Programme in 24 hours

Picture the scene. It is the end of the day. You are tired, not really because you didn’t sleep well the night before and you are worried about your son’s job- hunting – although that doesn’t help. The weariness derives from that horrible stuck feeling you get when something important is not yet accomplished. When you’ve ticked lots of boxes but, in my case, you still haven’t written the Authentic Onion Leadership programme you have planning for nearly six months (ouch, that’s hard to admit), and which people are eagerly anticipating.

Here’s how I turned that on its head in 24 hours. I’m sharing it because if I can do it, so can you.

Step 1 (5pm Day 1)

high-grass-1504289_1920Come out from behind your desk, put on your walking boots and get out into the early evening autumn sunshine. Trudge up the steep hill and allow all the feelings of fear and incompetence to come to the surface. Remind yourself that your father’s raised and disapproving eyebrows should no longer be keeping you from owning your gifts and deploying them for the benefit of others.

Step 2

celebrate-954794_1920Kick yourself that you didn’t emerge from the office earlier, as within two minutes your creative juices are in full flow. At the three minute mark, remember that you are being called to do what you do well: it’s not an endurance test of what limits you. You don’t need perfect video production skills to create and facilitate an online masterclass to enable extraordinary business women to discover, own and put to use their unique strengths.

Step 3

fullsizerender-2Remember that you already have many materials developed over the years. There may be some work to do to in terms of organizing them into a system, but you do not need to reinvent the wheel. Notice the sun starting its descent. Observe that it is not perfectly spherical but beautiful nonetheless. Welcome the rays reaching out to you across the tree canopy.

Step 4

fullsizerender-3Reflect that any feelings of imperfection and the risk-averse inertia they generate are ideal learning opportunities to share with your participants. Your vulnerability and willingness to try something new is much more powerful than appearing to know all the answers. Pick up the pace as the exercise-induced endorphins begin to lift your mood. Rejoice at sight of the azalia which is right outside your office but whose beauty has failed to attract your attention during the day.

Step 5

img_5638Feel motivated to pick up the remains of the apple fallers before they turn to mush and cause someone to slip . Find one that is unravaged by the resident wild life and eat it. Acknowledge that just as nature is abundant, so to is your capacity to deliver what is needed, when your intention is grounded in purpose. Promise to let go and let your sub-conscious have free rein over night to shape the programme content into something valuable and good enough to trial.

Step 6

thanksShut down your PC and relax for the evening. Before sleep, express gratitude for the unexpected revelations and ask for more of the same. Let your subconscious to the work.

Step 7

img_5646Awake feeling more refreshed than you have in a long time. Have breakfast and brace the rain for a short walk. Rejoice that the rain stops and take a leaf out of nature’s book – these ponies aren’t getting stressed about what to do next! Boot up your PC but deliberately ignore your emails- they can wait. Move around regularly and ensure your brain’s oxygen supply is continuously replenished. Take the programme segments already written and craft them into manageable bite-sized pieces. Resist the temptation to trawl the internet for more information- you already have plenty.

Step 8

choir-306766_1280Recognise that it will be easy to find six collaborative women to trial this with you. Laugh that only yesterday you felt you would have to expend a lot of
effort persuading people to participate. Schedule the programme into your calendar, call the first of your dream team of triallers, and let go of the outcome. For logistical reasons you won’t get everyone you want, but those that can will be perfect for this stage of the programme. They’ll discover which elements to make more use of, and you’ll have rich feedback to enable an even better product.

Step 9 (4.30pm Day 2)

retro-1254587_1280Celebrate! Be proud of your hard work but remember that your success is as much about taking a step back as blood, sweat and tears. What is critical is shifting the emphasis from doing to being, and from thinking to feeling.

Clearly my specific challenge of writing a leadership programme is not necessarily what you are facing, but there may be something equally momentous you are holding back on. For me it was about tuning out the perfectionist in me and breaking it down into manageable steps. In this way I was able to reframe the situation and see it as an opportunity instead.

Questions to take you further

  • What is the greatest opportunity you are not currently taking advantage of?
  • To what degree, if at all, is fear of failure keeping you stuck?
  • What one thing could you do to increase the chances of moving your dreams from ideas to reality?

Find out more about the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams on influence and authenticity.

© Move Ahead Global 2016

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