A few years ago, while I was leading a group call with nearly 30 women, my parents telephoned me on both my home phone and my cell phone 4 times within about 2 minutes.
I could feel my heart start beating faster as I was coaching. My mother has had MS for 30 years, and there have been many emergencies, hospital visits, and even life-support situations over the years.
A version of me 3 years ago would have tried to ignore her calls until I was done teaching — yet be scared & un-present to my teaching the entire time — because I wouldn’t want to come off as unprofessional.
An even older version of myself would have freaked out completely, told the folks on the call that I needed to reschedule, and then go on to deal with whatever was happening.
Last week, instead, at an appropriate pause in between spotlight coaching moments, I let the women on the call know that my parents had called 4 times and that I was concerned enough to feel I should call back, but that it would only take a moment. I asked everyone on the call to hold for just a minute and quickly called my mom. There was a slight emergency situation, but nothing very serious. I was able to get off the phone in under 90 seconds, return to my clients with full presence, and then take care of the situation at an appropriate time.
We all have personal issues that come up from time to time, and how you handle them makes all the difference for yourself and for your clients. There are, of course, moments to cancel classes or sessions, and then there are moments to not do that. What’s important is that you are making grounded decisions that aren’t based in fear.
This reminds me of the decisions I made around my maternity leave 18 months ago.
Jon and I knew we wanted to get pregnant, and I happen to be very fertile, so I knew we’d get pregnant soon after trying. Being the planner and organized person I am, I planned my mastermind dates around when I thought my due date would be: I’d be giving birth in June, so I’d run a 9 month mastermind, September — May.
Well, wouldn’t you know that I did my calculations ALL wrong, and in September — 1 week after 24 women had began their 9-month journey with me (& committed to travelling to NC for specific retreat dates), my midwife told me that I was due in April!
I had some choices at that point. My fear was telling me that my masterminders would be pissed off at me, that I should maybe just refund all their money and stop the program. Or I should give them the option to step out of the program if they didn’t want to continue in it with my pregnancy.
But luckily my higher self knew better.
Instead of cancelling or giving opt-outs, I created a plan. I would take a 10-week maternity leave and extend the program out by 10 weeks. I would shift the March retreat date a few weeks earlier so that I felt confident I’d still be able to be there. I’d bring in guest teachers to teach during my 10 weeks off. I’d ask my coaching team to be available for any coaching questions that needed to be answered while I was off. And, I’d do a ton of teaching and guiding around how to be self-sufficient during those 10 weeks I was off.
I’ll be honest: I was super nervous right before telling the women about my pregnancy and my plan. But as I was sharing and being authentic and vulnerable about it all — as well as being confident about what I knew in my heart was of highest service for them — the nervousness melted away and what emerged was the understanding that I was modeling and leading for my clients a new paradigm of leadership. I was showing them how to lead without losing yourself and how to lead while keeping both yourself and your clients at top priority.
So, where are the places where your personal life has seemingly been at odds with your business? How can you make better and more grounded decisions around those places, and how can you step even more into who you are as a leader?