2016 Participant Reflections – Daryl Connelly TLP10
The challenges of shifting an organisation first of all from a well-intentioned but penniless group of volunteers to government funding, and now from government funding to something else, are significant, and my participation in TLP10 was just what we needed. It is no coincidence that during the time I have been part of the program, our small team has worked more intentionally, energetically and effectively than ever before.
Friends, family and colleagues are always keen to catch up after a Linking Session or residential, to hear my take home messages, and find something among them for themselves. The sailing club, the Chamber of Commerce, and other organisations I am involved with, have all been enriched by the insights, processes and friendships that have been gifted to me through TLP.
I remember driving to the opening residential in Strahan, promising myself that I’d fully immerse myself in the process, and not fall into my old habits of avoiding public speaking, or being passive aggressive with the facilitator if they made me sing, dance or role play. In fact, a fellow participant and I, promised each other that we would step out of our comfort zone and seize an opportunity to speak in front of the group.
I was going okay until Brian asked us to sing and dance, at which point I became passive aggressive. I drove home telling myself that I would do better, not only at the Linking Sessions and residentials, but all year.
I’ve had some epic failures, like during Brian’s “energy shower” and guided meditation, but for the most part, 2016 has been a year of setting my fears aside, putting myself out there, and being bold.
Shortly after the Opening Residential and with some scepticism, I signed up for Simon Sinek’s “Discover your why” course. It was a hugely rewarding process, however sharing my deepest fears and desires with my chosen “why partner”, was not something I could have contemplated before TLP10. Standing up in front of a crowd, and sharing my why – to believe in others the same way that Grandad believed in me, so that they too believe they can achieve great things – would have been unthinkable.
I still don’t enjoy public speaking, but this year, I’ve stopped looking for ways to avoid it.
As you’ve probably gathered, traditionally I haven’t been a big fan of the “touchy feely stuff”, or at least that’s the image that I have chosen to project throughout my working life. However, adopting my TLP inspired mantra of being bold, I recently asked my board, who are of a similar type, to share their hopes and feelings on post-it notes in a workshop. It was a big risk, but it paid off. They became animated, energised, and childlike in their creativity, which was precisely what had been lacking. We have some very exciting times ahead.
Speaking of childlike, last week I wrote a poem for the first time since primary school; it was terrible! When I read it to my daughters, Isabella exclaimed “Read it to Nanna Dad – she’ll think you’re kooky!”. Hardly the response I was hoping for from a seven year old! I didn’t read it to Nanna, however despite much trepidation, I did share it with a friend. Her response was so encouraging that I expanded it into a personal essay, which yesterday I submitted to a local newspaper.
What does all of this have to do with leadership, I hear you ask? Everything. This year has been all about rejecting the fear of failure and the fear of ridicule, and one doesn’t have to look very far to realise that the ability to overcome those fears is vital when it comes to leadership. One only has to look at the great leaders who have joined us as guest speakers throughout the program; people who have made a difference through politics, advocacy, business and other fields. All of them, I’m certain, faced ridicule and failure many times, but they chose not to let it stop them.
Like everybody in the program, I was a leader before TLP10. Some would even say a good leader. But I have never been a great leader, not yet, and it is fear that has held me back. Thanks to TLP, great leadership is now within my reach. For that, I am very grateful to all of the friends and supporters of TLP who are here tonight. I am especially grateful to my fellow travellers, the members of TLP10 and Ange, Gillian and Brian – for creating the conditions in which this could occur. It is no mean feat, and speaks volumes of the calibre of person that this program attracts, and the far reaching impact that they will have on our Island.