Carolyn Watson-Paul
Henry’s Ginger Beer

In 2017 a group of Tasmanian Leaders Alumni visited the business I run with my husband Marc: Henry’s Ginger Beer in Burnie. We had never seen a group as engaged as this. It sparked my interest in TLP. Eighteen months later here I am with the incredible Tim Jordon, bemused and profoundly humbled to be chosen as one of the valedictory speakers for TLP12.

But first a confession: I wasn’t really a model participant in TLP. I didn’t follow Ange’s advice to ‘re-enter the world gently’ after each session. I crash-landed back in every single time. I ignored Ange’s advice to not Myers Briggs test my husband. He’s an ISTP, which explains a lot. And I stayed up way too late the evening before every Linking Session drinking wine and righting the world with Jessie and Leigh.

But in other ways, I was a typical participant. Like everyone in our amazing cohort, I embraced new learnings and went out of my comfort zone. And that is what defines TLP for me: it is a journey of discovery.

So what did I discover? Myers Briggs was a revelation. Finding out that my personality was a type and not a disorder came as a great relief…

Though being the rarest personality type, INFJ, did make me wonder how I managed to even get into the room. INFJs are extremely sensitive to criticism, have a nihilistic urge to call people on their hypocrisy, have totally inappropriate senses of humour and need extreme amounts of solitude. In short, leaders seem to be everything an INFJ is not…

But through TLP I discovered that leaders come in many shapes and sizes. For example, empathy makes a great leader and INFJs have empathy by the bucket load.

I would like to share two other things I discovered.

A quote – this is for Bob. Leonard Cohen said: “There comes a point… as you get a little older, you feel that nothing represents you. You can see the value of many positions.” TLP challenged us to consider other people’s point of view. I learned how to look without bias, to allow complexity and to give the opportunity for more creative and considerate solutions. Working within such diverse Learning Sets gave us all call to respect opposing perspectives and challenged us to connect everyone’s values to create a unified way forward.

Another discovery came about during these many late-night discussions over red wine, and it’s about finding your passion. Carl Jung (a super cool INFJ) said: “Your visions will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Our passion is not hiding in our heads to be thought into existence, it is just there in front of us in plain sight. Our minds will throw up a million reasons why not to step out to meet our passion. So we need to make the decision to move through our hearts, not our minds.

I think about Sam Halliday who is about to embark on a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. To Leigh who is starting a new business, and Ally who found her strength to get back up when the rug was pulled out from under her.

I stand in awe of Justin who has found his voice and his confidence, and of Gary’s incredibly moving comments in Launceston about being here to serve, and Martin, on his quest to find his one emotion. Well done mate.

I think about Kate’s call out to creatives to work for positive change. It takes great courage to be creative, to make something that’s new. I heed your call – and Jenn who is striving with such commitment and raw honesty to find her own passion – all the while inspiring those around her to be the best they can be.

The problem isn’t that we don’t know what our passion is, it’s that we weigh our priorities against it. If we make a change there is always a price to pay for us or someone we love. Perhaps it’s financial, or our social standing, or our time.

My question for all of us is this: What price are you willing to pay to follow your passion?

In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude. To all speakers who graciously gave their time. To Bob and Linda for kicking us off our comfy chairs in the denial room. To Ange who coordinated this extraordinary program. To the Tasmanian Leaders Board and to the generous sponsors.

And I am enormously grateful to the Tasmanian Regional Tourism bodies who provided the scholarship that allowed me to undertake this program. Thank you.

And of course, I am so grateful to my fellow participants of TL12. I am honoured to have spent a year in the company of such exceptionally magnificent and gifted people.

The collective potential of TLP12, the best year ever, will shine brightly around Tasmania for decades to come.

May all your big, hairy, audacious goals come true.

(Copy of speech as delivered at the 2018 Tasmanian Leaders Program graduation dinner Country Club Tasmania – February 15 2019)