In the Streets of Sofia, Bulgaria

I’m sitting in the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. A European city filled with hidden gems and almost a feel of Barcelona, Spain…but not quite.

This morning I’m finding refuge and laughter in one place where everyone speaks a universal language and shares the same love for a modern vice…Starbucks! I adore immersing myself in foreign cultures, but for whatever reason this Cafe Americano tastes so good.

My lesson this morning is unity through commonality. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always find commonality with the person or people that surround you. You just have to stop and get curious to find it; when you do unity is inevitable (if even for just a moment).

Today, get curious about the people around you, and find refuge and laughter in the one commonality you share. You may be surprised on how this moment of unity can heal even the most tumultuous relationships.

Courage Comes Through Suffering

IMG_0261I love when a fortune cookie delivers profound messages at the exact right time. The other day while sitting at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant I received this message, “Courage comes through suffering”. I immediately thought, oh fuck. A message of truth, yes, but not a message I want as my fortune.

As I sat in quiet thought staring at the fortune I was reminded of my suffering over the years: being born deaf, growing up with significant health challenges, an abusive relationship, family cancer and bankruptcy just to name a few. Suffering is not foreign to my life, and if I’ve learned one thing from teaching lessons on suffering it’s that the master teacher is always the master student. I have also learned that suffering is a universal right of passage through life. No one goes untouched, and we all have a story of suffering that has transformed our lives.

It’s in our suffering that we experience moments of vulnerability that allow us to be shaped into a better human being–preparing us to reach our highest potential. Suffering has the power to unite people of difference, elevate compassion and multiply kindness shown throughout the world. It not only provides great courage it’s an igniter of great change.

The beauty of suffering is that it doesn’t just provide us courage it gives us an opportunity to find it within ourselves. For this reason I welcome it into my life with ease and grace. I don’t always like it, but I am learning to be thankful for its presence because without suffering I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a life where you’re energized, feel good and happy! Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

True Leadership: Courageous, Compassionate and Vulnerable

flower-in-cement-smallest-blog-nymucdLet me start by saying, “You are a leader.” It doesn’t matter where you sit, what your title is, if you have people reporting to you or how much you’re being paid. Maybe you’re part-time Joe cleaning the toilets, or maybe you’re sitting in a cubical wondering if anyone knows you exist. It doesn’t matter the box you think people put you in, or the box you put yourself in; you are a leader. And there is no one person who is better or more important than you.

Our society has created an industry of “leadership development” with fancy rules and sophisticated terminology one must know in order to be a great leader. In businesses of any size, the word leadership often separates those “who have arrived” from those “who have a way to go”; creating a perception that those in leadership are special. In fact, there are special meetings for these special people, and these special people get special perks. One of which is special training on how to be a great leader. And if you’re really special, you get to even sit in mahogany row with a window.

Let me break the news to you…true leadership is not granted by special made up rules created by someone higher-up in a business. Many people sitting at the top are not leaders at all. Yes, they may be management. They may have been given authority, title and money to run a portion of the business. And they may have participated in hours of leadership development courses in order to help them become a great leader. None of which makes them a leader. These fancy privileges will never cultivate the authenticity, vulnerability and courage exercised by a true leader. In fact, these special privileges, driven by our society’s ego, are often the very thing getting in the way of true leadership.

We all have a true leader within us. Wherever you are in this moment, scrubbing floors or sitting in mahogany row, you can make a choice to exercise your true leader within to change a business, your life or the world. Your energy, intent and actions have tremendous power, and when fueled in a specific direction with courage, compassion and love that power can overcome and accomplish what is perceived as the impossible. Be careful, some of you are thinking, “You can’t run a business on courage, compassion and love alone.” You’re right, you can’t. That’s what management practices and processes are for. Don’t confuse them.

True leadership is having the courage to stand up and walk toward your fear in order to make your life and the life of others better. It’s having the strength to accept yourself exactly as you are, messy and full of baggage, in order to help others gain the strength to accept and value themselves exactly as they are. True leadership comes in our moments of vulnerability. It’s in our moments of vulnerability that we stop long enough to see the people in front of us as human beings–beautiful human beings that together have the collective strength to change the world.

You are a leader. No books, buzz words or special perks needed. Today, make a choice to stand up and walk toward your fear of vulnerability. Accept and love yourself exactly as you are–beautiful, strong and full of life accomplishing ability. Then be a true leader and reach your hand to someone who needs help seeing their strength and beauty. In that moment, as one, walk forward to accomplish the impossible.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.