In this blog, Colette asks some thought- provoking questions to help us become better leaders, to encourage more kindness, more thoughtfulness and as a result become more HUMAN beings… wherever we are on this journey we call life.
I have had the opportunity throughout my career to work with a wide variety of exceptional leaders both on a professional and personal level. Because of my upbringing, life experiences and entrepreneurial outlook on life, I have chosen my motto to be “ If you can dream it you can do it”. I have always been passionate about what success really means and what distinguishes those unforgettable and timeless leaders from the more ordinary ones.
I have come to appreciate just how much of a positive impact only ONE individual can have. It makes little difference where they live in the world, their age group, whether rich or poor, famous or totally unknown, level of education, and if they operate in a business, political, social, or a very intimate personal context. Even more interesting is the fact that these inspirational human beings make a difference in so many ways long after they are gone. We could say they become our spiritual leaders who influence us at a level that we seldom can rationalize or explain, but that we feel very strongly in our hearts and deep in our souls.
True leadership: bringing out the VERY BEST in others
I had a very recent experience about this kind of leadership and was literally flabbergasted when watching “A beautiful day in the neighborhood” where Tom Hanks plays the infamous Mr. Rogers. If you have not seen the movie yet please add it to your top 10 list, as it a simple yet profound example of how someone can bring out the VERY BEST and just make you a better, happier and well-rounded person. In my world that is the definition of a true leader.
I am frequently reminded about these life-changing encounters in my work environment at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. I have witnessed first-hand the attitudes and behaviours of some truly outstanding leaders in the most unlikely places and often their brilliance goes unnoticed…which is why I wanted to share their stories with you. Parents who demonstrate resilience and forgiveness when faced with the death of their child. Total strangers who provide compassion and give countless hours of their time to support families living through the agony of treatments or the ups and downs of diagnosis. Young patients who find the courage to turn what is a dramatic illness into an adventure and who become true heroes as they teach us how to take one day at a time and eventually win the race…
How YOU can cultivate your leadership
Here is what I have seen in my experiences, and what these unsung heroes have in common:
- How can I be more HUMBLE ?
To admit that I don’t have all the answers, that I am going to make mistakes and take some bad decisions. Can I try to NOT take myself too seriously.
- How can I commit to being a LIFE- LONG LEARNER ?
Just like a curious child who asks the non-obvious and difficult questions. Can I allow myself to be surprised, to keep an open mind and give ideas a chance even though they appear a little crazy at first.
- How can I offer more KINDNESS to others?
Not just strangers but those I am closest to so I can commit to really making an effort to take the high road. Forgive, hope and believe that good things can and will happen. This also means having to adapt to the needs of others, also to accept and communicate clearly my limits and my non-negotiables.
- How can I be more CREATIVE ?
Look for and find those who have those skills I lack and ASK THEM for help. Finding solutions to difficult problems takes time, perseverance, LISTENING to others and reflecting. These are complex times where many minds and diversity of opinion make for better outcomes.
- How can I take the FIRST step. WHAT am I really waiting for ?
Don’t wait for others to do what it is you wish them to do. At some point it might be too late. Make it your business to develop a sense of urgency and to act even though it is uncomfortable, your don’t have all the information, even though it would be easier to let others take the lead, even though you don’t really know where to start and how to proceed.
Believe in the power of ONE
This may seem like hard work or perhaps a little impossible…but JUST TRY IT as in I believe these habits are gifts from those who have faced adversity, who have been tested or as Mr. Rogers would say “who are broken”. I think it is time for more of us to share these important lessons, to shed more light, spread more kindness and that so called “ little magic” at this time of the year and really throughout the year.
Happy holidays and BELIEVE in the power of ONE. I have seen what a difference it makes !
About Colette Vanasse
Colette brings more than 30 years of experience in marketing, business development, entrepreneurship, family business and philanthropy in a variety of industries including banking, travel and hospitality, education and healthcare. She has worked in profit and non- for- profit organizations as she thrives in a challenging and dynamic environment always willing to learn and share her strong communication, business development and human resources expertise.
Colette recently joined the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation where she is part of the team that will raise more than $200 Million to inspire and mobilize the community in relentless support in research and teaching for highly-specialized pediatric healthcare for young patients and their families throughout Quebec.
Among Colette’s many passions are downhill skiing, golf, biking, playing the piano, cooking and spending quality time with her family. She shares her expertise and volunteers with the Alzheimer Society of Montreal, mentors young women and helps as many worthwhile causes as she can in the Montreal community.
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