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I had 3 big accomplishments this year – publishing my first book, earning a master’s in I/O psych and being selected as Adler University’s Class of 2018 student speaker.  There’s no question, it’s been quite an amazing year!

What’s similar between these accomplishments is that it gave me the opportunity to share my voice with a broader audience, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  It was an exhilarating experience writing and speaking my truth. However, I noticed there was a gap between how I felt delivering the messages and how they were received by others. Why weren’t more people feeling my stories with the emotion I felt? How did this gap happen? I put my heart and soul into this work.  As I reflected on this, I realized that the place where my voice was coming from greatly influenced how my message was perceived.

My voice was being directed by my head first and my heart was second. What a paradox for me! I’ve always let my heart guide me, but I didn’t realize I was letting my head filter the voice that others heard.

Is letting your head guide you a bad thing? No it’s not, we need our head to ground us in logic and facts so we can make rational decisions. However, we need the heart to connect with others in an authentic way. My voice wasn’t as authentic I thought.

This a-ha moment came to me only a few weeks ago as I was reading Brene Brown’s latest book Dare to Lead and learned how shame manifests in different ways for people.

I had never considered shame to be a prevalent feeling for me, but it was actually lurking beneath the surface. It was the filter my head had been putting on my heart.

Over my career, I’ve held several leadership positions and I believe many of the people who I worked with would tell you that I led with my heart. So, this was quite a revelation.

After many successful years in corporate roles, I have experienced the thrills and challenges of being an entrepreneur for the past two years. I now realize that moving between these environments has really tested my ability to deal with uncertainty, volatility and ambiguity.  I think my heart got lost in this transition and the head stepped in to provide its filtering services. While I’m extremely proud of my accomplishments and the voice I brought to the world this year, I know it came with an uninvited filter (thanks head😒).

Why does this matter? I know that many of us lead and live with an ‘uninvited’ filter. It suppresses our authenticity that is waiting to shine.  Imagine being able to lean into conversations with your heart and talk about things that really matter at home and at work. Imagine being the real you.

This year I took a huge step towards living and leading authentically, even with my ‘head’ filter. Now it’s time for my heart to take the lead…. watch out 2019!

Carolyn Swora is a workplace culture architect and the creator of the Purposeful Workplace Experience™. She believes that we all share a role in evolving culture to create a thriving workplace. Join Carolyn in the conversation via emailLinkedInTwitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Carolyn’s book, “Rules of Engagement”, is available on Amazon.

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