Watching these women bare their souls about why a healthy lifestyle had always eluded them, I knew it just wasn't fair to let them think my "before" picture as an ambassador was my REAL before. Sure...it was the start of the challenge. But that was long after I'd found my way to a healthy lifestyle. After I'd met a trainer who changed my life. After I discovered that healthy is my new happy & protein bars are actually delicious. And WAY after I'd fallen off the wagon two or three DOZEN times and climbed back on hoping this time would be different.
Instead of hiding our flaws (or rather what we THINK are flaws but in reality are just our humanness), why can't we share them & let people love us for who we really are?! Why can't we tell the embarrassing stories that threw us off our game when we were younger & talk about how we found our way to a better place today?!
For me, the answer is...I CAN do those things!! In fact, I MUST do those things! And that is EXACTLY why I have assembled a team of amazing women to breathe new life into the Lead Like a Girl project & to GET NAKED! (Note to my team...don't freak out...you don't have to drop your pants! Although I have been known to make my friends do that on occasion!)
We're gonna get naked by being real. By sharing what's worked for us (or hasn't) on our own personal journeys. By showing you the 80% of the time we are right on track AND the 20% of the time we eat too much chocolate & drink too many cocktails. Because we believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. To be savored like that sweet dessert or fabulous mojito.
And so I share with you my new bio. My NAKED bio. Is it too much? Too personal? To raw? Maybe for some people. But they aren't my people. If it resonates with you, then you ARE my people. And you are welcome to join me & my awesome band of merry maidens any time to talk about what it means to Lead Like A Girl.
Hi. I’m Leslie. I know it’s probably unprofessional to write a bio in the first person...but since I’m a person before I’m anything else, it’s just what feels most right.
Besides...talking (or even typing) about myself in the 3rd person feels weird...like I’m outside of my life. And if I am anything, it is very, very much IN my life. And not just when things are going well (although I do really love those times). What has made me who I am today is learning to love the frustrating times just as much as the good ones. Learning to have gratitude for that guy that cut me off in traffic and to adopt the Zen theory that everything (yes, EVERYTHING) happens for the best possible reason. Even “bad” stuff (which isn’t really bad when it happens for the best possible reason, is it?!) is actually good.
Everyone always fills bios with success stories & impressive feats. And although I do want to share some of my cooler side with you (because hey...those are part of who I am too, right?!), I also want to share the scary stuff. The things that make me go, “Ewww...do I really want them to know that?!” Seems only fair. Otherwise you might run around thinking I’ve got it all together and/or that you don’t. But the truth is, no one has it ALL together. Each of us has things we do well & things we completely suck at. That’s what life’s all about...navigating back & forth between successes & failures. Getting up one more time than you get knocked down.
I’ve always been dedicated to striving for success...even from an early age. I went to West Point straight out of high school because I loved the idea of serving my country and the camaraderie that would come with being part of something bigger. I realized it was going to be an uphill battle when on the first day one of my male squadmates said to me, “Just so you know, I don’t think women belong here.” Ouch! How does one even respond to that?!
And so it was...some days were an uphill battle. And others were totally amazing.
I graduated and went on to be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the aviation branch where I was lucky enough to fly what I consider to be the best aircraft in the army inventory--the CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter. I traveled the world & flew for seven amazing years. I might still be flying today if I hadn’t been repeatedly told two things throughout my entire military career: (1) “You’re too slow.” (Running was never my thing). & (2) “You’re too fat.” (I constantly struggled to stay under the allowed weight limit.
When my service commitment was up, I ran (probably faster than I ever had for any PT test) to the nearest exit. I was so tired of hearing what was wrong with me, I just had to try something else. ANYTHING else. It took me five years before I found my footing outside the army. After several random & assorted jobs in sales, TV news, professional organizing, educational content development, & project management, I discovered my love for facilitation, coaching, & speaking, which is what I do today (in addition to writing books about it!).
At the age of 37, with my career in good working order, I finally found someone who believed what I never could after years of the “You’re too slow & too fat” tape running in my head. I invested in myself by hiring the most incredibly awesome personal trainer. With her help, in just 9 short months I dropped 15 pounds (getting down to a weight lower than I was in high school!!) and completed my first 70.3 half ironman distance triathlon (which had always secretly been a dream of mine...but one I NEVER voiced because I was the slow/fat girl).
Turned out running WAS my thing. Problem was, in the army no one had ever helped me figure out the right nutrition & training plan for MY body, so I had just assumed I sucked...and in that case, believing it was all I needed to make it true.
Today, I dedicate my life to helping individuals and teams find what works (instead of getting caught up in what doesn’t!) and achieving things they never thought possible. I do this by:
- Helping them refocus on their strengths & unique attributes.
- Igniting their individual passions, so they come to work whole, excited, & ready to create!
- Bringing creativity & play into the workplace to develop more productive environments.
Specifically, I do this in the corporate world through training & speaking at conferences on several topics, some of which include
- How To Create A Leadership Story To Inspire Your Team
- How To Improve Team Communication
- Facilitation Skills For More Effective Meetings
- Addressing Dysfunction In The Workplace
- Effective Problem Solving
- Creating Greatness From Your Mistakes
No one gets better by repeatedly hearing that they are “too (fill in the blank).” It’s my job to help people ditch the stories that have been holding them back & help them achieve the impossible. And since that’s exactly what my life story is about...I’m damn good at it!
We all have tapes that need to be replaced. What’s yours? And more importantly...isn’t it time to kick it to the curb so YOU can achieve the impossible? Whenever you’re ready...I’ll be waiting! Click here to contact me about working together to write the story you WANT to be living rather than the story you've been told.