Pamela Thompson is a certified life and business coach, speaker, facilitator and consultant. She is passionate about supporting women to thrive in life and in business. She has a diverse background and experience in North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. Pam has created two successful management consulting businesses since the early 1990s. She is author of the soon to be launched book Learning to Dance with Life: A Guide for High Achieving Women.
Leadership across the globe
The idea of “leadership” has changed over the 10 – 15 years. Before, it used to be more hierarchical, especially in communist countries. Today, leadership is perceived very similarly across the globe. Social media and global marketplaces have helped this. Leaders must have a clear vision, be able to articulate that vision (Simon Sinek’s “Why”), and be able to inspire others. Leaders also need to be clear in their own values and live their lives in alignment with them.
Leadership Challenges & Lessons Learned
Pamela’s biggest challenge was creating and maintaining work/life balance. She had been working hard since very young, and she was feeling fulfilled until 2012. At that time Pamela had the opportunity to work in Afghanistan on a project with extremely tight timelines. During that year she got pneumonia twice and had other signs that her immune system was telling her to slow down. However, soon she joined another organization to work across Africa. One year later she felt like a “lemon that had been squeezed dry” and decided to take a break. It took her time to stop feeling weak, but months later she found the balance and also creativity to start writing a book. The life lesson was that there is a different way, that it’s possible to create healthy and balanced lives.
Another challenge she faced was when working in Kabul. In the middle of a training, one of the participants received a call, and immediately wailed saying that the Ministry of Health was being attacked. That scared many people. Pamela took the floor and asked to continue the training, saying “we’re safe here.” Ultimately, the attack had been happening on the other side of the city. The lesson: stay calm amidst the chaos.
Gems of wisdom to young leaders
1. Follow your heart. Often you do things–like choosing a career–because your parents or others have influenced you, but you’re not excited. Learn to listen to your body’s wisdom.
2. Get clear on your values. For instance, some organizations say “we value teamwork,” but they reward individuals instead of teams.
3. In terms of speaking and communication skills, seek opportunities to speak at your workplace in front of others. Less is better. Speak from your heart by sharing stories.
“You cannot discover new oceans if you cannot leave the safety of the shores.” — Anonymous
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Routine to Shine
A grounding exercise. Do it every day, and just before a speech or talk.
Close your eyes. Imagine that you have roots that go deep, deep under your feet, and then imagine that the wonderful earth energy comes up through your legs, your belly, your heart. Then imagine you have branches going up through your head and growing up to the sky, tapping it, and feeling the energy coming down to your heart. Feeling supported by the earth and the sky, and feeling really grounded.
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