Leaders don’t talk about this enough, and it’s not serving us

How do I play big? How do I have the most impact possible?

These are questions I’ve asked myself throughout my career. My purpose is to help leaders thrive with disruption — how can I increase that impact?

But lately I’ve asked myself a different version of these questions: why don’t I play bigger? 

Through quite a lot of introspection, I’ve come to understand why — and it’s a reason I bet is familiar to you:


Shame keeps me from moving as far and fast as I’d like to. It’s my greatest saboteur. It’s the reason I procrastinate on big, exciting projects that are outside my comfort zone. What if I fail and I feel ashamed of myself?

Honestly, even talking about it is outside my comfort zone!

I’ve known shame is a major driver for me for a long time, but it’s come up often recently because a lot of exciting change is happening for me. I get to do so much exciting work. So why am I procrastinating on it?

I don’t have “the answer.” This is what I’m sorting through and working on.

I suppose I’m sharing this because I don’t think “accomplished” leaders talk about this enough. We don’t speak openly about the very human and vulnerable side of continuing to challenge ourselves, grow, and face our inner demons.

Ironically, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And that’s another reason why I want to share it: to remind myself and you that there’s no finish line. There’s no point you cross where everything is easy and nothing is uncomfortable.

No matter where you are in your leadership journey, you’re not alone. We’re all here with you.

In my next Disruption Dispatch, I’m going to explore this further in the context of relationships. It’s going to be juicy! Until then, be as compassionate with yourself as you can.

My Latest:

  • My usual Tuesday livestream is happening tomorrow, Wednesday the 20th. I’ll be telling the story of an awkward meeting I can remember like it was yesterday: I asked a marketing team to share their strategic goals. Scratching heads, shuffling paper, and crickets. The team didn't remember their strategic goals! I'll discuss why this happens and how you can prevent it. Join me on LinkedIn at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET.

  • We sometimes hide behind a facade of strength, perfection, and confidence. But that facade is a barrier to disruptive leadership. In #LeadingDisruption, I share why our pretenses are a problem – and how you can harness your natural vulnerability to be a better leader.

  • Why Successful Leaders Build Movements: They rarely teach this in leadership development, and it's a problem! Disruptive growth flounders without a movement to undergird it. In next Tuesday's livestream on Oct. 26th, I'll be sharing how you can lead a movement, both personally and on your team. Join me on LinkedIn at our usual time: 9 am PT / 12 pm ET.

Good Things:

  • Good Reads: Impact Players by Liz Wiseman is out today! And it’s perfect timing for the topic of this Dispatch. I am so excited to learn how the people Liz profiles multiplied their impact and played bigger! Hit reply and let me know if this book is on your reading list, too.

  • Referrals: I can’t overstate the power of taking deep, centering breaths. I love starting my meetings with everyone taking a deep breath. It’s simple, but the alignment, unity and centeredness that comes from everyone doing the same thing at the same time is powerful. I like to think of it as a ritual: a quick check-in with myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Where do I have tension? What am I thinking about? How do I feel?

  • Resource: SeatGuru.com! You might laugh at me but it’s true: I am very particular about where I sit on airplanes. I open SeatGuru in a second tab when I’m booking travel so I can see the layout of the plane and make sure I get a good seat. (Here’s a funny quirk: I go out of my way to book on emptier flights! I like to create a “donut” of empty seats around me. It helps me relax, reduces noise on the plane, and in the age of Covid, makes me more comfortable flying.)