Chrissey Ladd
Life
Getting the Lead Out
Empowering Lessons on Personal Leadership

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate.
The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Chrissey Ladd presents Getting the Lead Out Empowering Lessons on Personal Leadership to women in transition at The Career Wardrobe in Philadelphia. Since 2007, this dynamic speaker on the traditional subject of Financial Literacy engages the audience with an enlightening tale of personal transformation in her Getting the Lead Out series.  An Assistant Vice President for Audubon Savings Bank in Mount Laurel New Jersey, spearheading their Learning and Development Department; Education Manager and Curriculum Developer for Notary Power, LLC; Legislative Committee Chair for the New Jersey Notary Association; Curriculum Contributor for the National Notary Association; and the 2011 National Notary of the Year, she has been empowering audiences of all venues on multiple professional subjects and has an adaptive talent for reaching diverse audiences.  Edited for a reading audience, Chrissey has combined her three most powerful lessons on personal leadership for women in this insp
irational tale.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said,The world is all gates, all opportunities.

How do we find the gates after every door we ever found was shut in our faces?  Is that how you are feeling at this point in your life?  I sincerely hope that after your read this story, you may feel differently and that YOUR world is all gates, all opportunities.  I believe something of what I share with readers will inspire 10% of them.  I hope something else will inspire 90% -- but every single reader will finish this story with some touch of inspiration.

My career of mentoring women in transition began about 15 years ago.  I encountered a woman, Rene, with whom many of you may relate: escaping from an abusive marriage, equally abusive parents, two adorable children, unemployed, uneducated, no marketable skills, but a determination to make something of herself without much by way of resources.  A struggling mother, discovering that justice is too frequently influenced by the amount of money that can be funneled into the courts and attorneys; she caved into threats of retaliation of her ex-husband and religiously fanatic parents and lost custody of her children.  She later was sued for child support by the man who made far more money than she, the man she supported while he obtained his own education and career; while she stayed home to be the best mother she could.  I met her near the end of her remarkable battle with the family courts system while she struggled to keep a part-time job; denied visitation with her children f
or her decision to leave the religion of which her family remained. For months, she lived in her car, took showers at truck-stops and hung her only work suit in the shower with her to iron it.  Many who came into contact with at work had no idea she woke up in her car that morning. I learned more from her than I believe she learned from me.  Throughout our sessions together, I discovered something rather remarkable about her.  Rene truly believed The world is all gates, all opportunities. 
It was through my interactions with her that I developed the 5 Critical Components of Personal Leadership that I will share with you
 
What is leadership?  Lets define this before we begin.  What does it mean this word, lead (led)?  or is it lead (leed)? 
Dictionary.com definitions of lead/lead:
Lead(1) (leed)
a suggestion or piece of information that helps to direct or guide; tip; clue:
a guide or indication of a road, course, method, etc., to follow.
to take the initiative; begin.
to make a beginning.

the distance between the center of lateral resistance and the center of effort of a sailing ship, usually expressed decimally as a fraction of the waterline length.
(Okay, I put that one in for fun!)

Lead(2) (led)
a heavy, comparatively soft, malleable, bluish-gray metal, sometimes found in its natural
state but usually combined as a sulfide,

This word, lead clearly has two separate and distinct definitions and pronunciations.  Are you a heavy malleable substance?  Or are you ready to take the initiative and make a beginning?

Now, what is leadership?

Dictionary.com definition of: Leadership

a person or thing that leads.
ability to lead

Leadership is defined by someone who has THE ABILITY TO LEAD.  Thats all.  Just the ability.  How does one grow that ability into tangible and effective skills that can serve to benefit you in your goals of personal development?

As I learned with Rene, attitude is everything.  She did not let any temporary set-back define who she was.  While she confessed some remarkable challenges to me, she never dwelled on them.  I will never forget hearing her speak of her rear view mirror philosophy.  (long before that investment guy made a commercial out of it!) 

Here is how she explained it:
Look, when you drive, you dont turn around and look backwards.  Car seats arent made to face backwards.  When you want to get somewhere, you get in your car and go *forward* and look forward.  Just to make sure you havent gone too far, you check the road signs; and when necessary you check your rear-view mirror.  You never turn your head around because you will crash your car!  Keep your eyes forward, but peek in that rear view mirror just to keep perspective of how far you have come.  Attitude is everything; and then the work truly begins.  (I did say I learned more from her than I think she learned from me!)

As we worked together, we developed specific core competencies to grow personal leadership. These I will share with you, and then we will loop back around to see how these competencies made a difference for her.

Personal development can be identified by 5 critical components:

5 Critical Components of Personal Leadership

       Never be afraid of yourself
       Admit your mistakes
       Build your growth chart
       Be a perpetual student
       Grow your LQ  (Leadership Quotient)


Never be afraid of yourself.  Take a chance on YOURSELF!  Many are surprised how judgmental women are on themselves; women recovering from severe abuse are much more so.  Women take great pains to forgive transgressions of everyone around us; but we fail to forgive ourselves.  Women who are recovering from challenges of a significant transition face a much more daunting challenge; they become afraid of failure to the extreme level of neglecting to take even the simplest chance on themselves.

Never be afraid to admit a mistake. Women recovering from a significant transitional event and who emerge on the other side of it, are confident to the point of appearing egotistical.  They are proud of what they have overcome; but cannot tell a soul about it.  They rarely explain their behaviors but many around them are perplexed by this perceived ego.  Admitting a mistake is not the same thing as conceding failure.  Admit mistakes; do not make excuses for them; have a healthy perception on what defines a true mistake; seek advice from a trusted woman if you are not sure.  Admitting mistakes sounds counterproductive to the Never be afraid of yourself.  Let me repeat: Admitting a mistake is not the same thing as admitting failure!

Build your own growth chart. 

This is much easier to explain with flip-chart paper and markers!

Imagine your position on a chart we will call today position .5 (because we never are at zero!)  Call todays position zero point five and draw an axis up to 5 or 6.  For those of us in sales, or in any other position that requires tracking data, we know what these charts mean.  But, to quantify personal growth?  (this exercise works for the very sophisticated amongst us as well!)

Think of where you are today.  Where do you want to be in a year from now.  More specifically, WHO do you want be like a year from now?  Who do you respect and why?  What do they do?  Why do you respect them?  Is it an affinity for music? Art? A well-educated speaker?  Think of who you want to be like in one year.  And start your growth.  What will it take to learn more about art?  Music? Business? Start one step at a time

Once you have identified who you want to be like in one year really stretch yourself and look TWENTY years in the future!  Who do you want to be like in 20 years? 
Oprah?  Condoleeza Rice?  Hillary Clinton?

The sky is the limit!  Choose your goal and then mark all the years in between.  Who do you see yourself being in 5 years 15? 3?  For Rene, this chart included her boss (whom she outgrew,) her regional manager (whom she outgrew,) and a Professor at the John Marshall Law School (whom she had never met.)

Keeping this Growth Chart in a conspicuous location (mirror, closet door, bedroom door) will be a perpetual reminder of why you do what you do every day; and what the end result should be.  Often you may find yourself over-achieving your target!  Recognize this achievement and celebrate YOU!

Be a perpetual student. 
Business evolves.  Jobs evolve.  Life evolves.  Be prepared to evolve with it!  When we graduate from school, some of us believe our learning days are over.  Dont let them end!  Be a perpetual student!  Complete with essays, and assignments and homework.  Learn about the business you seek to enter into or the one in which you are already employed.  Education does not require a classroom and unattainable tuition fees.  Rene read the work of this Professor from the John Marshall Law School and became a student of his through his books.  Education happens everyday in newspapers, books, internet and people.  Approach every interaction as an educational opportunity.  Maintain notebooks; keep a small tablet in your pocketbook and take notes on everything from politics, law, education, math, reading; write down words with which you are not familiar and follow up with a visit to www.dictionary.com and learn them.  Use these new words and phrases in your everyday conversations.

Grow your LQ (leadership quotient). 

Most important, learn:  LEADERSHIP:  Leadership is setting goals and reaching them. Leaders can lead from anywhere within an organization. Recall that leadership is the ability to lead; not necessarily the act of leading.  Cultivate your ability to lead.  The most influential leaders are often not in positional leadership positions.  They are often the secretary behind the boss.  Humble leadership is one of the most important skills you can bring with you to a job.  While we want to impress our bosses or colleagues with our wealth of knowledge, leadership often means quietly showing them instead of telling them. 

To summarize: 

Attitude is everything. 

The world is all gates, all opportunities. 

Finding those gates takes a personal commitment to grow:

5 Critical Components of Personal Leadership

    Never be afraid of yourself
    Admit your mistakes
    Build your growth chart
    Be a perpetual student
    Grow your LQ  (Leadership Quotient)

As I shared in the Growth Chart section, Rene soon discovered she was outgrowing those whom she believed she would never be equal.  As her dedication to her personal growth gained confidence, she continued growing her leadership, education, keeping her ego in check, and continued to take chances on herself; never believing she would fail if she set herself a goal.

Because this woman had such an impact on my own path of personal discovery, I have never lost touch with her.  Her transformation has been rather remarkable.

She has been reunited with her two adorable children, who are now a handsome son of 17 and a hardworking daughter of 21.  While the damage to the relationships are acknowledged, none of it is dwelled upon.    They respect where she had been and the great strides she has taken to make a solid foundation for herself and their future. 

She finally remarried is a step mother to two additional children, and gave birth to another child who is now 7.  Her husband knows from where she came and supports in her where she would like to go.

Did any of the 5 Critical Components of Personal Leadership help grow her in her career? 

Today, Rene has achieved nearly all of her career and family goals; the final being that of documented education by way of a college degree (after her children have received theirs.)

Would you recognize this woman if you met her?  Her full name is Christine Rene Ladd, better known as Chrissey Ladd:  Assistant Vice President for Audubon Savings Bank in Mount Laurel New Jersey, spearheading their Learning and Development Department; Education Manager and Curriculum Developer for Notary Power, LLC; Legislative Committee Chair for the New Jersey Notary Association; Curriculum Contributor for the National Notary Association; and the 2011 National Notary of the Year.

She has been inspiring audiences of all venues on multiple professional subjects and has an adaptive talent for reaching diverse audiences and she sincerely hopes that she has just inspired you.

     



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