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Ignite Your Power

BY: Maggie Gough, RD • Founder & CEO, Realize Wellbeing

According to Dr. Brené Brown, the definition of a leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential. As Human Resource and Workplace Wellness professionals, that definition could almost be our job description.

With almost 9 billion people on the planet, it’s going to take all of us, applying ourselves in unique ways to create positive change. In short, your unique leadership matters.

For the past decade I have heard countless stories of wellness professionals suggesting they aren’t viewed as decision makers or even influencers in their organization. The reality is that organizations have numerous competing internal agendas. Wellness has a better chance of being prioritized when those who are responsible for it become recognized by their peers as capable, competent leaders.

It sounds lovely, but now how do we make that happen? For starters, work from your strengths. Get clear on which of your attributes make you a superhero, and then when challenges arise, tap into those strengths. You’ll still grow, but this way you won’t be facing unknowns on multiple fronts. The sense that you can apply yourself within a challenging situation in your work will allow you to start asserting yourself in places that you previously felt limited.

Next, get comfortable leaning into conflict. Leaders routinely accept the reality of conflict and lean into it so that they can move through it. Where others find conflict to be the point at which they’ve hit an end, leaders dig into it. There are a multitude of skills that can be deployed to unpack tough incidents, allowing teams to grow through them.

Interestingly, it’s not perfection that cultivates leadership. Others grant us authority to lead when we operate from the core of our being. They are influenced when we share our authenticity in tough circumstances, when we offer our passions to create a vision for the future, and when we offer knowledge of our expertise and our resilience.

The world is filled with people influencing change simply because they decided they had something to offer. Women make up the majority of professionals in the corporate wellness industry. Yet, 85% of those in executive leadership positions are men. Certainly, women aren’t solely responsible for our limited positions at that level. However, part of our collective growth is centering in the core of our potential, igniting that, and leveraging it at every level of your work.

Maggie Gough
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR Maggie Gough, RD // Founder • Realize Wellbeing
Maggie Gough has developed consumer-facing health and wellness platforms, created and implemented wellness programs and provided consulting to clients about how to create more meaningful wellness initiatives. Her mission is to create workplaces that allow people to live fully into their divine human experience. Maggie lives in Kentucky with her husband Brad and their three kids.