Leading by Example

December 3, 2017

After my divorce, I immediately jumped into a new relationship before the ink had dried on our separation agreement. I was committed to my new partner for 6 months before I realized we were better off as friends. A couple weeks passed by when I met someone new and found myself in yet another committed relationship. This lasted 9 months before I “woke up” and understood that I’ll never be happy in a relationship until I’m happy with myself.

In November of 2016, I made a commitment to be in a relationship with myself. I decided to take one year to focus on myself rather than pouring all my energy into a relationship and this turned out to be the best decision ever!

This is what I have achieved over the past 12 months:
1) I started a new career path that I absolutely LOVE! I get to teach leadership & development skills to indigenous communities across British Columbia and I facilitate support groups for single moms through the YWCA.

2) I created a non-profit organization that is growing beyond belief; sharing free resources (courses, support groups, one on one connections) with respect to Purpose, Clarity & Love.

3) The most important achievement of them all is this; my kids see their mother leading by example. I’m showing my kids what it looks like to live a meaningful life, create a positive impact and stay true to yourself.

Over the past 12 months,  I left the world of finance and entered the Non-Profit realm and I became a “minimalist.”  I often wonder how my kids interpret the contrast between me and their father. I live in a small 2 bdrm suite and drive a ’95 Corolla while their dad lives in a huge 4000 sq ft home and drives a new BMW.

Earlier this year, Nala, my 5 year old daughter, said to me “Mommy, why does Daddy have a big house and you have a small house?”
I replied with “because Daddy makes big money so he has a big house… Mommy is starting over and she makes little money so she has a little house.”
Nala nodded her head as she pondered this thought.
I then picked her up, put her on my lap and said “Baby, it’s not how much money you make that’s important… what’s important is how you treat other people, what’s important is WHO you are, how good of a person you are.”
Nala leaned in and said “I love you mommy.” I felt the love as we cuddled together in my cozy little home.

Last month I took a contract to teach a leadership program in Lax Kw’alaams, and I agreed to stay on the Native reserve for 12 days at a time, only seeing my kids every second weekend. Feeling guilty for being away from my kids for so long, I was encouraged the other day while I was on a video call with Nala.

My daughter answered the call, happy as can be and we chatted for a bit when she asked me, “how was your day mommy?”
I told her I had a good day at work and she replied with “Mommy your work is more important than Daddy’s” I laughed and said “Baby, everybody’s work is important.”

When we got off the phone, I smiled, reflecting upon how my daughter came to that conclusion.

Yes I’m a busy mom with a clear mission and I work a lot, I sometimes worry that I’m not spending enough time with my kids. But it’s moments like these that help me to understand that the best mother I can be is one who leads by example.

I’m proud of the mother I am, I’m not a traditional mom, but I am me… authentic and true. I stand behind the values I teach and I not only tell my kids how important it is to treat others with respect, compassion and kindness, the main thing is; I show them what it looks like to embody these values. Courageously leading by example.

16 thoughts on “Leading by Example

  1. When your attitude switches to leading by example, you do in every area of your life, and the whole pattern changes. Then you become a lighthouse for everyone around you, and more lighthouses start popping up following your example. That’s why leading by example leads to light. Thank you Vanessa.

    1. Thank you for your support Juanma! You are another example of someone who is shining their bright light in order to lead the way for others to shine as well.

  2. I love the amount of self awareness you have Vanessa you knew you needed to stop searching out for answers(that is the ego’s game seek and do not find) and made a commitment to be in a relationship with yourself first. We can’t give what we don’t have.
    I see yourself as a leader with the indigenous communities up North, with your kids and with the non-profit organization community.
    Good leaders must lead by example; by walking your walk, you become a person others want to follow. That is integrity. What you say, what you think and what you do are in alignment.
    Thanks for being vulnerable enough to share your story and thanks once again because this is a real example that the only way to leave a real impact as leaders is to practice what we preach.

    1. Thank you my friend, it does feel vulnerable to open up an share but I know I’m surrounded by loving people such as yourself, encouraging me and accepting me just as I am… for this I am forever thankful.
      Much Love to you Beautiful Soul!

  3. Vanessa, I love your blog. Before you can start leading people, you have to lead from within and from your examples you’ve definitely done that. Your daughter has a richer experience because of you. Your students are more empowered by how you lead. You are authentic and living true to yourself. That is how I was attracted to your events. You speak from the heart. You are a very caring and loving person. I am so grateful for you to be part of my journey. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thank you Daniel! We definitely make a great team and you’re only able to see these qualities in me because you also have the within yourself. Thank you for being one of the kindest, caring and thoughtful men I know. You’ve helped to restore my faith in men 🙂

  4. Thank you Venessa for sharing .
    Living by example, being a roll model, and inspire people is not easy! You are leading us to be aware of our path, and walk through it consciously with joy.
    You are a wonderful soul with a mission.
    Thank you
    Lots of love to you

    1. Thank you so much Rey, I really appreciate your support and compassionate understanding… you’re another wonderful soul whom I’m thankful to be walking through this journey with. Much love to you!

  5. Love the story and journey you are sharing. True leadership is taking the path less travelled and blazing forward. Sure times come where we think about going back but the mission and purpose keeps us guided. I love your vulnerability and vision you are creating for this new connected and compassionate community!

    1. Takes one trailblazer to recognize another trailblazer Matthew… excited to be blazing trails together!
      Thank you for your support over the years… lots of respect for you my friend. ?

  6. Vanessa, it all starts with awareness. It is the first step to make changes in your life. Once you gain that awareness into your behaviour, you had the courage to look deep into yourself to discover who you are and what you want to do. Change happens from inside. You have accomplished so much in just a short year. You are an inspirational soul. You share your love and your light with heart and sincerity. I love reading your blogs and listening to you speak. You inspire me every single day !
    Thank you, I love you !

    1. Awe, Nadine, I so appreciate your encouragement and acceptance, it’s feels incredible to be surrounded by so much unconditional love and support. Thank you, I love you too my friend.

  7. Damn, Juanma stole my lighthouse line! 🙂 Jokes aside, lately universe (and youtube content suggestion algorithms of course) are bombarding me with various remixes of a popular Pink Floyd’s composition… so… can’t resist… Vanessa, shine on, you, crazy diamond!

  8. Vanessa, I deeply admire you for so bravely and vulnerably sharing your experiences after your divorce. You’ve learned and accomplished so much since. You have this incredible vibrancy that comes from within. That vibrancy has grown since I first met you because you’re more fully in authentic alignment with yourself.

    You have a beautiful deep quality connection with your kids in the way you share your kind thoughts and compassionate perspectives with them. You are an incredible example for your kids because you’re teaching them to be true to themselves. You are teaching them courage to act on values that you believe in. I love that you’re not a traditional mom because it makes other non-traditional moms not feel so alone.

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