The CEO’s Blog

I headed to Knoxville, Tennessee last week for the Business School DEI Collaborative Conference.

I couldn’t believe it when I hit no traffic on my drive to the airport and found a great parking spot. I felt like a VIP strutting through security in a brand new outfit. My flight was on time and there was no line to grab a coffee.

As I calmly walked to my gate with plenty of time to spare, I wondered to myself, is this it, do I finally have everything together?

Then at that very moment I stumbled, dripping coffee over my new pants and new shoes.

And just like that, my moment of togetherness was lost. Instead, I immediately turned to negative self-talk.

Why did I get coffee? I always spill.

I may look like I have everything together, but inside, I’m still a mess.

Why do I even buy new pants. I will only ruin them.

But then I hit pause and reflected. Why was I so quick to be hard on myself because of one small spill?

I remembered a conversation with a member the day before. She told me how much she valued being part of the WiBE community. She explained that it was a safe space for her to share and she felt very connected to the other members and supported.

She said that the main reason she wasn’t afraid to be herself was because I was unafraid to show vulnerability first. Because of my ability to be open and honest, everyone followed my lead.

The reason she trusted and respected my leadership was not my perfection, but that I was openly imperfect.

We all have stains. Whether internally in our souls, or externally on our pants.

I share with my team all the time that we will never strive for perfection. If we do hit perfection, then we haven’t been pushing ourselves hard enough. There is failure in being “too safe” rather than attempting new things and stumbling along the way.

It is not your perfection that will shape you into an authentic trusted leader. It’s learning to embrace and value the times when you stumble.

Because you are imperfectly perfect. Exactly as you are.

Warm regards,

—Lisa Leander, Founder & CEO

p.s. Ready to meet inspiring imperfect leaders in-person? Early Bird registration for #WiBFuture is March 31, 2023. Register today!

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