The Best of 2014 from Jone Bosworth

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by Susan Caba

What do Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Walking Dead have in common? What’s the connection between a hug and a personal manifesto? Which is better, striving for power or learning to relax and let go?

Oh, the questions we ask! And where do we turn for answers? To Jone Bosworth, of course.

I’ve been reading inCourageLeading.com closely for more than a year now, and I’m consistently impressed with Jone’s knack for pulling leadership insights from unlikely sources—the Rolling Stones, Mister Rogers—and, more than that, for encouraging women to both recognize and use our power while, at the same time, giving us permission to relax and release responsibility for making the entire world run right.

Not only that, she makes me laugh.

best of 2014

Here are some of my favorite posts from 2014:

Leadership Guidance from the World’s Nicest Grown-Up: To tell you the truth, I was never a fan of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a hard-bitten newspaper reporter, I frankly found the show sappy. But Jone, wiser than I, gleaned 15 leadership lessons from him that I have since come to appreciate. Here’s just one: “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices come from a deep sense of who you are.”

If you, like me, found Fred Rogers a little too soft-spoken, consider Jone’s take on leadership lessons from apocalyptic movies and television shows, Leaders for the End-of-the-World in e.Mile People Development Magazine. Faced with zombies banging on the door—and losing an arm in the process—the heroines sigh, “I never asked for this.” That’s so realistic. So often we are thrust into leadership positions we never prepared for. But we rise to the occasion. Maybe not perfectly, but with the best of intentions.

Another recurring theme of Jone’s is the need to be kind—to ourselves and others—and grateful. She mindvision_breakthroughrecognizes that, as much as we need to push ourselves to succeed, we also have to give ourself space to breath. It’s a point she made in The 5 Breaks You Need to Succeed. While we’re busy trying to make a “breakthrough” in some aspect of our lives, we must also give ourselves a break—a nap, time to daydream, psychic space for making important decisions.

When all else fails, don’t forget the power of human connection. It could be something as simple as a hug or singing together. Along the same lines, Jone suggests maintaining engagement in a job by using the same love tactics you’d apply to keeping your marriage fresh.

Self-Love2But the posts I glean the most from are those that remind me that leadership, connection and a fulfilled life come from the values we enact every day. And, in particular, that those values don’t require us to be extraordinary, do-it-all, have-it-all women.

Here are the posts I’m thinking of, in which Jone reminds us—with facts and research to back up her thoughts—that we can build our strengths with some ongoing, not-so-strenuous effort:

How to Create Your 2015 Manifesto: “A manifesto is … a declaration of principles, beliefs and intentions. It’s a rallying cry: Statements or images or even just one word that embodies what you stand for.” As someone who sometimes feels overwhelmed by my own expectations of myself, I’ve made my own manifesto something simple: Wake Up, Get Up, Show Up. For those who are suffering from grief or guilt, I like this question that Jone asks to help shape a manifesto: What is the one thing you’ll let go of or forgive yourself for?

A Toy Story for Leaders: in which Jone lusts for IamElemental action figures for girls. The figures, IAE_Press-page14designed by Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau, portray women in terms of their “elements”—Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence and, yes, Fear. I realize as I peruse my list of Jone’s favorite posts that I am grateful that she allows us to recognize ourselves as imperfect—and yet, strong, capable people. There is no Courage without Fear, is there?

Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You'll GoOne last favorite, again affirming the power of connections and gratitude. But the reason I particularly like this post, Lessons from a Ditch, is that the inspiration came to Jone while she was sitting for three hours in a snow-filled ditch in Colorado, waiting for a tow-truck. She called on her inner Dr. Seuss, in his fabulous book for all ages, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

If inCourageLeading had an overall message in 2014, Dr. Seuss pretty much sums it up for me. I’m grateful for Jone’s unceasing, thoughtful and witty efforts to plant it in our hearts as well as our heads.

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