Great leaders develop their wisdom over years, one building block upon another. 

The greatest leaders gain and share the wisdom they learn from their lived experiences. Some good experiences. Some hard. We know that every experience becomes worthwhile when we stop to learn from what happened.

Sometimes we have to learn to listen to the wisdom of ourselves and not others.

When guiding my clients on retreats, or simply sitting with them in conversation, I watch and listen. I listen to their words, and I watch their actions. Their body movements are just as important to my listening as hearing the words they speak.

One thing I notice time and again is how many people resist their own wisdom. They try to run and hide from “the hard.” My job is to hold them accountable when the hard is in front of them, holding space for their learning.

One thing I do know:

Y’all are smarter and wiser than you even realize! 

{{Read that above statement again, please.}}

Great leaders are not born. They are made. Article written by Sara Schulting Kranz.

I explained it to my group of clients on our last retreat like this:

Our learning sits in front of us, right in front of our eyes. And instead of sitting with this textbook experience in front of us, we turn our heads 90 degrees. We refuse to see what sits in front of us. And then, our learning moves forward and finds us again, sitting in front of our eyes. Once again, we turn 90 degrees. Once again, we refuse to see what sits in front of us.

Perhaps it’s too hard to look at. Perhaps we are afraid to learn and grow more deeply. Perhaps we are afraid of our own wisdom, strength, and what’s possible when we embark on this journey of deeper learning.

When I explained it to my clients like this, they all shook their heads in agreement. “Yup, I do that.”

I’ve done it, too.


Every leader that I look up to, from Mother Teresa to Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mary Jane Colter, Dr. Edith Eger, and so many others, have all embraced and shared what they have learned from their real life experiences.

They have chosen to work through the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical hardships that come from walking through darkness and into light.

And, every leader that I look up to has shared their story. Every part of it, regardless of how hard it can be to speak and hear. And they have shared what they have learned from their story, too.

Sit with that.

This takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. 

And, that’s what makes a great leader. 

So here are some questions for you:

  • What life lesson(s) are you resisting in your own life?
  • Where can you bridge the gap between your personal and professional life to become a more effective and empowered leader for both yourself and others?
  • How can you learn and grow from your divorce, the betrayals you’ve experienced, the death of a loved one, the loss of a career, or a medical diagnosis.. and become a better leader?

My suggestion? Grab your journal, sit with those questions, and write out your answers.

Don’t turn away from what’s in front of you. Instead, face what scares you most. Because I promise, if not today, it will catch up to you someday.

I believe in you / us.. And always will.




“A charismatic storyteller, speaker, coach and wilderness guide, Sara Schulting-Kranz dedicates her life to unlocking the highest potential of individuals on a journey of betterment.” – Joan McGrail – Chief Human Resources Officer, New Balance 


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