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Celia Lashlie – What A Woman

Celia Lashlie – what a woman.

As the tributes continue to flow in for this incredible human – who, through her relentless work as a social justice advocate and author,  literally transformed the lives of thousands of adolescents in New Zealand – I wanted to take a moment to remember her as a truly inspirational leader.

What can leaders learn from Celia Lashlie?

1. Be passionate. She was tireless in her pursuit to help others and was driven by this overwhelming desire, even when it came at a cost. Passion is what drives you when the going gets tough. Passion is what keeps you focused. Passion fuels happiness. If you’re not passionate about your vocation, it might be time to stop, reflect and reset.

2. Be authentic. Celia was honest, outspoken, straight up. Celia was authentically Celia. Yes, she was harsh at times and certainly wasn’t liked by everyone. But, she was REAL and people respected that.

3. Be fearless. Pushing through the Red Zone and getting ‘uncomfortable’ is crucial to developing as a leader. The greatest leaders of our time were scared sh*tless a LOT of the time, but like Celia, they sucked it up and did it anyway. She was the first woman to work as a prison officer in a male prison in New Zealand. I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been! If you’re not getting uncomfortable daily, then you’re not growing.

4. Be kind. In particular, to yourself.

In her final blog post on her website, Celia said – “The stress of the lifestyle I was living, the demands I made of myself, the demands other people made of me and expected to meet became too great and as 2014 closed I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver.”

This is perhaps the biggest lesson for me personally. We are not super-humans. Nurturing the body, mind and soul is paramount. Are you taking care of YOU? Whether it’s meditating daily (here’s a fantastic app for execs), getting to the gym or eating clean, start implementing small changes and grow them into big ones.

Here’s a tweet I sent out earlier this week which sums up all of the above – and what we can learn from this incredible human. Rest easy Celia.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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