I recently attended a webinar put on by some Central Alberta governmental organizations on ‘Thriving in the New Normal – Leadership and Peer-to-Peer Networking’. I was interested in hearing what the experts are saying about how leadership needs to change during and after Covid. As I have tried to steer our family business through the Covid crisis, my leadership skills have been taxed to the max so, if I say that I can teach leadership, I need to be able to walk the talk. From this presentation, I realized that what I have learned and experienced about leadership (and what I can help others learn about leadership thru Equine Facilitated Learning) are the same things that these presenters talked about. Things like encouraging the heart, making people feel like they belong, empathy, communication, flexibility and adaptability, humility, active listening – these are skills that I have learned from my Eponaquest training and from being both humbled and enlightened in my own experiences with horses. My Reclaim Connection offering to the Covid-induced mental health crisis is going to be a workshop on Resilience for work teams. My research into resilience has brought to light three critical factors for resilience that the horses can uniquely teach people – self-awareness, connection, and group coherence. I have spent the past few months putting together the research and then creating a day-long workshop that will give participants an embodied experience of Finding Resilience. (a future blog post) In the peer-to-peer networking portion of the above-mentioned webinar, we were to tell a bit about our organizations and our biggest challenge. From these stories, one organization or business was chosen to be a business case for networking. I talked about our family business and how our biggest challenge was finding enough work. Then I decided to mention Reclaim Connection, my Finding Resilience workshop and the challenge of how to market it to businesses and organizations. As luck would have it, our group decided that this would be an interesting business case, so I was in the hot seat! But what good fortune for me. I got an hour’s worth of tough questions and brainstorming that made me think deeply about credibility, uniqueness, my why? in doing this, and lots of advice on marketing. I came away with pages of notes and even more enthusiasm for engaging people in the EFL work. This has all got me thinking about networking and its value to leaders. I realized that I have had a some-what informal network with my Eponaquest colleagues, and now see its value with new eyes. These are the women who went through training with me – three Europeans, two Americans and one other Canadian. We have a WhatsApp group that connects almost daily and a monthly Zoom call where we connect and share ideas for our respective businesses. We have laughed and cried together all through our training and afterward. We share our personal trials and triumphs. We talk over our respective projects and how we are incorporating our Eponaquest training into our unique business models. After my experience in the webinar, I have a new appreciation for this amazing group of women and how important they are in my life. And in networking terms, this is an international peer to peer network. Wow, that certainly sounds impressive!
Leadership can be a lonely task. You can be a solo entrepreneur or the head of a major corporation but, as they say, ‘It’s lonely at the top.’ Reaching out and finding other people in similar or diverse situations to form a peer-to-peer network is an amazing way to connect, encourage, have empathy, practice humility and active listening – all those skills that the webinar presenters listed as essential skills for leaders in this changing paradigm. I am so grateful to have my network!