Two weeks ago, a group of 36 Indian Muslim women graduated from a prestigious fellowship program hosted by the LedBy Foundation, India’s first incubator focused on helping more Muslim women prepare for business leadership roles. I had the honor and pleasure of serving as an Executive Coach to three of these women.
Throughout the time with my clients, I became increasingly impressed by their tenacity. The challenges for Indian Muslim women are real: They have the poorest socio-economic indicators when compared to any other religio-cultural community in India; add to that, the male-female inequality gap for access to education and literacy is widest amongst Muslims in India. This lack of representation and education has supported a slow-but-steady political, economic, and social disenfranchisement of Indian Muslim women.
The women I coached persist beyond what seems possible. Their tenacity is clearly fueled by conviction, collaboration, and community. Each one of these amazing women is driven by a compelling reason to be authentically who they are. They have actively worked together to gain an education that prepares them for leadership in the business world. As Alumni Fellows of this remarkable group, they now get to lean on one another for support and inspiration.
The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggests that without suffering through the mud, you cannot find the happiness of the lotus. I am witness to three women who—despite their experiences with “mud”—choose to lead beyond limitations.
They are paving their own paths towards authentic, integrative living. Their dreams are big, and I believe they will achieve so much more than their wildest imaginations. While I served them as their Coach, I have gained so much more…perspective, inspiration, and three new friends for life.
Leadership can surface at any stage of life when you actively choose it. It is not about achieving a certain job level or filling an executive role. Rather, it begins with purpose and ends in a legacy of having taken responsibility for your world. No matter what stage of life you’re in, you can practice leadership and inspire others to do the same.
This Week’s Challenge: What community are you (or can you be) part of to support your leadership? It might be social, professional, spiritual, neighborhood, sports, or so on. Ask yourself: “What inspires me about this community and how do I lean on them to help grow my leadership capacity?” If helpful, consider making a specific request to the individuals in that community who support your leadership growth.
Impact Your Leadership
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