“Whether we choose to or not, we will, in time, wear the deeper part of who we are as a new skin.” –Mark Nepo
This is a powerful guest post by Monique Reneé Catoggio on how to lead yourself from the inside out, and how to lead others with heart.
Monique is all about leadership, authenticity, and continuous learning.
Monique is Director of Life Well LED Programs and Coaching at Florida International University (FIU) Continuing and Professional Education. She is also an Adjunct Leadership Instructor and Executive Coach for FIU Executive MBA students and FIU Center for Leadership Women Who Lead program participants. She specializes in Energy Leadership, Gallup StrengthsFinder, the Wellness Inventory, and The Leadership Circle Profile 360.
Monique is also an active community member. She is a Guardian Angel for Holtz Children’s Hospital, a United Way Women’s Leader, and is the facilitator of a group of women CEOs for the The Commonwealth Institute (TCI).
Are you getting the sense of just how much experience, insight, and capability Monique brings to the table?
I hope so.
Without further ado, here’s Monique on Sensing, Loving, and Leading …
I vividly remember the day my world opened up. I was in the library, a place I visited frequently—to climb up and dream in the enormous oak trees outside—and to explore some great reads inside. On this particular day, I must have been about 10 years old and something on the wall caught my eye. It said “E.S.P. – Extra Sensory Perception”, and it had pictures of what seemed to be the universe, and planets, and stars.” It stopped me in my tracks and held my attention deeply for the next hour, at least!
As a good Catholic girl, the thought of perceiving anything, or connecting to anything other than what we learned we could connect to, was non-existent. This E.S.P. stuff blew my mind! What happened next was the beginning of my life-long quest to become a “sensor” and own it! A sensor for myself—to be aware, awake, and connected, and a sensor for others—to partner with them to help them live and lead more consciously, to awaken to their fabulous selves, their “USP”—Unique Super Power! (Can I get a “hell ya”?!)
My sensing journey did not happen over night, nor was it light or pretty. My interest in reading and learning exploded after this incident, soaking in all kinds of books that had me exploring and imagining who I was as both a human being and spiritual being. All these books were my therapists, teachers and mentors that supported me through those awkward and painful moments in my life. How does a young girl learn to love herself and have confidence in herself when her Daddy leaves? Those years were tough, as I’m sure they were for all children who experienced a divorce. My mother, the strongest, most resilient woman I know, glued all the pieces together and poured on the care and love. Through her I learned to work hard and never give up. She modeled that for me. Yet half of my foundation was missing. No one could fill that but me. It took years of forgiveness and challenging lessons, but awaken, I did; heal, I did; fill the gaps with self-love, I did! I know now that I never lost my Daddy’s love, we just had to define our relationship differently. I love my patchwork of pain, because I can see how strong I am today because of my experiences. I truly believe that we either grow from them or die from them!
I was so loved growing up; always. I can see that clearly now as an adult and a mother (and a sensor!). Regardless of all the love we receive, we still have to strive to fully and completely know ourselves and love ourselves. For what is my life without me? Without me I cannot BE, create, connect and love others. What is your life without you? It’s really a big deal. You are a big deal!
The concept of love became so much more to me, though, when I learned from Marianne Williamson that all of our thoughts, emotions, reactions, decisions, etc., either come from love or fear. As a young adult, this further blew my mind! I questioned, “Do I truly have that much power?” This concept, although ever present for me, is a daily challenge. But, when I can catch myself in a fear-based thought, emotion, or decision, I can coach myself right out of it. I ask, “How would I feel differently if this decision was based in love?” Immediately, I know my answer.
Life is work. We know this. But life feels so much better when its foundation is self-love and personal responsibility. We can only get there through being aware and making conscious, loving decisions.
I’ve had some really amazing role models in my life who all silently taught me different things. My grandparents and my mother were rocks for our family. Family came first, and we were going to survive each and every challenge. We did! During and after college, I learned through my stepfather how to be a caring, empathetic and savvy entrepreneur who treated his employees like family members. He led and built a corporate culture around his deeply-held values. My love for business and leadership came from watching him and his engaged workforce succeed, while also having a blast! From my husband I have learned to live each moment of life as if it were the last; to let go and take risks, and to love deeply. He is the yang to my yin! And, there are many others…
It only makes sense, then, that I see leading from the framework of personal leadership—leading our lives, which includes, but is not limited to, our work life. And because I’m a proud sensor and perceiver—I feel you can only lead from the inside out and by looking at our lives in a holistic way. Everything is interconnected.
I’m excited about all of the learning I still have to do. I’m looking forward to achieving my ever-changing vision, but I so love the journey! Are you loving your journey? How are you sensing, loving and leading? As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and Trainer/Coach of Energy Leadership, I have seen the direct connection to my success, joy and sense of life balance through leveraging my unique talents, and managing my energy—moment-to-moment—and how I choose to direct it. So, in closing, I’d love to share 3 strategies with you that can help you do the same.
Simply…GIVE YOURSELF SOME T.L.C.!
- Take the time to know your TRUTH. You are a unique, divinely-designed individual. Sense it. Know it. Own it.
- Get out of your own way. Fear will paralyze you, but LOVE will propel you forward authentically.
- Your life cannot be without you, but you can’t go at it alone. Life is about CONNECTING—with others, with our environment, with the world we see and we don’t.
I am honored to be the owner of my life, and I truly hope that you, too, embrace your life as your own. Go manifest your Unique Super Power!
It’s your life. Lead it well.
Monique Reneé Catoggio blogs at >Life Well LED. She hold an EMBA, ACC, CPC, ELI-MP, Gallup® Certified Strengths Coach. Her top five strengths include: Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Individualization, and Ideation.