Have you ever found yourself stuck and unable to move from your current situation? What made you become paralyzed by the fear of change? The fact is that what we most desire is often what we are most fearful of. There are a few ways that get people to change, but when we continue to work for what we most desire, we can overcome anything. In my life, I have been through some difficult times in developing the leader within me. I have been told that I will never be good enough, I do not have the education to lead others, I do not have the age or experience to lead, or that I do not fit what most people would define as success. I felt discouraged, broken, and lost in determining my path. What I found is that I can create my destiny. I can break through adversity and defeat my obstacle if I persistently practiced and moved forward with what was true in my heart. I knew that finding my courage and overcoming my fears would eventually lead me to develop the heart of a lion.
As I started my career in conservation biology, I began to take on the entry-level technician roles that would give me the basic knowledge and skills to become a scientist in the field of conservation biology. Being in an entry-level position was painful with my desire to lead and develop others, however, I knew that it would be necessary to understand the inside workings of an environmental organization. As they say, “You must first learn to follow before you can lead.” That is what I did, I followed and learned what it took to be a great leader. One thing I realized was that what we needed most in conservation was not necessarily research, but it was leadership. We had the facts and figures to show there was a clear change in our environment through human disruption, but what we needed was the people that would help connect with others to show them how we all desperately relied on our natural resources. This involved a tremendous amount of respect for Earth but also the courage to connect with others that may have different views from ours.
I decided it was time for me to bridge the gap. I knew that I had a background in the environmental sciences and a passion for leadership as well as the necessary knowledge and experience, but I was not presented with the opportunity to fulfill both of those desires. This led me to create an opportunity to fulfill both my passions for the environmental sciences and leadership. This has led me to start Exemplify!
Leading an environmental company or any other business for that matter was something I had always wanted to do. However, I was told I did not have a Ph.D., I was too young to lead others that were 30 years older than me, or that the organization I was working for did not need to instill leadership values in their people so there was no way I could become a leader. What I realized is that instead of delaying my dreams, I decided to take action. Action cures fear and that fear of accomplishing what I most desired would not keep me down. I decided to take the leap of faith and start my own business to develop conservation leaders and other small business owners in instilling leadership values to help get the best out of them and those they lead.
What I learned at this moment is that we have two options to create change. One option is to be reactive, and the other is to be proactive. When we are reactive, we let things happen to us and let our environment determine our fate. When we are proactive, we can help set up the environment we have always wanted, what we had always desired, and what we have always dreamed of. I chose to be proactive. Instead of letting others determine my fate, I decided to create my destiny, muster up the courage to face my biggest fear, and be brave in developing the heart and strength of a lion, the person I always knew I could be. Now, what am I trying to tell you? I am telling you to stop waiting around for things to just happen to you, instead, have the courage to become the best version of yourself that you know you can be. Be your authentic self and refuse to live in the shadows of what society tells you to think and let your light shine. Step out of your comfort zone and learn from your mistakes! You have everything you need inside of you! You do not need to have it all together, you just have to get started! Now I ask you this, what will you decide? Will you choose to be proactive and have the courage to face your fears? You are capable of more than you can imagine! Develop the heart of a lion and be brave…your time is now!
Carl currently resides in Wichita, KS where he coaches and consults businesses, community groups, and individuals with Exemplify.