The Essential Leadership Responsibility You Can’t Fake

True SelfNot only do you owe it to yourself, you owe it to every person who works for you or follows you in some capacity: a commitment to live your life true to who you are, as your Truest Self. To work each day to become more of who you were created to be and less of who you were not.

I didn’t always understand this. My reality is, I spent many years of my life disconnected from my True Self because I didn’t think I was worthy of love or success as me. This may surprise many of you, but it’s true. Most of the time I spent leading in the corporate world and in the non-profit world I was doing so as a very guarded, half-version of myself. I was leading from my mind, passionate about making things happen of course, but not connected to the place within that allowed me to truly lead from my heart.

I would have been a much better leader – and more successful than I was – if I had been my whole, True self, connected to all of who I was and am.

I have learned virtually everything I now know about The Essence of Worthiness and living as my True Self from working with my business partner and friend, Vanda Teixeira. So much so that I am now solely focused on helping her launch the To Be A Woman Global Platform, designed to help women awaken all of the 31 Essences of Being a Woman, reconnect to their true, intuitive selves, and to empower themselves from within to live their heart’s truest wishes.

It all started with a book.

31 Essences Special Edition CoverThat book is To Be A Woman: 31 Essences to Awaken Your True Self and Transform Your Life, which Vanda literally birthed. The words that together make up the 31 Essences have an energy vibration to them that is so high it purposefully makes it so that you cannot read too much in one sitting. These are words that help a woman look within her and awaken the deepest, most beautiful and treasured aspects of her that she may have suppressed or may simply have been laying dormant.

Reading this book is a different experience for every woman. For me, it helped me reconnect with parts of me I had suppressed as a pre-teen, when the mean girls at school were telling me I was ugly and would never be loved. I began to feel parts of my soul actually awaken, and I saw myself as truly beautiful for the first time in 30 years.

Yes, for me, it was that powerful.

So when Vanda told me we were destined to work together, I was simply overjoyed. I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate next step in my career than to help other women who were on a similar journey, wanting desperately to wake up all of who they are, but perhaps not even realizing that this was what was missing from their life!

  • Women who feel something is missing from their lives but they just don’t know what
  • Women who feel they are meant for so much more but don’t know where to look for it
  • Women who are doing things for others when they don’t really want to, often disregarding their own needs
  • Women who say, “I don’t ask for much” when instead they should be asking for exactly what they want
  • Women who feel obligated to live with the choices they made in the past instead of to create the future they most desire, starting by forgiving themselves
  • Women who have been afraid to pursue their truest wishes because of what other people will think

The To Be A Woman book and the Global Platform we are in the process of creating will help women in so many ways. We will help women:

  • Connect with and acknowledge the fears, insecurities, and old belief systems that are holding them back
  • Then, importantly, release these fears, insecurities and old belief systems so they may move forward
  • Forgive themselves so they may forgive others
  • Nurture their Essences of Worthiness, Knowing, and Courage, and all 31 Essences of Being a Woman
  • Empower themselves from within to live a life that is true to who they are, and not who they thought they needed to be or had accidentally become
To Be A Woman Book Launch: Lisa Petrilli, Vanda Teixeira, Molly Cantrell-Kraig

To Be A Woman Book Launch: Lisa Petrilli, Vanda Teixeira, Molly Cantrell-Kraig

I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with Vanda and a magical team of talented women. We officially launched the To Be A Woman book in November, and put together a short video of pictures from the event. You may even notice a photo of me interviewing civil rights leader, activist, Baptist minister and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., The Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley. Of the book and the Global Platform that we are creating, Reverend Durley said,

It awakens a woman to be who she is, who she was created to be. It allows her feminine side to be real. It also challenges a man to truly appreciate a woman. It ministers to you. Do you remember the song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings?” Well, the wind is the spirit. Most women truly are the wind beneath.

So will I still be talking about Visionary Leadership here on this blog in 2014? Absolutely! But we are going deep now…leadership at its truest, deepest level, starting with being true to you!

Because just as you have to love yourself so that you may love others, you have to lead by being true to yourself so you can be true to those you lead!

~~~~If you would like to buy a book, you may purchase the Signature (12×12 Coffee Table version), Hardcover Special Edition, and Paperback To Be A Woman book  on our website , and the eBook version is available on Amazon as well! No matter what, thank you for being an important and valued part of the Visionary Leadership Community!~~~~

Top photo by rocket ship on Flickr


  1. I can totally relate to what you said here Lisa: “Most of the time I spent leading in the corporate world and in the non-profit world I was doing so as a very guarded, half-version of myself. I was leading from my mind, passionate about making things happen of course, but not connected to the place within that allowed me to truly lead from my heart.”

    While I’ve come a very long way there is always a need to stay in a conversation with people who support us in our commitment to live true to who we really are. The world will forever call forth conformity to social norms and standards so the work you are doing is so vitally important.

    May 2014 be a magical one of self expression and dreams come true for you!
    Susan Mazza´s last blog post ..Make Room for Your Dreams

    • Susan, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sharing with me how the post resonated for you. You are so right about conformity! Thank you for seeing this work as vital…I believe so as well. I know it won’t resonate with everyone, but for those who connect to it I believe it will make a true impact in their lives. Wishing you a magical 2014 as well! I so hope we get to work together again soon…

  2. I really connected with your powerful post, Lisa about the need for each of us to be authentic and pursue both professional and personal lives that “speak to us”.

    I especially loved “connect and acknowledge the fears” because when we recognize what is holding us back, we can begin to dissolve it , piece by piece. I am totally committed to being more unafraid and take more risks this coming year.

    Thanks for your wonderful strategies on finding our true selves!


    • You’re so welcome, Terri and I’m honored to know it resonated with you and more importantly to know you’re going to be taking more risks this year. Be in your heart and not in your fear when you do…and you will soar!! All the best to you for a blessed 2014!

  3. As always I love your posts. They always make me do a little soul searching. Thanks so much my friend.
    Jonathan Saar´s last blog post ..Scars of my past…a School Bullying Story

  4. The leader’s task is complicated by certain basic conflicts that are inherent in group activity (Thelen, 1954). For example, there usually is some degree of conflict between individual and group needs and between various aspects of the group’s activity. How will the group’s time be spent? What problems must be solved first? What goals are most important? The effective leader must be sensitive to such conflicts, help evaluate them objectively, and guide the group toward a satisfactory compromise program.
    leadership´s last blog post ..Personal Qualities Of a Leader

  5. The nature of communication in the group also plays a significant part in determining what kind of person will be an effective leader. An individual will usually be regarded as a group leader when he has a central position in the communication network (Goldberg, 1955). In less highly structured groups, persons who initiate the most communication are likely to emerge as leaders
    qualities of a leader´s last blog post ..Personal Qualities Of a Leader

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