Career Diaries Part 2: Letting Go and Being Present

career diaries

After one rock bottom day when I failed miserably at being the perfect mom, employee and grad student simultaneously, I knew something had to change. I just didn’t know what needed to change.

That was, until I read a book for one of my leadership classes called Presence by Otto Scharmer.

In his book, Scharmer challenged leaders to think about their leadership situations differently by letting go of past habits and ways of thinking to see the world around them differently. In order to do that, leaders must take time for reflection and challenge what they have accepted as the world around them. Scharmer even encourages leaders to spend time in nature and reconnect with the natural world to allow better reflection. By doing these steps, leaders can look at situations differently and form and “crystallize” new ways of doing things to get past any hurdles.

I definitely had some hurdles I was trying to resolve; namely overwhelming stress and feelings of failure. As I thought more about it and yes, even took a road trip to the mountains, I realized that I was holding on so tightly to who I was before and not accepting who I had become. I was trying to be like the person I was when I was not a mom, not in school and not a manager: an entry-level workaholic without any responsibilities.

The reality was that I had changed. I was not single and had huge responsibilities like a graduate degree, a high-level leadership position and a family. No human could give 150% every day to all those responsibilities.

And here is the most important realization: It was okay. It was okay.

It was okay because I was going to school to invest in myself to be a better employee and to better provide for my family.

It was okay because I was teaching my son about hard work and persistence.

It was okay because I had a supportive husband at home and team at work who wanted to help.

Eventually I became more present and accepting of who I was continually becoming, and there were ripple effects in both my personal and professional lives.

In my next blog, I will describe some of my specific strategies to be more present and accepting and how this awareness transformed, yes transformed!, the people around me.


Marcella Gonsalves is wife, mom, program planner, writer, teacher, coach and people developer.  When she is not helping people or organizations achieve their goals, she loves to drink a good espresso, talk about nutrition, or even take a kickboxing class or two. She has a diverse educational background with a bachelor of arts in journalism, master of public health and is nearly finished with a doctorate in educational leadership and management. Check out her LinkedIn profile for more details.

1 Comment

  • Sandy says:

    To leave a impact as a leader, we have to continuously change the techniques which don’t work. I think this is the actual way to leave the past and be a better person everyday.

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