I think I have mentioned before how my husband once asked me, as I was preparing for a talk, “Dont you just say the same thing each time?” Of course not!

This week I spent two days presenting at a Leadership Academy where I told my story through the lens of how to be a “leader.” It was an interesting perspective upon which for me to reflect – and one I had not viewed before. While I am aware of and can articulate some of the leadership roles I have now (Vice President of the Notre Dame Monogram Club, Parents’ Association Chair at my sons’ school, etc…) it was a challenge to go back and look at a time when I wasn’t necessarily a “leader” in the traditional sense of the word, and then to build a presentation about it.

It is very clear to me now that I used to live a my very Haley-centric role during my healing. This was easier for me, and almost essential to my emotional well-being. It was too difficult for me to look beyond myself when it took all my energy and effort to learn to walk. Yet, in a very real way, I had lead a campus and a community through the healing process just by the nature of my recovery. Did that make me a leader? What is a leader?

I believe the best way to lead is by example. We all know too many people who say one thing and do another. A leader is more honest than that, in both their words and actions. It is one of the reasons I do not say the same thing each time. Because I need to lead my audience in a believable and meaningful way through my story of faith and triumph. We can all be leaders if we are true to ourselves and genuine in our outreach. Those aren’t things you can just tell someone; you have to live your life that way.