Sally is a Resilient Leadership™ Mentor amongst our Resilient Leadership™ Community.
In this story Sally shares her journey to discover her resilience — her life of journeys.
Photo by Rob Campbell.
When I think about my life, it appears to me to be an ongoing journey, each stage leading to new discoveries and choices which will lead to the next stage or transition. My parents returned from living in America a few months before my birth in the UK, and a medium once told me that my mother’s unsettled state lead me to always be looking for ‘greener pastures’. So, this was the start of my life of journeys.
Most of my growing up happened in a small village in the South West of England. We lived on my grandfather’s farm and we became part of an active farming community where I developed the sense of place which has been a key pattern throughout my life: being active in community organisations, building networks and always learning and seeking out new ideas and inspirations.
I did two student exchanges during high school spending a month each time with French families. This sorely tested my sense of comfort of being away from what I knew, encouraged me to be a bit braver, slowly developed some endurance to stick it out and to see new things and improve my French.
My post-school training as a bilingual secretary was a cornerstone in equipping me to do administrative tasks for both work and community organisations and, also, in seeing the world through two languages, an English woman thinking and learning and seeing in French. I learned that immersing myself in a place, a language or a situation helped me to understand the connections, the experience of the other and the bigger picture.
Living and working in London, then Paris, then working and travelling with my partner in New Zealand and Australia and back again to the UK was like an ongoing learning journey of what I felt comfortable about, being tested on several occasions and coming to terms with what I did and didn’t want to do in my life.
I have travelled to many places in the world, I have lived in isolated country towns and cities, I have worked as a cleaner, a secretary, an administrator, I am a mother and after going to university at the age of 40,I rediscovered my love of learning and then teaching adults about sustainability.
As a joiner and leader of various community organisations over the years and, more recently, as a director and then chair of a regional accommodation business, I have drawn on my training as an administrator; experienced the need for developing good governance; for listening to, and sometimes struggling with other disparate characters and always aiming for transparency and the best result for all concerned.
I have had many moments of not knowing, of being fearful and not doing, including taking 15 years to write a PhD thesis, uncertain to share what I had written with others. Even now, I still question the value of what I can offer others but am always delighted to discover that others value what I can offer them and that I should continue to feel the fear and do it anyway, most of the time!
I look forward to travelling alongside you on your journey to develop resilience and leadership skills so that you too can create the future.
Sally Paulin, July 2020
Theophilous Duff and Associates