Where are your feet placed?

Where are your feet placed.

Leading is hard. 

It is a space where you are:

  • Courageously putting yourself and your ideas out there. 
  • Leading the development of innovation, pushing boundaries, and keeping one-step ahead of current-state, whilst balancing that with a sense of groundedness. 
  • Managing the internal voice of self-doubt, whilst engendering a sense of self-confidence in those you lead.
  • Constantly reading any situation to manage shifting dynamics. 
  • Placing two feet in the arena, even when fear call you back. 

In her award-selling book “Dare to Lead”, Brene Brown quotes Thodore Roosevelt’s “The man in the arena”.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I had the privilege of completing Brene’s Dare to Lead facilitator training in Melbourne a couple of years ago, and I’d like to share a snippet of information to support you to reflect on where you are placing your energies and attention.

Brene’ speaks about different ‘seats’ within the arena. As you look at them below, consider them on two levels: people around you who reside in any of the seats, and where you yourself sit in any one of the seats in relation to yourself. 

As an example, are there people in your life/work/online spaces who are keen to provide criticism and advice (sometimes cloaked as “If it were me, I would…”), yet aren’t walking their talk?

Furthermore, do you sit in the Cheap-seats towards yourself? Does your self-criticism and judgement hold you back from placing two feet in the arena.


Are there people sitting in the season-ticket holder seats who when you share an idea or something that you are doing, are quick to state things like “Oh, we tried that and it didn’t work”, or “We don’t have enough money, time or energy to do that”, or “Well I wouldn’t have done it that way (without offering a solution or helping hand).

At a personal level, maybe you find yourself comparing yourself with others “I’m not good enough”, “They’re better than me”, “I don’t have the answers”, or “I haven’t got enough…”


Are there people in the Box Seats who create the strings, and you are the puppet on the end? Or maybe you do this for/to others? 

Also identify who is in your Support Section, or how often you offer self-compassion and empathy towards yourself.

Take a wee bit of time for yourself this coming week to reflect on who in your life/work is sitting in which arena seats, and what seats you personally sit in towards yourself.

Our energy is precious, so it is vital that we are not ‘leaking’ any of it to people, or thoughts that prevent us from showing-up each day, and placing two feet in the arena.

Need a speaker?

There are plenty of speakers to choose from. I am not the norm. You won’t be bored to tears by the same ole’ approach and dribble. How about bringing Mary-Anne for the conference or all-staff day.

Give me a stage and I’ll own it. Give me a room and I’ll energise it. Give me your people and I’ll inform and inspire them. 

Need virtual delivery – no sweat! I have facilitated virtual full and half-day workshops, virtual keynote speaking at online conferences, and might I say, you still get the Mary-Anne goodness you deserve!

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