“Being joyful is a radical act of leadership.”
— Leza Danly, CPCC, LLMC
Part One: Letting Go
It was January of 2019, and I was sitting on a beach in Punta Mita, Mexico, listening to the lush melodies of Gonzalo’s instrumental guitar. Colorful flags and flaming torches surrounded the area where, hours earlier, we’d enjoyed a Mexican feast and joyful laughter, as the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky with pastel hues.
I couldn’t believe I was about to walk away from it all. Wasn’t this my dream?
I couldn’t believe I was about to walk away from it all. Wasn’t this my dream?
I was in business with my closest friend, Jeanine. The work we did was powerful, satisfying and well received. Over two decades, we’d built our company, Lucid Living, and a community of loving, generous and powerful leaders, coaches who’d become more than clients. They were friends, with whom we’d laughed and cried and grown together.
I took in the beauty of the gently lapping surf, the near-full moon rising over the water.
It was night five of a six-day retreat, and we’d lingered on the beach for a different kind of ritual. This was my last retreat. I was stepping away from my role, and the company I’d built. It was time to express my gratitude for the years we’d shared, and to give them each an opportunity for completion.
For the next couple of hours, Jeanine and I stretched to receive their love, their acknowledgments, their gratitude and celebration. By the time the final words were spoken, and we strolled in the balmy night back to our rooms, I was full and overflowing with love.
That love emboldened me to move forward. I could hear the inner voices begging me not to leave, but I’d learned to listen to an even deeper voice of my soul.
“Step away, Leza. Step away from the work you love, the community you’ve built, the clients you serve, and even the sacred retreats that have been a pinnacle of joy. Step away from it all. Trust me.”
A few days later, I flew home to Northern California, and stepped into the unknown. For the next twelve months, I rested. I walked in nature. I read. I traveled with my sweet husband, Frank. And I learned the joy of doing absolutely nothing.
Part Two: Transformational Memoir
In all my free time, I became a voracious reader of memoir. I’ve always loved stories, and I’ve spent over twenty-five years coaching people to consciously shift their stories, in order to transform their lives. My signature Great Story Coaching Program trains coaches in a process to do just that.
But now, for the first time, I felt called to actually write a memoir.
I made a list of the defining moments in my life. Some were wounding experiences, some were moments of choice that changed the course of my life, others were joyful moments of exhilarating beauty, or the triumph of realizing a dream. All of them were stories I suddenly needed to write.
It had been a year since that ritual on the beach. I was finally ready to begin giving new form to my work.
Diving deep into the emotions of my stories, I was finding everything sacred.
As I wrote, something was happening. I was honoring my journey in a whole new way. Diving deep into the emotions of my stories, I was finding everything sacred.
I was powerfully celebrating my messy, magnificent life.
I found gratitude for even the most painful and traumatic events. I could see value in every step, and I felt overwhelming love and compassion for those younger selves who got me here today. And I could feel them receiving my love.
In some ways, it still amazes me how far I’ve come. I was a deeply traumatized child, buried in shame and hurt, fully believing in my unworthiness. I thought my only value was in giving to others, to guarantee they would keep me around. I disrespected myself in countless, painful ways, let myself be used, abused and discarded.
How did I become the joyous, free and empowered woman I am today? The more I wrote my stories, the answers became stunningly clear.
And because it is second nature for me to do so, I began to hone a new process for writing our stories that brings healing to the past, and clarity of vision to the future.
I named this process Transformational Memoir.
Part Three: Dreaming of You
Somewhere at the edges of my consciousness, I felt you, a future fellow traveler with whom I would eventually connect. I imagined you, working to make peace with your own story, dreaming of living an increasingly joyful, meaningful, and celebratory life.
I started getting excited about creating a place for us to connect, a place for me to offer my vulnerable stories, and share my passions and perspectives in a way that would support your journey.
What is the inspiration you seek?
Perhaps you are looking for a way to make sense of your personal story, longing to bring greater meaning and understanding to the unique circumstances that brought you to this pivotal moment in time.
Maybe you are a coach, healer or teacher who is an insatiable, lifelong learner, always looking for new sources of inspiration, and new perspectives to frame our collective experience.
Or maybe you are someone who just loves stories, and is as crazy about popular entertainment as I am; someone who watches your favorite movies again and again, and can practically recite whole scenes by heart. (I can’t wait to turn you on to my favorite shows!)
Whatever your motivation, I am guessing you feel a calling deep in your soul to fulfill the promise of a long-held dream. And part of that dream is to share your love and your gifts.
Part Four: A Global Crisis and a Moment of Clarity
The stakes have never been higher. The new backdrop to your unfolding dream is a global paradigm shift of epic proportion. The world looks increasingly chaotic and dangerous, with a global pandemic, civil unrest and the ideological divide greater than ever.
Suddenly, everything is different. You find yourself navigating a bizarre reality of semi-quarantine, and the new normal is redefined weekly.
The intensity of emotional upheaval and personal uncertainty is calling you to pause, to go deeper, to examine what matters, and what you truly want.
Can you really put your personal dream, and the pursuit of joy, at the top of your list of priorities?
Yes you can, and here is why: Being joyful is a radical act of leadership.
It is time for real leadership to emerge. That means you, and that means me.
It suddenly became clear to me what I wanted to do:
- I wanted to celebrate the stories that shaped me personally, and by sharing them with you, help you learn to celebrate every part of your story, even the parts you currently reject.
- I also wanted to celebrate global awakening, telling stories of the world’s sacred process of transformation.
- I wanted to celebrate arts and entertainment, in particular the stories of transformation and works of imagination that inspire and enchant, and show us who we can become.
- And I wanted to create road maps to explore the sacred art of celebration, to give you ideas to celebrate yourself and the loved ones whom you cherish.
These are the four categories of blog posts you’ll find here, although the themes often overlap. You can sign up below to be notified when a new story arrives.
These are challenging times. Our love and hope matters more than we often realize.
The world is hungry for your personal magic.
Here’s what I know: I know your voice matters, and that no one else can make the contribution you came to make. Your destiny path is a specific expression of your wounds, your passions, your talents and your loving heart. And the world is hungry for your personal magic.
I hope that my stories of celebration shine a light of inspiration to live your sacred life joyfully, with courage and daring.
I’m so glad you are here! Together, let’s celebrate the magnificent gift of life…
P.S. I’ve got so much to say about celebration. Check out this post to learn more about The Mystery and Magic of Celebration.
If you want to know more about my career path and work experience, read my Professional Journey.