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Women’s History Month: Are You Strong Enough to Lead? Yes

Chicago Realtors kicked off the month with a five-part series. “You’re not a leader if you’re not paving a path,” Rev. Courtney Clayton Jenkins told the virtual crowd.

CHICAGO – “You’re not a leader if you’re not paving a path. You’re not a leader if you are dependent on other people to tell you what to do. As a leader, you are leading through change. It’s the number one thing you do,” said the Rev. Courtney Clayton Jenkins, a pastor and teacher from South Euclid, Ohio.

Jenkins kicked off The Chicago Association of Realtors®’ five-part Women’s History Month series with a webinar entitled, “Leading Through Pain.”

“But here’s the deal,” Jenkins said. “Change equals loss. It is something that, even if you feel like this is what you’re supposed to do, it’s a loss. And the loss brings forth a grief and pain. Period.”

Jenkins cut through the obstacles that people put in the way of change, both in their personal and professional life, and she had attendees filling the webinar chat with “amen” and “you said it,” just as if she was speaking before congregants at her church, the South Euclid United Church of Christ.

One of the biggest barriers, not wanting to rock other people’s boats, is something true leaders come to terms with. “You are a leader because your job is to embrace change, to lead forward,” Jenkins said. “I guarantee that someone on your team will say, ‘I liked it the way it was.’ You are changing people’s lives and your own life. There’s loss. There’s grief. But you wouldn’t be where you are if you always maintained everything just as it is.”

Effective leaders learn how to process, navigate, and overcome pain. Otherwise, Jenkins said, “We fall to numbing. Who doesn’t want to numb pain? But I guarantee you, pain will birth something out of the crucible of creativity that happiness will not.”

For those experiencing pain, she offered three techniques:

  1. Identify a pain partner or partners – a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor – “someone who listens and does not judge you when you are overwhelmed with pain and who does not try to fix [the problem] for you,” Jenkins said.
  2. Reflect on history, reminding yourself of all you’ve overcome to get to where you are now. “You have survived it. You are here. You are still standing. Don’t take anything for granted. You ought to be thankful for every trial you’ve overcome,” she said.
  3. Look to the horizon. Whatever is causing your pain, you’ll get through it if you embrace and deal with it rather than hope it will go away.

Going through pain keeps you human and humble, Jenkins said. “If I’m a successful real estate agent, I could look at my real estate numbers and say, ‘I’m good.’ You can get a really big head if you have no problems! But you’re a better leader when you’ve been touched by pain.”

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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