WDYDWYD?Why do you do what you do?
Since I turned 50, I've been on a journey of discovery.
It turned into Centered Leadership and my first book, How Remarkable Women Lead. Now I dream of helping women step up to lead.
But I took my own biggest step forward in my 58th year. Participating in a Centered Leadership program, I could not see past my mother's recent death and into my future. We began a creative expression exercise; in a fit of emotion, I ripped up a sheath of colored papers and pasted the torn pieces on black background to create an explosion of power. That's right. I stepped into my power, putting myself in harm's way to create a spark in every woman with the desire to lead.
What did that mean?
I chose the 'road not taken.' Leaving behind regular client work, I dove into Centered Leadership – shaping, teaching, and scaling the program. That meant giving up status, surviving tough performance reviews, letting go of feeling safe. Five years later, my dream feels real. Yes, I was scared at the time, but now I see that road as the very one I should have taken.
In each of us, there is both hope and fear, light and dark. When we accept – and appreciate – who we are, we can see it all. And when we gain self-awareness, we have the choice to lead from the heart and the brain. That's when we do remarkable things.
— Joanna Barsh
Photography by Steve Lackey
New York, NY
University of Pennsylvania
McKinsey & Co., Inc.
Tony Deifell (MBA 2002) created WDYDWYD?, a social media meme of people answering the simple question, “why do you do what you do?” by combining an image and text. To honor the 50th anniversary of women students at HBS, the Women’s Student Association Alumni Team (Annie Wheeler, MBA 2013; Danielle Slutzky, MBA 2013; and Tara Hagan, MBA 2014) partnered with Tony and asked alumnae to answer the question, “why do you do what you do?”
Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163