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