Mel Templeton is New Zealand general manager at Rabodirect and is part of this year’s Breakthrough Leaders (BTL) programme cohort. She recited “Paddle Softly in Our Sunshine” to fellow participants at last month’s BTL sessions, a poem inspired by her journey on the programme this year. We ask her for her thoughts that led to the poem.
The BTL programme consists of 12 months of intensive workshops and one-to-one executive coaching and for Templeton, it has been a rollercoaster of personal learning, development and growth.
“The insights and accomplished people that we are being exposed to, along with the opportunity to develop ourselves, our leadership, and our understanding of the key discussions going on in New Zealand today, are fully integrated into the programme. Also the unique Kiwi way in which it is being delivered gives it an edge over many of the institutionally delivered leadership programmes,” says Templeton.
“One session in particular that provoked the biggest shift in my thinking was focused on conscious leadership. In beginning to understand the role of self, ego, masks and shadows and learning the true meaning of authenticity, I began to see things in a very different and more balanced light. Its been quite a life-changing experience for me both personally and at work.
“The powerful nature of the growth and development many of us are experiencing – individually and together – was my inspiration for the poem. It aims to touch on many of our revelations as we learn and grow together, gaining confidence in ourselves as we go, and it was my many conversations with cohort members on these very topics that led me to write about this poem on behalf of all of us.”
Paddle softly in our sunshine
Here we are, these women
Worthy and Strong
Not afraid to wade too deep
We take a breath
And share our wisdom for each to keep,
Each lesson learned, a gift
A piece of our history that will lift us,
As we look inside ourselves we see
Our greatness, our weakness our needs
Leading us towards
A more peaceful place.
Each in ourselves as other see
Our bravery, our kindness,
Our confidence together
Our wonder, our torment,
Before too long
Unafraid to be gracious, yet strong
And in our hearts
We look outside ourselves and see
Our sun soaked world calling free
To bathe more often in its light,
To feel its warmth and energy
A privileged path we follow
Guiding lights glow all around
No fright or flight will fill our minds
As we paddle softly in our sunshine
So love your sunshine my beautiful friends
And think of this time, with fond heart
To friendships, to strength, and indeed to treasure
This precious time we have together.
– Mel Templeton